Participants of an international conference in London have agreed on joint measures to combat illegal wildlife trade. The conference was the fourth of its kind and took place on 11 and 12 October at the invitation of the UK government with the support of the Royal House.
Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze commented: "I am very pleased that in London new specific agreements were reached to tackle illegal wildlife trade. The fact that financial institutions, banks, tour and transport companies are now joining our commitment shows clearly that illegal wildlife trade is not a small problem, but that we are dealing with organised criminal activities destabilising whole countries. The German government will maintain its high level of commitment. Internationally speaking, we are among the largest donors supporting projects in this field with around 200 million euros."
The projects receiving funding from the German government include a long-term interministerial project to combat the illegal trade in ivory and rhino horn in Africa and Asia. Furthermore, the German government supports around 50 bilateral projects to improve the management of protected areas, prevent poaching, reduce the demand and promote alternative sources of income.
In addition to government representatives from 80 countries, participants in the London conference included representatives of private businesses, civil society and science. The conference agreed on a joint declaration and several announcements. For example, around 30 institutions of the financial sector have joined forces to create a "financial task force" with the intention of handling revenues from illegal wildlife trade as an economic crime in future. The London conference also built on the "High Level Principles on Combatting Corruption Related to Illegal Trade in Wildlife and Wildlife Products" initiated by Germany and agreed on at the G20 summit in Hamburg in June 2017.
The illegal trade in protected wildlife products such as ivory, rhino horn, scales of pangolins, living parrots or rosewoods has increased considerably in recent years and remains at a very high level. This is contributing to the dramatic decline in the populations of many animal and plant species worldwide. In addition, it has considerable negative impacts on the stability of society, the economy and security, as in many cases it is a highly organised criminal activity that is taking place on an industrial scale.