Friday, February 07, 2014

Togolese Efforts to Combat Wildlife Trafficking. -Press Statement Jen Psaki (Department Spokesperson).

Secretary Kerry called Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe today to commend his government on the major strides being made to combat international wildlife trafficking, including the recent arrest of three major illegal wildlife traffickers in Togo.

Togo has sent a strong message to the world about its commitment to protecting Africa’s elephant populations. In the last month, Togolese authorities have made multiple seizures of illegal ivory, totaling more than four tons. Individually and collectively, these are the largest seizures of illegal ivory in West Africa’s history.
In a separate incident in August 2013, the Government of Togo arrested notorious wildlife trafficker Emile N’Bouke. Togo’s efforts contribute to the worldwide struggle against illegal wildlife trafficking and the U.S. continues to partner with Togo in combating this transnational threat.

Wildlife trafficking is a multi-billion dollar criminal enterprise that has expanded from a conservation concern to a security threat. The increasing involvement of organized crime in poaching and wildlife trafficking promotes corruption, strengthens illicit trade routes, destabilizes economies and communities that depend on wildlife for their livelihoods, and contributes to the spread of disease.

In July 2013, President Obama signed Executive Order 13648 to marshal the efforts of the U.S. Government to meet this challenge at home and to assist foreign governments combating wildlife trafficking and related transnational organized crime.

In November 2013, the State Department also announced its first reward offer of up to $1 million under the President’s Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime for information on a prominent wildlife trafficking network in Southeast Asia.
 http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2014/02/221426.htm
6/2/14
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6 comments:

  1. Environment: Commission consults on how EU can fight against dramatic increase in wildlife trafficking ....

    The Commission has launched a public consultation on how the EU can be more effective in combating wildlife trafficking. This comes in response to a recent global surge in poaching and illegal wildlife trade, which is now at unprecedented levels for some species. More than 1000 rhinoceroses were poached in South Africa in 2013, compared to 13 in 2007, for example, and rhino horn is now more valuable than gold. The EU is a major destination market and an important transit point for illegal wildlife products, with organized crime playing an increasing role.

    Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "Wildlife trafficking takes a terrible toll on biodiversity and we need to find ways of taking more decisive action. This consultation is a first step towards what I hope will be a major change in our approach."

    EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström said. "Wildlife trafficking creates large profits for international organised crime groups. The Communication we adopt today sets out how all actors can work together to fight this crime more effectively."

    The EU has been active in the fight against illegal wildlife trade over the past decade, adopting strict trade rules for endangered species and providing large-scale support to anti-wildlife-trafficking efforts in developing countries. In Africa, the EU has committed more than EUR 500 million for biodiversity conservation over the past 30 years, with a portfolio of on-going projects worth approximately EUR 160 million.

    Wildlife crime is highly lucrative, and prosecutions are rare. The growing demand for illegal products has devastating consequences for a number of species already under threat. The changing scale of the problem has raised questions about how the EU can be more effective in fighting against wildlife trafficking. The Commission is therefore seeking views on ten questions related to wildlife trafficking, including the adequacy of the current framework, tools that might strengthen existing efforts to fight the problem, how the EU in particular can help, improving our knowledge and data, and the possibility of stronger sanctions.

    Comments can be submitted at http://ec.europa.eu/yourvoice/ until 10 April 2014.......................http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-14-123_en.htm
    7/2/14

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  2. Questions and answers on wildlife trafficking ....

    How big is the wildlife trafficking problem?

    As with any other illegal activity, it is impossible to provide a precise figure as to the scale and value of wildlife trafficking. But there is no doubt that it has grown considerably in recent years. It is now a multi-million euro criminal business affecting numerous species all over the world. Ivory, rhino horn, tiger products, tropical timber and shark fins are among the most valuable wildlife products found on the black market, but many other species are also concerned, including reptiles, birds, and pangolins. Criminal groups are increasingly involved in wildlife trafficking, which has become a form of transnational organised crime that increasingly resembles trafficking in human beings, drugs and firearms.

    What is behind the recent surge in wildlife trafficking?

    The key factor is increasing demand for wildlife products, notably in Asia, which has driven up prices steeply. China is the major destination for ivory, and Vietnam for rhino horn. The international community has recognised the urgent need to address the demand side of the problem, but few concrete actions have been taken so far. Other factors include poverty, corruption, a lack of resources for enforcement, low sanction levels and instability in certain regions of the world affected by wildlife trafficking, notably Central Africa.

    Why is wildlife trafficking a concern for the EU?

    Wildlife trafficking is one of the most serious threats to biodiversity. The survival of a number of species in the wild is directly jeopardised by poaching and the associated illegal trade. Trafficking also undermines many key goals in EU foreign policy and development support, including sustainable development, the rule of law, good governance and peace and stability......................http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-14-91_en.htm
    7/2/14

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  3. London Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade. -Office of the Spokesperson (State Department)...

    On February 13, the Government of the United Kingdom hosted a high-level conference on the illegal trade in wildlife. The U.S. delegation to the conference included senior representatives from the Departments of State, Justice, and Interior – the three co-chairing agencies of the President’s Task Force on Combating Wildlife Trafficking – and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), emphasizing the whole-of-government approach to tackling the illegal trade. Associate Attorney General Tony West served as the head of the U.S. delegation, which included the Department of State’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Judith Garber, USAID's Assistant Administrator for Economic Growth, Education, and Environment Eric Postel, and Department of Interior’s Counselor to the Secretary Letty Belin.

    Attendees of the conference, which was hosted by U.K.’s Prime Minister David Cameron, included high level representatives from more than 40 countries. The assembled governments issued a declaration, emphasizing urgent action as necessary to end wildlife trafficking and eliminate demand through high-level political commitment and international cooperation.

    For further information, please contact the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Public Affairs Officer Christopher Rich at richce@state.gov.
    http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2014/02/221638.htm
    13/2/14

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  4. UK’s Hague, Prince Charles warn of wildlife crisis...

    LONDON — British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the illegal wildlife trade has become a global criminal industry that ranks with drugs and arms and people trafficking.

    Hague, speaking today (Feb 13) at the Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference, said tens of thousands of elephants were killed last year along with more than 1,000 rhinos taken by an illegal trade that also threatens tigers and many other species.

    Prince Charles, joined by his sons Prince William and Prince Harry, made similar warnings at the opening of the one-day conference, hosted by the British government.

    Prince William, soccer star David Beckham and basketball stalwart Yao Ming also released a video message supporting anti-poaching efforts. AP
    http://www.todayonline.com/world/europe/uks-hague-prince-charles-warn-wildlife-crisis
    13/2/14

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  5. Prinz Charles eröffnet Artenschutzkonferenz....Mit royalem Druck gegen die Wilderei...

    Sie werden gejagt wegen ihres Fells oder ihrer Hörner - vor allem Tiger, Nashörner und Elefanten sind der Wilderei ausgeliefert. Umso dringlicher fiel der Appell an die Weltgemeinschaft aus, mit dem der britische Prinz Charles in London eine hochrangige Artenschutzkonferenz eröffnet............http://www.tagesschau.de/ausland/artenschutzkonferenz118.html
    13/2/14

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  6. London wildlife summit moves to choke off illegal markets...

    LONDON: More than 40 countries including China and African states signed a declaration on Thursday aimed at stamping out the illegal trade in wildlife, in a move broadly welcomed by conservation groups.

    The London Declaration urges practical steps to end the illegal trade in rhino horn, tiger parts and elephant tusks that contributes to criminal activity worth more than US$19 billion (14 billion euros) each year.

    British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who hosted the meeting, said: "I believe the measures we have agreed can mark a crucial turning point."

    Hague highlighted the attendance of China and Vietnam, two major consumers of the banned products. Beijing sent Forestry Vice Minister Zhang Jianlong.

    "I do welcome the involvement of China (and) the constructive approach from their minister and from other Asian countries, but there will be more work to do," Hague said.

    He highlighted the progress that China had made in reducing the number of sharks killed to make shark fin soup, a traditional Chinese delicacy.

    "The conference wants to follow this example in other areas," he said.

    Conservation groups gave the declaration a largely positive reception, but said it did not go far enough.

    Mary Rice of the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency said: "This has been an unprecedented gathering, the first indication that many of the world's governments are really serious about combating organised wildlife crime.

    "We would have liked them to go further and, specifically with regard to ivory and tigers, close down legal domestic markets."

    Chad, Gabon, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Botswana announced a separate action plan to protect elephants of which 25,000 are killed each year by poachers, according to official estimates.

    Botswana will organise a conference in 2015 to evaluate progress on the initiative.............http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/london-wildlife-summit/997202.html
    13/2/14

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