As an International Champion of the Global Initiative to End Wildlife Crime, the Jane Goodall Institute Global welcomes a historic resolution on illicit trafficking in wildlife.
The resolution, adopted during the 31st Session of the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, invites Member States to “provide the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime with their views on possible responses, including the potential of an additional Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (UNTOC), to address any gaps that may exist in the current international legal framework to prevent and combat illicit trafficking in wildlife.”
The Commission is the primary policymaking body of the United Nations in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice. The Commission also acts as the governing body of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime which has led global research efforts on wildlife crime with its ground-breaking World Wildlife Crime Reports published in 2016 and 2020.
This is the first time that a United Nations resolution has specifically mentioned a potential new global agreement on tackling illicit wildlife trafficking. This is important because there is currently a gap in international criminal law when it comes to wildlife trafficking.
The UNTOC was adopted in 2000 to promote cooperation to prevent and combat transnational organized crime more effectively. It is supplemented by three protocols against Trafficking in Persons, Smuggling of Migrants and Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms respectively.
Since its inception in 2020, the Global Initiative to End Wildlife Crime has sought to garner support for a fourth protocol. This protocol would position wildlife trafficking within the scope of international criminal law and provide a framework for state obligations. This would include adopting legislation criminalizing the intentional illicit trafficking of specimens of wild fauna and flora (in any whole or part, whether living or deceased), increasing coordination and exchanging intelligence regarding known organised groups and techniques of concealment, sharing forensic samples, strengthening border and authenticity controls, as well as implementing demand reduction strategies.
Representative to the Global Initiative to End Wildlife Crime, Zara Bending, welcomed the resolution with the following statement:
“The Jane Goodall Institute Global joined the Global Initiative in 2020 and we remain steadfast in our position that an additional Protocol to UNTOC is the most appropriate and high-impact means to disrupt this multi-billion dollar criminal enterprise. This is an historic moment in the fight to end wildlife trafficking and we extend congratulations and thanks to our colleagues at EWC and everyone within our Jane Goodall Institute and Roots & Shoots networks who engaged Member States from around the world in the lead up to the 31st Session.”
The resolution was submitted by Angola, Kenya, and Peru; and was co-sponsored by Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, Honduras, Malawi, Morocco, Mozambique, Paraguay, the Philippines, and the United States of America.
Read more about the resolution in this press release from EWC.