Vienna, 3 March 2017 - More must be done to prevent poaching and illicit trafficking from devastating every region of the world, UNODC Chief Yury Fedotov told an audience today in New York.
While acknowledging that advances against the poachers and traffickers have been made, Mr. Fedotov said: "This progress shows how much the international community can achieve together when there is the commitment and willingness to do it, and should encourage us to do still more." He warned the audience that "we won't get a second chance".
The UNODC Executive Director was speaking during the opening of a thematic discussion at the UN General Assembly on World Wildlife Day 2017. Other speakers included Peter Thomson, President of the UN General Assembly, Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General, Edna Molewa, Minister of Environmental Affairs, South Africa and John E. Scanlon, Secretary General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
Mr. Fedotov called for all criminal justice and preventive responses to be strengthened and for countries to make full use of the UN Conventions against Transnational Organized Crime and Corruption. He also said that gaps in information, the capacities of countries and legislation should be filled.
Countries must reduce global demand for illegal wildlife products, and promote sustainable livelihoods for affected communities, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. "I urge all countries to criminalize the possession of wildlife illegally sourced from anywhere in the world. Penalties should be adequate for a serious crime, and serve as a deterrent," said Mr. Fedotov.
The UN General Assembly declared 3 March World Wildlife Day in 2013. This year's theme is "listen to the young voices" and is designed to build intergenerational responsibility among young people.
In a statement issued to mark World Wildlife Day, Mr. Fedotov said, "World Wildlife Day has chosen as its theme the need to listen. We must show that we have heard by working together for the good of this amazing planet to end wildlife and forest crime."
In September 2016, the UN General Assembly passed a firm resolution on the matter. Resolution 70/301 recognized that "wild fauna and flora in their many beautiful and varied forms are an irreplaceable part of the natural systems of the earth which must be protected for this and the generations to come."
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