First World Wildlife Crime Report Launched, UN Campaign Targets Illegal Wildlife Trade
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Launched by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the first World Wildlife Crime Report highlights how the poaching and illegal trade of wildlife not only present real environmental dangers, but ultimately undermine the rule of law.

An unprecedented campaign against illegal wildlife trade was launched during the second session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-2), backed by several celebrities in their role as UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Goodwill Ambassadors.

Wildlife Campaign25 May 2016: Launched by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the first World Wildlife Crime Report highlights how the poaching and illegal trade of wildlife not only present real environmental dangers, but ultimately undermine the rule of law. An unprecedented campaign against illegal wildlife trade was launched during the second session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-2), backed by several celebrities in their role as UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Goodwill Ambassadors.

Launched during the 25th session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, held from 23-27 May 2016, in Vienna, Austria, the World Wildlife Crime Report is the first global assessment of wildlife crime. The report takes stock of the present wildlife crime situation with a focus on illicit trafficking of specific protected species of wild fauna and flora, and provides a broad assessment of the nature and extent of the problem at the global level. It includes a quantitative market assessment and a series of in-depth illicit trade case studies, sorted by seven industrial sectors that make use of wild-sourced materials across the world. One of the main messages is that wildlife and forest crime is not limited to certain countries or regions, but is a truly global phenomenon.

The report was developed by UNODC with data provided by partner organizations under the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC), including the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the World Customs Organization. It specifically builds on information taken from World WISE: a recently unveiled data platform that contains over 164,000 seizures related to wildlife crime from 120 countries, illustrating the extreme diversity of this illegal activity. Its chapters focus on: defining transnational organized wildlife crime; the World Wildlife Seizures (World WISE) database; furniture; art, decor, and jewelry; fashion; cosmetics and perfume; food, tonics and medicines; pets, zoos and breeding; seafood; and implications for policy.

“The desperate plight of iconic species at the hands of poachers has deservedly captured the world’s attention, and none too soon,” UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov highlighted, adding that wildlife and forest crime is not limited to certain countries or regions. CITES Secretary-General John Scanlon underscored the extensive involvement of transnational organized criminal groups and the pervasive impact of corruption.

An unprecedented campaign against illegal wildlife trade was launched at UNEA-2, run by UNEP, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), UNODC and CITES, and further supported by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the World Bank. The ‘Wild for Life’ campaign asks participants to find their kindred species and use their own spheres of influence to end illegal trade however it touches or impacts them. Several UNEP Goodwill Ambassadors along with celebrities from China, India, Indonesia, Lebanon and Viet Nam are promoting the conservation of species such as pangolins, sea turtles, orangutans, tigers, rhinos and helmeted hornbills, and calling for citizen support to end the demand that is driving illegal wildlife trade.

UNEA-2 is currently debating a draft resolution on illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products, which supports achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDG Target 15.7, in particular, calls for “urgent action to end poaching and trafficking of protected species of flora and fauna and address both demand and supply of illegal wildlife products.”

In other wildlife-related news, the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) co-organized two side-events during UNEA-2, to highlight the importance of vulture conservation to the delivery of the three pillars of sustainable development, and to raise awareness of CMS-endorsed guidelines on the appropriate deployment of renewable energy technologies and migratory species. [Publication: World Wildlife Crime Report] [UNODC Press Release] [UN Press Release] [CITES Press Release] [Wild for Life Campaign] [UNEP Press Release on the Campaign] [IISD RS Coverage of UNEA-2] [CMS Press Release on Vultures Event] [CMS Press Release on Renewables and Migratory Species]


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