BRUSSELS, June 20, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Earlier today, EU Ministers of the Environment unanimously endorsed the EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking published by the European Commission last February. The European Union now has the much-needed frame to coordinate a strategic approach on endangered wildlife trafficking.
"IFAW rejoice on the decision from the council and congratulates the EU on this decisive step for wildlife." Sonja Van Tichelen, EU Regional Director for IFAW explains, "Over the last 4 years, IFAW has been tirelessly advocating for the EU to adopt an action plan against wildlife trafficking, as there was some already in place to fight drugs trafficking or counterfeiting. Wildlife trafficking ranks fourth globally in terms of value, behind the trafficking in drugs, people and counterfeiting and not only harms ecosystems and individual animals: it also threatens our own security as highlighted once again last month by the UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) in its inaugural report on wildlife crime throughout the world."
Several European countries now have adopted stricter legislations against wildlife trafficking. However they can be fully efficient only if actions and legislations in neighbouring countries are coherent. This is a tough challenge the EU action against wildlife trafficking will help meeting.
Notably, the plan defines wildlife trafficking as a serious crime and sets forth the framework for better implementation of laws and greater cooperation between police forces and governmental agencies, within a country as well as with their foreign counterparts.
"We are delighted that the Council also considered further measures to halt trade in ivory and includes special concerns and actions on cybercrime, trophy hunting and import," continues Sonja Van Tichelen. "The EU is definitely in line with a worldwide dynamic to stem an illegal trade that is valued several billions of euros."
Last week, more than 36,700 citizens had asked the EU Environment Ministers to endorse the action Plan on Wildlife Trafficking.
Last month, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released its inaugural report on wildlife crime throughout the world. The report gives an overview of wildlife seizures from 120 countries and sheds light on "the way poaching and illegal trade of thousands of different species throughout the world cause real environmental dangers, as well as threaten in the long run the rule of law by potentially fostering conflict."
The 2013 IFAW report, Criminal Nature: The Global Security Implications of the Illegal Wildlife Trade, documents the threat the illegal wildlife trade poses to elephants, rhinos and people.
About IFAW (The International Fund for Animal Welfare)
Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues and protects animals around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
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SOURCE International Fund for Animal Welfare