Vienna, 3 March 2014 - In a statement issued on World Wildlife Day, the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Yury Fedotov, said our "stewardship of this planet's biodiversity" is threatened if there are no attempts made to reduce the demand for animal parts, while disrupting supply by seizing the assets of the criminal networks who commit this crime.
On the issue of curbing demand, Mr. Fedotov emphasized the importance of breaking with the past traditions that help drive these crimes. "Young people are the next generation of potential purchasers of illegal wildlife commodities. Working globally, we can deliver science-based information to young people and help dispel the misinformation," he said.
Mr. Fedotov identified sustainable development in countries supplying wildlife commodities as another vital issue that calls for additional action. "Wildlife crime also has a powerful development dimension. Sustainable livelihoods is an area where local communities building local enterprises can be empowered to live in harmony with their surroundings."
Globally wildlife crime is conservatively estimated to be worth around $8 to $10 billion annually. UNODC's addresses this transnational threat by helping states align their national laws to the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and providing assistance in the areas of anti-money laundering, strengthening law enforcement, and anti-corruption activities under the UN Convention against Corruption, among others.
World Wildlife Day was adopted on 20 December 2013, at the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York. The day was chosen because the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora was adopted on 3 March 1973.
To read the Executive Director's statement in full, please go to: http://wildlifeday.org/content/united-nations-office-drugs-and-crime-unodc. To read Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's statement, please visit http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2014/sgsm15670.doc.htm.
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