It has long been known that wildlife crime, be it trafficking or poaching, is committed by organised, transnational criminal gangs. The global illegal wildlife market is estimated at $10 to $20 billion dollars by Interpol, with links and trade routes that snake across the global – the majority of which lead to and from Southeast Asia, the main hub for trafficking into China, the United States, and the European Union. The resolution adopted by the UN on July 30th 2015 is a move that strikes back at those active along the entire trade route, as it not only encourages nations to view wildlife crime as a “serious crime”, putting it in the same bracket as those perpetrated by cartels and mafia groups, but also calls for anti-money laundering measures, wildlife crime task forces in participating nations, stronger judicial processes, anti-corruption drives, and work to reduce the demand for wildlife products. The resolution will be reviewed annually.
The resolution, titled Tackling Illicit Trafficking in Wildlife, is co-sponsored by over 80 nations, including Brazil, China, the US, South Africa, and Uganda. It represents the collective efforts of these countries, as well as strong input from the wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic, and recognises the broader impact of wildlife crime, which affects local communities, erodes the rule of law, and undermines good governance.