New York, 26 September 2013
UN General Assembly side event hosted by Germany and Gabon
We have had a wonderful discussion today.
What is abundantly clear Mr. President, Hon. Minister, is that there is overwhelming support for the leadership shown by Germany and Gabon in bringing this critical issue to the margins of the UN General Assembly.
All of the interventions we have heard this afternoon supported the Panel members characterisation of the serious poaching and illicit wildlife trafficking we are experiencing today as presenting a real and immediate threat to local people, national economies, and national and regional security - especially as it affects elephant and rhino.
Further, these are crimes that are being driven by organised criminal gangs and rebel militia and a response that is commensurate with the scale and nature of the risk is required. It has gone beyond being an environmental issue and requires the leadership and support of customs, police, the judiciary and on some occasions the military.
There was a clear recognition from everyone that no one agency, country or region acting alone can combat these serious crimes. A collective effort is required, one that includes source, transit and destination states and addresses both demand and supply, as was recognised in the outcomes of Rio+20.
There was wide support for making best use of exiting instruments and initiatives in combatting wildlife crime, with many placing strong emphasis on CITES and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime conventions against organised transnational crime and corruption, as well as the International Consortium on Combatting Wildlife Crime (ICCWC).
There was also support for the UN system playing a critical role and and many expressed support for several options that had been identified by the Panel - an UNGA Resolution, a UN Special Envoy on Wildlife Crime, and a NY Friends Group - as well as for an UNGA Resolution declaring 3 March as World Wildlife Day, which Thailand advised it will put forward this year.
We have indeed been fortunate for the leadership shown by the co-chairs, Germany and Gabon, in bringing this critical issue to the margins of the UNGA. The level of interest in the issue is evident from the large number of people here today - and we express our deep gratitude to everyone who has attended for your support in fighting against wildlife crime and for finding ways to carry it forward in the UN.