Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to address the General Assembly today on the occasion of the adoption of the third United Nations Resolution on “Tackling illicit trafficking in Wildlife.”
Let me start by thanking Ambassador (Mr.) Michel Xavier BIANG from Gabon, our fellow co-chair of the United Nations Group of Friends on Poaching and Illicit Wildlife Trafficking, for the excellent cooperation throughout the process. I would also like to thank all Members of the Group of Friends and all other supporters for their strong commitment to this important issue and for their constructive engagement in preparing this resolution.
The General Assembly’s first resolution on tackling illicit trafficking in wildlife of 30 July 2015 was a milestone and a clear sign from the international community that it will not tolerate the extinction of whole species. Since then, we have not only raised global awareness remarkably but have achieved progress in many areas such as resource protection and seizures along the main illegal trade routes on the ground. But poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking still continue to cause irreversible damage to biodiversity and threaten local economic development.
It was therefore consequential to revisit this issue to further enhance our efforts, specifically in areas that we jointly identified as requiring more attention from the international community during discussions on World Wildlife Day last spring.
Let me briefly highlight three points:
First, the link between corruption and illicit wildlife trafficking has proven a major challenge in recent years. Corruption is a primary enabling factor for the illegal wildlife trade in range, transit and destination countries. Also, corruption allows black markets to develop and illegal products to mix with legal products. We believe this third resolution highlights this link and will lead to enhanced efforts against corruption by the international community. Also, Germany is very grateful for the appreciation of the work of the G20 under German and under Chinese presidencies in developing the “High-Level Principles on Combatting Corruption related to illegal Trade in Wildlife.”
Second, we believe that the recognition of cybercrime’s growing role in facilitating illegal trade in wildlife and the call for innovative strategies to counter this phenomenon are exemplary for new and forward-looking approach needed to tackle current and future challenges.
Third, the resolution considerably strengthens the aspects of sustainable development of local communities in range countries and promotes ways to achieve sustainable and legal livelihoods for members of these communities. Due to their proximity, local communities are well-situated to become involved in the process to find lasting solutions. Their rights and responsibilities related to managing wildlife must be strengthened and real economic opportunities for them must be developed to create stability and resilience. We believe this third resolution paves the way in this direction.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I’m proud to say that Germany has been and will continue to be an active supporter in the fight against illicit trafficking in wildlife. Currently, we have committed 624 million euro to projects combating poaching and illegal trade in wildlife – 243 million of which support specific measures to fight wildlife crime.
But we are aware that no country can win this fight on its own. It is crucial that all parties, including donors, continue to work together closely. It is therefore of great importance that this resolution strongly encourages donor coordination in order to collectively maximize investment effectiveness and engage new partners.
Also, for our common fight against illicit wildlife trafficking to be successful, it is crucial that we as UN Member States keep on working together closely. I believe the work leading to the resolution we adopted by consensus today was the perfect example of this spirit across all member states and regional groups. I want to thank all our colleagues very much for this cooperation.
Thank you, Mr. President.