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The 2014 London Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade Declaration
Date Published: 14 Feb, 2014
- We, the representatives of Governments and Regional Economic Integration Organisations, gathered in London on 13th February 2014, recognise the significant scale and detrimental economic, social and environmental consequences of the illegal trade in wildlife, make the following political commitment and call upon the international community to act together to bring this to an end. The scale and consequences of the illegal trade in wildlife
- There is a serious threat to the survival of many species if action is not taken to tackle the illegal wildlife trade. Poaching and trafficking undermines the rule of law and good governance, and encourages corruption. It is an organised and widespread criminal activity, involving transnational networks. The proceeds are in some cases used to support other criminal activities, and have been linked to armed groups engaged in internal and cross border conflicts. Rangers and others dedicated to protecting wildlife are being killed or injured in significant numbers.
- The illegal wildlife trade, and the poaching which feeds it, has in some places reached unprecedented levels. Serious poaching incidents are more frequent, are occurring in areas previously safe from such activity, and are more devastating in scale. Individual poachers or ad hoc gangs are being increasingly replaced by well-resourced and organised groups including transnational criminal networks.
- The illegal wildlife trade robs States and communities of their natural capital and cultural heritage, with serious economic and social consequences. It undermines the livelihoods of natural resource dependent communities. It damages the health of the ecosystems they depend on, undermining sustainable economic development. The criminal activity and corruption associated with trafficking restricts the potential for sustainable investment and development which is needed in new economic activities and enterprises.
- Decisive and urgent action is now needed to tackle the illegal wildlife trade in endangered fauna and flora. For many species, the illegal trade, and the poaching which fuels it, is an ongoing and growing problem. There has been a particularly dramatic escalation in the rate of poaching of elephants and rhinoceroses in some places in recent years. The severe threat posed to these iconic species is increasingly also a threat to regional security and sustainable development. Action to tackle the illegal trade in elephants and rhinoceroses will strengthen our effectiveness in tackling the illegal trade in other endangered species. Such action will also support the sustainable utilisation of resources.
- Building on the existing international framework for action
- “The Future We Want”, adopted at Rio+20 and endorsed by consensus of the UN General Assembly, “recognised the economic, social and environmental impacts of illicit trafficking in wildlife, where firm and strengthened action needs to be taken on both the supply and demand sides” and also recognised the “important role of CITES, an intergovernmental agreement that stand at the intersection between trade, the environment and development”.
- We welcome the attention being given to this issue through the United Nations system, including in the Security Council and the General Assembly, which demonstrates the wider security, economic, social and development implications of the illegal wildlife trade; and further welcome the UN General Assembly decision to proclaim 3 March as World Wildlife Day reaffirming the intrinsic value of wildlife and its various contributions - including ecological, genetic, social, economic, scientific, educational, cultural, recreational and aesthetic - to sustainable development and human well-being.
- We welcome the actions taken under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and in particular the Decisions relating to elephants, rhinoceroses and big cats adopted at previous meetings of the Conferences of the Parties. We recommit ourselves to the full and effective implementation of relevant CITES Resolutions and Decisions and to making further efforts to eradicate the illegal wildlife trade within the CITES framework.
- We welcome the important action already being taken by Governments and others at local, national, regional and global level. Commitments to combat the illegal wildlife trade in particular species have been made in a number of other meetings, and we stress the urgent need for their full implementation. We note the particular importance of: The African Elephant Action Plan and the urgent measures endorsed at the African Elephant Summit in Gaborone; The St Petersburg Tiger Declaration on Tiger Conservation, the Global Tiger Recovery Programme and the Thimpu Nine Point Action Agenda; The Bishkek Declaration on the Conservation of the Snow Leopard; and, those listed in Annex A.
- The illegal wildlife trade has many inter-related dimensions, and can only be effectively tackled with the involvement of ministries and agencies beyond the wildlife conservation sector. Action needs to be taken at all points in the illegal supply chain in source, transit and destination countries. International co-operation is essential, with full engagement by Governments in relevant bilateral, regional and international mechanisms.
- Effective international co-operation demands the active participation of partners that support Governments in different sectors, in particular: the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime; INTERPOL; the World Customs Organization; the World Bank; and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (which together comprise the International Consortium on Combatting Wildlife Crime); the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice; the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the UN Convention against Corruption; the United Nations Environment Programme; the United Nations Development Programme; the African Development Bank; the Asian Development Bank; the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and regional Wildlife Enforcement Networks. We recognise the efforts made and urge all these entities, and all States who participate in them, to make the eradication of the illegal wildlife trade a priority.
- We recognise the importance of engaging communities living with wildlife as active partners in conservation, by reducing human-wildlife conflict and supporting community efforts to advance their rights and capacity to manage and benefit
s from wildlife and their habitats.
- We recognise the important role that non-governmental organisations, academic institutions and the private sector can play in actions against the illegal wildlife trade.
To this end we, the Governments and Regional Economic Integration Organisations represented in London, commit ourselves and call upon the international community to providing the political leadership and practical support needed to take the following essential actions.