KASANE CONFERENCE SHOWS MUCH MORE NEEDS TO BE DONE TO FIGHT ILLEGAL WILDLIFE TRADE
KASANE, BOTSWANA: The Kasane Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade concluded in Botswana today with the adoption of a statement which galvanizes the high-level political commitment to combat the “scourge of illegal wildlife trade”.
Building on the London Declaration on Illegal Wildlife Trade of February 2014, the Kasane Statement recognizes the efforts made to date by participating governments to work towards implementation of the commitments under the London Declaration – but stresses that much more still needs to be done.
Particular gaps highlighted include:
• making greater efforts to reduce demand;
• strengthening legislation in relation to penalties and following the money associated with wildlife crime;
• increasing resources and capacity along the length of the criminal justice chain;
• supporting networks of prosecutors;
• better engaging local communities.
The governments meeting in Kasane have called upon the UN General Assembly to address illegal wildlife trade at its 69th session in September and to support the preparation of an ambitious resolution for that meeting.
They welcomed the offer by Vietnam to host the third high-level conference on illegal wildlife trade in late 2016.
In his intervention, the President of the Republic of Botswana drew attention to how criminal syndicates make use of legitimate trade to launder illegally acquired products, while the President of the Republic of Gabon noted that legal markets for ivory increase poaching pressure across THE forests and savannas where elephants are not the only victims, but also rangers and their families.
Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) Executive Director Mary Rice, who addressed the conference, was encouraged by the growing articulation of concern at how legal markets stimulate demand, which in turn drives poaching.
“We are encouraged by the determination expressed to pursue implementation of historical commitments to combat wildlife crime, including commitments under CITES and the London Declaration,” she said.
“The Kasane Statement illustrates just how far we still have to go and we look forward to seeing tangible evidence of enhanced efforts; in particular, efforts to manage criminal information for the purposes of disrupting wildlife crime networks, increased access to court judgements for the purpose of analyzing reasons for acquittals and rationale for weak sentencing, and an end to domestic markets for ivory and tiger parts.”
* Mary Rice, Executive Director & head of Elephants Campaign – email@example.com or call +267 7482 6895.
* Debbie Banks, head of Tigers Campaign – via debbiebanks@eia-international. org or call +44 7773 428360.
1. The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) is a UK- and Washington DC-based Non-Governmental Organisation that investigates and campaigns against a wide range of environmental crimes, including illegal wildlife trade, illegal logging, hazardous waste, and trade in climate and ozone-altering chemicals.
2. EIA prepared a new briefing, High Profit/Low Risk: Reversing the wildlife crime equation, for the Kasane conference. It can be viewed and downloaded at http://eia-international.org/ reports/high-profitlow-risk- reversing-the-wildlife-crime- equation.
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