AfDB, World Leaders Commit to Intensify Fight Against Wildlife Trade

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Global leaders and international organizations committed in London, on Thursday, February 13, to put an end to the illegal wildlife trade and increase protection of the world’s most iconic species from the threat of extinction.Gathered for the London Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade, held February 12-13, some 60 countries and international organizations, including the African Development Bank, called upon the international community to provide the political leadership and take key actions to stop the wildlife traffic and trade.

The London Declaration, adopted at the end of the two-day conference, recognizes “the significant scale and detrimental economic, social and environmental consequences of the illegal trade in wildlife”, noting “unprecedented levels in illegal wildlife trade, and the poaching which feeds it”, undermines sustainable economic development. The Declaration further added: “The illegal wildlife trade is a major barrier to sustainable, inclusive and balanced economic development.”

Actions needed to tackle the illegal wildlife trade include eradicating both the demand and supply of illegal products wherever in the world it occurs, ensuring effective legal frameworks and deterrents against criminals involved, strengthening law enforcement and supporting the development of sustainable livelihoods for communities affected by illegal wildlife trade.

The London Declaration urged all donors to provide additional resources to implement the political commitments made by the international community.

In his statement at the Conference, AfDB President, Donald Kaberuka, reiterated the Bank’s readiness “to help find solutions in addressing this growing problem.

“Over the next three years, the African Development Bank will commit US $5 million to strengthen trans-boundary park management,” he said.

“We are most honoured to note that the London Declaration builds upon the Marrakech Declaration,” Kaberuka added, referring to the joint global call for action and commitment launched by the AfDB and WWF at the Bank’s Annual Meetings in Marrakech, Morocco, in May 2013, which was praised by the London Declaration.

He recalled that the AfDB was “quick to react and provide the necessary support to Cameroon, Chad and the Central African Republic following the terrible massacre of over 400 elephants in the Bouba Njida National Park in Cameroon two years ago.”

According to European Union figures, rhino horn is now more valuable than gold, selling at EUR 40,000/kilogram while tiger bones sell for EUR 900/kilogram.

The idea for a ground-breaking conference on the issue was developed by the Prince of Wales together with African leaders, after discussing the poaching crisis with President Ali Bongo of Gabon.

The Prince of Wales addressed the London Conference, attended by the Presidents of Botswana, Chad, Gabon and Tanzania and 120 participants from 56 countries and organizations.