The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed3 March – the anniversary of the adoption of theConvention on International Trade in EndangeredSpecies of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) – as WorldWildlife Day. On this second observance of the Day,the UN system, its Member States and a wide rangeof partners from around the world are highlightingthe simple yet firm message that “It’s time to getserious about wildlife crime”.
Illegal trade in wildlife has become a sophisticated transnational form of crime, comparable toother pernicious examples, such as trafficking of drugs, humans, counterfeit items and oil. It is driven by rising demand, and is often facilitated by corruption and weak governance. Thereis strong evidence of the increased involvement of organized crime networks and non-Statearmed groups.
Illegal wildlife trade undermines the rule of law and threatens national security; it degradesecosystems and is a major obstacle to the efforts of rural communities and indigenouspeoples striving to sustainably manage their natural resources. Combatting this crime is notonly essential for conservation efforts and sustainable development, it will contribute toachieving peace and security in troubled regions where conflicts are fuelled by these illegalactivities.