Vienna, 5 June 2016 - Many of our planet's finest animal and plant species are being pushed to the edge of extinction due to the barbarous acts of organized crime.
These criminals have scant regard for biodiversity, or the terrible impact their actions have on our fragile environment and vulnerable communities. Every country suffers either as a source, transit or destination for these products. UNODC's World Wildlife Report shows that 7,000 species were found in more than 164,000 seizures affecting 120 countries.
The global nature of this crime compels us to stand united and to promote global solutions to halt the catastrophic poaching and trafficking of wildlife. Our Wildlife Report is helping by providing a global assessment that will allow the international community to design effective and efficient solutions.
But wildlife crime is not simply about the disappearance forever of iconic species. This crime hinders economic and social development and negatively impacts security. Wildlife crime deprives people of a sustainable livelihood. These crimes are also closely connected to fraud, money laundering, human trafficking, corruption and brutal violence, among other crimes.
The 2030 development agenda expressly recognizes these toxic links and includes specific targets designed to combat poaching and trafficking of protected species. UNODC is working with its partners in the UN family and through the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime to strengthen criminal justice and other responses to end this crime.
But, the time for action is now. On World Environment Day, I encourage governments, civil society, academia and the public to forge unbreakable bonds of commitment and allegiance to end this disastrous crime. If not, we risk losing our heritage and this cannot be allowed to happen.
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