UK announces global conference to crack down on wildlife crime
Cambridge, UK, 30th October 2017—the UK Government today officially launched London 2018 Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference, which will take place on 10–11th October next year.
The meeting will aim to build a strong global consensus on tackling illegal wildlife trade, which is destroying populations of threatened species and causing misery for local communities.
Wildlife crime is considered the fourth most lucrative transnational crime in the world after drugs, weapons and human trafficking.
Addressing wildlife crime is a key priority for the UK. In 2014 the government hosted a conference where Heads of State, Ministers and high-level representatives from 46 countries, including those most heavily impacted by poaching and illegal trade of wildlife, committed through the London Declaration to taking “decisive and urgent action” to tackle the global illegal wildlife trade.
Follow-up meetings to assess the impacts and progress with implementing those commitments took place in Kasane, Botswana, in 2015and Hanoi, Viet Nam in 2016.
London 2018 will build on the momentum generated since 2014 and provide the opportunity to focus on a range of key issues including corruption, financial crime related to wildlife crime and sustainable livelihoods and development.
The UK government has already shown leadership on anti-corruption measures by hosting an international anti-corruption summit in May 2016, which included a discussion of corruption and money laundering associated with wildlife trafficking.
The UK’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said: “The illegal trade in wildlife is a serious organised crime and an utter abomination which has no place in the twenty-first century.
“The criminals who run this trade do more than damage wildlife—they use the same networks of corrupt officials and agencies to commit further crimes, such as drug smuggling and people trafficking, along with financial crimes by laundering their illicit money.
“Only by building global consensus and working together will we be able to stop wildlife crime in its tracks, and I am determined that the UK will continue to drive forward this agenda. I am proud to say that London will once again host the next global illegal wildlife trade conference next year.”
Between 2012 and 2020 the UK government has committed GBP26 million to fund practical action around the world to help fight the illegal wildlife trade. This includes, to date, 47 projects funded through the Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund.