The Star (Nairobi)

4 July 2014

Kenya: Wildlife Security to Join Post MDGs Goals - UNEP

Ending illegal trade in wildlife is expected to join the post-2015 global development agenda.

Environment ministers from at least 160 countries who convened in Nairobi last week said it should be included in the new global commitments that will replace the millennium development goals (MDGs) next year.

In its final resolutions, the United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA) called for enhanced international coordination to counter the illegal trade.

The resolution strongly encourages governments to implement their commitments to fight the illegal trade through, among other things, targeted actions to eradicate supply, transit and demand for illegal wildlife products.

"Many delegations stressed that consumer demand remained the most important driver

of the illegal trade in wildlife, although they also recognized that poverty and corruption were also important drivers," says the report from the ministerial forum last week.

According to a report by UNEP and INTERPOL titled The Environmental Crime Crisis, released during UNEA, global environmental crime is worth up to US$213 billion each year and is helping to finance criminal, militia and terrorist groups and threatening the security and sustainable development of many nations. "The resolutions agreed by member states at UNEA will help shape the global environmental agenda into the future and will determine collaborative action on priority issues from marine plastic debris and micro plastics to the illegal trade in wildlife," said UNEP executive director Achim Steiner. UN is currently drafting a number of sustainably development goals to succeed the MDGs next year.

In last week's meeting, UNEP was also requested to provide an analysis of the environmental impacts of the illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products to the next UNEA session.

The programme will also be expected to work closely with the International Consortium to Combat Wildlife Crime, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, INTERPOL , CITES, UNDP and the Secretary General's Rule of Law Group.

At least 97 elephants and 59 rhinos have been killed by poachers in Kenya this year. President Uhuru, speaking at the meeting, said the country could not effectively stop poaching because of high external demand for illegal ivory.

The resolutions are expected to create a global momentum to stop the poaching and other environmental crimes. Scientists estimate that elephants could go extinct in the next ten years, going by the current level of poaching.

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