General Assembly adopts resolution on wildlife trafficking

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African elephants are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), as the animals are poached for their ivory tusks. Photo: UNEP GRID Arendal/Peter Prokosch

The United Nations General Assembly has unanimously adopted a resolution to combat wildlife trafficking.

It calls for effective measures to prevent and counter the problem of crimes that have an impact on the environment, particularly illicit trafficking in wildlife and wildlife products.

According to the UN, wildlife crime has transformed into one of the largest transnational organized criminal activities alongside trafficking in drugs, arms and human beings.

Siobhán Garside reports.

The resolution on wildlife trafficking adopted by the UN General Assembly on Thursday was sponsored by Gabon and Germany, and co-sponsored by over 70 countries.

It was described by Sam Kutesa, the President of the 193-member body, as an "important initiative and step forward" to combat illicit trafficking in wildlife worldwide.

The Permanent Representative of Germany to the UN, Harald Braun, said each day in Africa, around 100 elephants die at the hands of poachers.

"Tanzania recently announced a drastic 60 per cent drop in its elephant populations in the past five years due to poaching for ivory. And another fact, 1,200 rhinos were killed for their horns in 2014, and 700 already have been slaughter this year. Clearly, wildlife is in more danger than ever, and this despite all the efforts undertaken at national, regional and international levels."

Mr Braun added that it is the global community's task to protect wild fauna and flora in their many beautiful and varied forms, for this generation and the generations to come.

Siobhán Garside, United Nations.



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