Posted on 28 September 2016
Corruption on the official agenda of a CITES CoP for the first time
For the first time, the complex issue of corruption was on the official agenda of the CITES Conference of the Parties (CoP) after the EU and Senegal proposed a draft resolution to address the scourge.
Corruption has always played a role in the illegal wildlife trade and was recently described by the UN Office of Drugs and Crime as the ‘main enabler of wildlife crime’, but there had never been a formal proposal at a CoP before.
The EU and Senegal proposal called on governments to incorporate corruption explicitly into their anti-wildlife trafficking work and the resolution was adopted by the CITES committee with only minor changes.
“This is a welcome and hugely progressive move towards tackling a deeply tangled web,” said Dr Colman O Criodain, WWF Global Wildlife Trade Manager. “We’re in the midst of a poaching crisis that is increasingly driven by highly organised international criminal networks, which exploit and foster corruption.”
The resolution also addresses the need for CITES to investigate allegations of corruption, treating the issue with the level of severity it so greatly needs.
“The acceptance of this proposal at CITES will send a bold message: corruption is no longer the elephant in the room, it won’t go unnoticed and together we will beat it,” added O Criodain.