WWF-Pakistan and UNODC signed MoU to Check Illegal Wildlife Trade

Islamabad, 29 March: WWF-Pakistan and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Thursday to work together through innovative means to curb illegal wildlife trade in Pakistan. 

The collaboration will contribute towards enhancing capacities of relevant law enforcement agencies in particular Pakistan Customs, to acquaint them about the key aspects of illegal wildlife trade in order to enhance vigilance against wildlife trafficking. Both organizations will also launch joint awareness campaigns to raise awareness on this issue.

This partnership is also well-aligned with the objectives of the National Plan of Action developed by WWF-Pakistan in collaboration with the Ministry of Climate Change and the involvement of relevant stakeholders. The Action Plan provides a road-map to combat illegal wildlife trade in Pakistan. WWF-Pakistan has a long history of working and addressing the issue of illegal wildlife trade. For the first time Pakistan the organization will initiate the first Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART), a technology based system to protect wildlife from poaching and illegal trade in the country.

Rab Nawaz, Senior Director Programmes, WWF-Pakistan said that illegal wildlife trade is a persistent conservation challenge that could be managed through collaborative efforts. The illegal wildlife trade is recognised as translational organised crime due to its lucrative nature and organised criminal networks involved in operating the supply chain of illegal wildlife trade. According to him, this partnership with UNODC would set a benchmark to address the wildlife trafficking issue in the country and further strengthen the efforts to support capacity building of our trade monitoring and regulating authorities. "Our previous work has helped unravel the scale of illegal wildlife trade across the country and species which are facing extinction as an outcome to it. We rely on the support of partners to highlight and take action against this organized crime," he said.  He further added that WWF-Pakistan has recently initiated a snow leopard conservation initiative focusing on adoption of zero-poaching frame-work to protect the species from poaching and illegal trade. This would include piloting of Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART), a technology based approach to support effective conservation of the species.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Cesar Guedes, Representative UNODC said, "Wildlife crime destabilizes ecosystems and alongside habitat destruction, poses a grave threat to endangered wildlife. It does, however, take a greater stretch of the imagination to see how illegal wildlife trade is not solely an environmental injustice, but also undermines state authority, fuels violent conflict and terrorism, impacts national and global security and socioeconomic development. Estimated to generate US$20 billion annually, illegal wildlife trade is one of the largest global illegal activities.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) recognizes wildlife crime as the  fourth  most  lucrative  transnational crime after drugs , arms and  human trafficking, which undermines state authority and socio-economic development. Illegal wildlife trade has a devastating impact on biodiversity and ecosystems. 

Mr Guedes also said that benefiting with the expertise of WWF in educating frontline law enforcement officers will alert them on new risks and will enable them to identify and intercept wildlife that are being trafficked and we are happy to be able to contribute in stopping this trend through this initiative.  He also highlighted that this partnership especially between WWF-Pakistan and UNODC-WCO's Container Control Programme (CCP) aims to strengthen collaboration for effective management of illegal wildlife trade through effective coordination, knowledge and information sharing, and institutional capacity building, of the relevant law-enforcement agencies in Pakistan.


About WWF-Pakistan: WWF-Pakistan was formed in 1970 to address the growing environmental and conservation issues in Pakistan that not only affected the flora and fauna, but were also affecting the human population. WWF-Pakistan is a non-profit organization, working to preserve, conserve and save our environment and natural resources. Today, WWF -Pakistan works through 26 offices with a team of almost 300 dedicated staff members. With its head office in Lahore, and five regional offices in major cities of Pakistan, it has project offices wherever there is a need and the potential to make a difference.


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