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The EU's commitment to effective multilateralism, with the UN at its core, is a central element of its external action. As a UN observer with enhanced status, the EU delegation coordinates with its 28 Member States to speak with one voice. The EU also works closely with the UN secretariat and its agencies, funds & programmes, partnering on a range of global issues and challenges.

Summary: 30 July 2015, New York – Statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States at the United Nations General Assembly Plenary upon adoption of draft resolution A/69/L.80 under agenda item 13 “Tackling illicit trafficking in wildlife”

The European Union and its Member States would like to warmly thank Gabon and Germany for their hard work in helping us to reach agreement on this important resolution, of which all 28 Member States of the European Union are proud to be co-sponsors. 

The high number of co-sponsors from all parts of the world shows that the international community is aware that wildlife trafficking is an urgent and serious problem that requires global and comprehensive action, far beyond the pure conservation approach or the necessary measures to protect iconic species. Indeed, wildlife trafficking exemplifies how criminal activities,  taking advantage of every governance weakness, can cause serious environmental damage and have a disastrous impact on sustainable development, and, in some cases fuel conflicts and  threaten the stability of entire regions. 

Building on important previous resolutions and declarations from the UN Environment Assembly, ECOSOC, the Doha Crime Congress and the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, it is the first time that the General Assembly adopts a dedicated comprehensive resolution on the issue, connecting the dots between the various interlinked aspects of wildlife trafficking. This is an essential step to demonstrate political commitment on fighting wildlife trafficking nationally, regionally and globally, but it is also only a first step. In this regard we welcome very much that the GA will examine the topic annually, and we are looking forward to hearing the proposals of the Secretary General. On this basis we hope to discuss next year an even more action oriented resolution. 

We must be serious in implementing the commitments we take today and those we will be taking in the future, and I am glad to note that in the EU, we are currently developing an Action Plan against wildlife trafficking to further step up our efforts, both domestically and in support of developing countries. We will review the existing policies and measures at EU level to react even more effectively to the current situation.

In the EU, we have recently taken an important step to fight against illegal wildlife trade by adopting stricter measures to ensure that imports of hunting trophies are sustainable. On this basis, we have already agreed on a ban of the import of hunting trophies of African elephants from Tanzania and Mozambique into the EU to stop the decline of the African elephants in these countries.

On the operational side, the EU has funded over the last 30 years many conservation projects in developing countries, including for 500 million EUR invested in protected area management in Africa. The EU is also supporting specific initiatives against wildlife crime, with specialised agencies, such as the UN Office on Drugs and Crimes and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, for a total amount of 17 million EUR. Moreover, the 11th European Development Fund will increase the resources for these purposes, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa up to an estimated amount of 35-40 million for wildlife crime out of a total 500 million aimed at wildlife issues (field site protection, community-based activities, capacity-building). The EU activities on African Wildlife Conservation have been defined in detail in a recent study “Larger than elephants” endorsed by major conservation stakeholders worldwide.

We must not relent until we end poaching and wildlife trafficking, as we are committing to do in one of the targets of the post 2015 agenda, which is expected to be adopted in a few weeks. This Resolution is an important political signal and a critical step to bring us closer to this target and beyond. 

I thank you.

  • Ref: EUUN15-111EN
  • EU source: European Union
  • UN forum: General Assembly (including Special Sessions)
  • Date: 30/7/2015

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