London Conference turns a spotlight on the illicit financial flows and corruption enabling illegal wildlife trade
LONDON: The fourth Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) in London this week has seen high-level participation from governments, private sector and NGOs, focusing the attention of the international community on previous commitments to tackle IWT as a serious organised crime.
In the run-up to the Conference, the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) has noted significant new developments such as the creation of a new financial task force and a coalition of technology giants committed to combatting illegal wildlife trade online.
EIA was delighted to be invited by the UK Government to host an exhibit on big cats at the Conference, which was visited by HRH Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge. The exhibit successfully raised the profile of the threat posed by trade to big cats globally – from jaguars in Latin America and lions in Africa to tigers in Asia.
Today, the last day of the Conference, EIA Forests Campaigns Leader Faith Doherty is due to speak at a high-level panel on the synergies in combatting wildlife and forest crime.
The UK Government earlier today published a Declaration of actions and commitments arising from the event. EIA welcomes the Declaration’s affirmation of existing commitments under the previous IWT Declarations and existing international agreements and, in particular, applauds the recognition of convergence of IWT with other serious forms of crime.
We are, however, disappointed in the absence of a stronger call for closure of legal domestic markets for parts and products of elephants, big cats, pangolins and other species threatened by trade. While eradicating the market for illegal wildlife is a major theme for this Conference, the Government of China continues to issue permits for legal trade in leopard bone and pangolin scales.
As the Conference comes to a close, the clear message has been that the ‘time for action is now’. This must be more than just a soundbite.
Debbie Banks, EIA Tiger and Wildlife Crime Campaign Leader, said: “The prominence in this Declaration given to addressing corruption is especially welcome. The conference has heard first-hand accounts of how corruption is impeding the practical implementation of laws, policies and practices to combat wildlife and forest crime.
“The real test now will be how much further forward we are with that in the very near future because the clock is ticking very loudly for many threatened species.
“We look forward to working with the UK Government and other stakeholders to ensure that words are turned into action and existing commitments are implemented.”
- EIA Executive Director Mary Rice via maryrice[at]eia-international.org
- EIA Tiger Campaign Leader Debbie Banks via debbiebanks[at]eia-international.org
- EIA Press & Communications Officer Paul Newman via paulnewman[at]eia-international.org
- The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) investigates and campaigns against environmental crime and abuses. Our undercover investigations expose transnational wildlife crime, with a focus on elephants, pangolins and tigers, and forest crimes such as illegal logging and deforestation for cash crops such as palm oil; we work to safeguard global marine ecosystems by tackling plastic pollution, exposing illegal fishing and seeking an end to all whaling; and we address the threat of global warming by campaigning to curtail powerful refrigerant greenhouse gases and exposing related criminal trade.
- For EIA’s full recommendations to the London Conference, read and download All Eyes on London at https://eia-international.org/report/all-eyes-on-london/
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