Wednesday
Jul092008

G8 leaders commit to “reducing threats from the illicit trade in wildlife”

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Seized bear paws—in an historic statement, G8 leaders have committed to reducing threats from the illicit trade in wildlife Click photo to enlarge ©: TRAFFIC
Cambridge, UK, 9 July 2008—Leaders of the world’s eight richest nations, “the G8”, who are meeting this week in Hokkaido, Japan, have released a statement on climate change and the environment.

In it, the leaders reiterate their commitment to increase efforts to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss significantly, in order to achieve the globally agreed 2010 Biodiversity Target. They acknowledge this can only by achieved “by reducing threats from the illicit trade in wildlife.”

A paragraph on forestry in the statement recognizes the urgent need to curb illegal logging and its associated trade. The leaders’ commitment follows the presentation of the G8 Forest Experts’ Report on Illegal Logging, and the leaders promise to “follow up, as appropriate, its preliminary list of options.”

“This is a significant moment in global efforts to tackle wildlife crime,” said Steven Broad, Executive Director of TRAFFIC.

“The high-level political will is clearly there to tackle illegal wildlife trade, we trust it will backed up with adequate financial and other resources to make this happen—after all, if the G8 can’t afford to back their words up with action, nobody can.”

The G8 statement reflects the growing global awareness of the seriousness of wildlife crime. This is reflected in, for example, the establishment of the Coalition Against Wildlife Trafficking (CAWT), a coalition of governments and non-governmental organizations committed to tackling wildlife crime.

The full text of the G8 statement on climate change and environment.. The relevant paragraphs on illegal wildlife crime are as follows:

Forests
36. We encourage actions for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD) including the development of an international forest monitoring network building on existing initiatives. Recognising the urgent need to curb illegal logging and its associated trade, we welcome the G8 forest experts' report on illegal logging. We will follow up, as appropriate, its preliminary list of options. We will make all possible efforts by ensuring close coordination among various fora and initiatives with a view to promoting effective forest law enforcement and governance and sustainable forest management worldwide. We will also consider ways to enhance our cooperation to combat forest fires.

Biodiversity
37. Recognising the crucial importance of the conservation and the sustainable use of biodiversity as highlighted at the 9th meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity held in Bonn, we share the concerns regarding the vulnerability of biodiversity. We endorse the Kobe Call for Action for Biodiversity and reiterate our commitment to increase our efforts to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss significantly in order to achieve the globally agreed 2010 biodiversity target, including by reducing threats from the illicit trade in wildlife. We will promote a co-benefits approach that will lead to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity as well. We note the importance of improving the interface between research activities and the public and policy makers.

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