Photo: Luiz Rampelotto/EuropaNewswire
United Nations, March 03 2017
Deputy Secretary-General Amira Mohammed today noted that over the past four decades, the planet has lost as much as 50 percent of its wild animals and plants due to climate change, habitat loss, over-exploitation, poaching and illicit trafficking.
At a General Assembly event marking World Wildlife Day, Mohammed said “the illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products, including elephant ivory, high value timber, and marine species, is a threat not only to sustainable development, but to peace and security.”
With the fate of the world’s wildlife soon to be in the hands of the next generation, the United Nations is observing this year’s World Wildlife Day with a call to harness the power of young people’s voices in conservation efforts.
At a later press conference, the Secretary-General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), John E. Scanlon, said “overall we are still in a situation where the African elephant population overall is in decline, albeit the situation across the African continent varies.”
He noted that while in East Africa “we see a continual decline in the level of illegal killing” and in southern Africa “it seems to be rather stable,” the “major problem” continues to be in “Central Africa and West Africa.”
Sheldon Jordan, who is the Chair of the Wildlife Crime Working Group at Interpol, told reporters that “wildlife and forestry crime is the fourth highest value crime area, surpassed only by illegal drugs, by counterfeiting, and by human trafficking.”
Jordan said these criminals “undermine economic development, they hurt food security, they disrupt our ecosystems, and they taint our clean water.”
For his part, the Chief of the Global Programme for Combating Wildlife and Forest Crime at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Jorge Rios, said “a lot of countries are recognizing that they need to do something about legislation, but there’s still a significant amount of countries that depend on conservation, or hunting, or management legislation to address organized crime, and that’s no way really to do this.”
On 20 December 2013, the UN General Assembly decided to proclaim 3 March as World Wildlife Day – the day of the adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973, which plays an important role in ensuring that international trade does not threaten the species’ survival.
Source: UNTV Photo: EuropaNewswire