Nature Conservation: Crime

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 27th March 2014.

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Photo of Stephen Mosley Stephen Mosley Conservative, City of Chester

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the outcomes were of the London Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade 2014.

Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The London Conference successfully focused high-level political attention on the scourge of the illegal wildlife trade. Forty-one countries, the European Union, and 10 international organisations were represented at senior level, including by the Presidents of four African states.

The conference participants agreed on an ambitious political declaration, containing 25 practical commitments to action that will help to eradicate the demand for wildlife products, strengthen law enforcement and support the development of sustainable livelihoods for communities affected by wildlife crime.

These include significant commitments by Government to:

renounce the use of any products from species threatened with extinction; support the CITES commercial prohibition on international trade in elephant ivory until the survival of elephants in the wild is no longer threatened by poaching; treating poaching and trafficking as a serious organised crime in the same category as drugs, arms and people trafficking.

The Presidents of Botswana, Chad, Gabon and Tanzania, and the Foreign Minister of Ethiopia also announced the Elephant Protection Initiative (EPI) during the London Conference. This aims to secure funding from private and public sources for the implementation of the African Elephant Action Plan. The participating Governments will commit to an extended moratorium on the sale of ivory and to put all ivory stocks beyond economic use, showing that it is the elephants that hold value and not their tusks, in return for support from the fund. The UK warmly welcomes the EPI and has committed to match the initial $2 million of private sector funding to help kick start this initiative.

The Government of Botswana, with the support of the UK, also offered to host a follow-up conference to review progress in early 2015.

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