The Duke of Cambridge joined the United for Wildlife organisations on the 12 February 2014 at the symposium hosted by the Zoological Society of London to discuss the coordinated international effort that is required to combat the illegal wildlife trade.
The United for Wildlife collaboration, under the Presidency of The Duke, has an extensive international field presence and a large network of collaborating institutions. It hopes to use this powerful global alliance to address both the supply and demand issues of illegal wildlife trafficking and also to support the sustainable development of affected communities and bring those involved in the illegal trade to justice.
United for Wildlife has identified the following commitments as its key areas of focus:
- To strengthen site protection on areas that contain target species with the roll out of SMART technology (Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool) such as satellite nodes, ground sensors, GPS trackers and drones;
- To reduce the demand of illegal trade products by working with Governments and other organisations, such as marketing experts and youth leaders, to encourage appropriate consumer messaging to those who buy rhino horn, ivory, tiger and pangolin parts and products;
- To engage with the private sector to encourage a 'zero-tolerance' approach towards the illegal wildlife trade. This may include working with businesses that may be unwittingly drawn into the trade chain;
- To support the judiciary and local authorities in their efforts to fight wildlife crime;
- To support local communities, whose livelihoods are directly affected by the illegal wildlife trade.
This unprecedented collaboration of seven of the most influential field-based organisations, including the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), and the Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry will bring together some of the world’s largest environmental bodies and harness the resources and expertise of global leaders in business, communications, technology and the creative industries to tackle this universal challenge.
Jonathan Baillie, ZSL’s Director of Conservation Programmes said: “At the United for Wildlife Symposium held at the Zoological Society of London major conservation organisations made commitments to address illegal wildlife crime. These included commitments to strengthen protection on the ground, assist in improving legal frameworks and implementing a large scale demand reduction strategy. It was then turn for the heads of state and high level government officials to make commitments at the London Conference which took place the next day. This was done in the form of a bold declaration which both echoed and helped strengthen the commitments made by the conservation community. Of particular importance was the commitment of governments to treat illegal wildlife trade as a serious crime and to work together to dismantle the international criminal networks at the highest level. If this commitment is fulfilled it would have a dramatic and immediate effect, buying precious time to implement demand reduction strategies and strengthen capacity on the ground.”