Wildlife & Biodiversity

SDGs: Governments' commitment to battle illegal wildlife trade applauded

The inclusion of targets to protect endangered species and end wildlife trafficking in the global goals is a strategic step, says an expert

 
By Rajeshwari Ganesan
Last Updated: Tuesday 29 September 2015
The SDG document includes targets to end poaching and trafficking of protected species of fauna and flora (Photo: Thinkstock)
The SDG document includes targets to end poaching and trafficking of protected species of fauna and flora (Photo: Thinkstock) The SDG document includes targets to end poaching and trafficking of protected species of fauna and flora (Photo: Thinkstock)

The need for increased political commitment in stopping wildlife trafficking and efforts to increase financial and technical support were discussed at a recent meeting. The meet was held at Central Park Zoo in New York to address the concerns on the implementation of Wildlife and Forest Crime commitments in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The meeting was hosted by the United Nations System, including the CITES Secretariat, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and the World Bank, in collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Member States, and civil society partners. The event coincides with the gathering of world leaders for the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, which runs through October 6. The outcome document, titled “Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, provides the world with a 15-year vision for guiding the protection of natural resources, including goals with targets for the conservation of wildlife and endangered species. The report contains a number of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were formally adopted at the UN Sustainable Development Summit held from September 25 to 27.

The SDG document includes specific targets to end poaching and trafficking of protected species of fauna and flora; to address supply and demand of illegal wildlife products; and enhance global support for efforts to combat poaching and trafficking of protected species by increasing the capacity of local communities to pursue sustainable livelihood opportunities. Other SDGs focus on stemming the effects of climate change, ending poverty, and conserving natural resources, among others.

Speaking at the reception, Helen Clark, administrator, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) discussed the need for increased political commitment in stopping wildlife trafficking and the need to increase financial and technical support. “This illegal trade in wildlife is a development, environmental, and security challenge which is pushing vulnerable and endangered species toward extinction, fuelling corruption and conflict, and putting lives and livelihoods at risk. The world has shown that it is ready to get serious about wildlife and forest crime, and UNDP and its partners are committed to contributing to this work,” said Clark.

Lauding the collective efforts in tackling wildlife crime, John Scanlon, Secretary-General, CITES said, “The adoption of UN Sustainable Development Goals, with specific targets on ending poaching and trafficking in wildlife, is a powerful expression of political determination to end these highly destructive crimes. These crimes are driven by people’s greed, indifference and ignorance, and it is through the actions of people that we will achieve these targets. The collective effort that is on display here today in the Central Park Zoo gives us confidence we will succeed.”

Stressing on the importance to translate the rules to action, Yury Fedotov, Executive Director, UNODC said that the meeting was only the first albeit a significant step in tackling wildlife crime. “We need to do more to translate awareness and commitment into action, to strengthen national responses as well as international cooperation to tackle the transnational dimensions of wildlife and forest crime. This joint event with UN agencies, Member States and civil society is testimony to our resolve to stop the organized criminal syndicates who are plundering our natural resources and heritage,” he said.

“As a global community we must grapple with a critical dilemma that can no longer be pushed off to future generations. If our planet is to sustain us, then we must sustain our planet. The inclusion of targets to protect endangered species and end wildlife trafficking in the global goals is a strategic step in that direction. I am optimistic that these global goals adopted this past week will help us work together and result in a much better world for wildlife and all life,” added Cristián Samper, President and CEO, WCS.

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