The African Development Bank (AfDB) and WWF will launch today a joint global call for action and commitment from governments and other institutions to combat the rampant illicit wildlife trafficking scourge that is robbing Africa of precious natural resources and posing a major threat to stability and economies across the continent.
Speaking alongside President Ali Bongo of Gabon during the Bank's annual meetings at an event to outline the implications of wildlife trafficking to Africa's development, AfDB President Donald Kaberuka and WWF International Director General Jim Leape will call for commitment at the highest level.
During the event the African Development Bank will launch the Marrakech Declaration highlighting the out-of-control nature of illicit wildlife trafficking and urging "countries and their citizens to act urgently to fight illicit wildlife trafficking in Africa and across the globe".
"Wildlife crime is a serious crime, and it is not just the rhinos and elephants that are in danger - there are grave implications also for national security, the rule of law and the wellbeing of communities across Africa. Action is needed now at the highest levels if we are to bring this crisis under control," said Jim Leape.
"Illicit wildlife trafficking is a wrong that we must relentlessly resist - our people, our natural resources and our very economic development are at risk," said Donald Kaberuka, AfDB President. "I call on leaders across Africa and beyond to invest in our region's future by doing all they can to strengthen law enforcement and criminal justice for these crimes."
Wildlife crime also featured in a United Nations Security Council gathering yesterday in New York where UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon released a report on illicit wildlife trafficking being a serious crime needing urgent attention.
The AfDB annual meetings run until Friday 31st May in Marrakech, Morocco, under the theme of "Africa's structural transformation". The AfDB-WWF side event on illicit wildlife trafficking takes place on Thursday 30th May at 19.00-20.30 local time.