Officials and heads of state from 46 countries and 11 UN organisations took part in a historic summit yesterday (13th February 2014) and signed the London Declaration each committing to stop wildlife poaching. All governments agreed the illegal wildlife trade, which is estimated at $US19b per year, must be treated as a serious crime.
The London Declaration also identified investigating links to corruption and organised crime be made a priority and that countries improve cross border cooperation and strengthen laws and policing.
The main focus of the Declaration was on ivory from elephants and rhino but future action will also include the trade in other illegal wildlife animals like snow leopards. Addressing cross border co-operation will have a huge impact on snow leopard trade as identified in the Global Snow Leopard Forum in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan in October 2013.
Some of the actions agreed to by the countries to help save wildlife from illegal trade-
- Treat wildlife trade as a serious crime within the UN convention against transnational organised crime
- Address problems of corruption and money laundering related to wildlife crime with legislation – a zero tolerance policy
- Strengthen legal frameworks and help law enforcement
- Better cross-agency mechanisms to deal with wildlife crime
- Endorsing governments which are destroying wildlife products
- Renounce governments which use products from species threatened with extinction
The London Declaration speech made by the British Foreign Secretary, the Rt Hon William Hague MP outlines the intentions and the plans of the countries involved.