MEP calls for action to tackle illegal wildlife trade

East Midlands MEP Emma McClarkin has today, on World Rhino Day, spoken of the need to tackle illegal wild life at all stages of the supply chain, starting with the preservation on the ground in Africa.

The 17th meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) is taking place in Johannesburg, South Africa, starting this weekend. Every three years CITES meets to review and strengthen the fight against illegal wildlife trade.

As part of her work on the International Trade Committee and her long campaign to crack down on Illegal Wildlife, Miss McClarkin will meet with a range of experts from government, international organisations, and non-profits to compile her report on illegal wildlife trade and her recommendations for tackling it, due for debate in December.

In recent times, the Illegal Trade in Wildlife has witnessed a surge, and has been increasing in value. Miss McClarkin is committed to ensure that illegal wildlife trafficking remains a permanent topic on the EU trade agenda and that appropriate mechanisms and procedures are developed and put in place to combat this crime. 

Anti-corruption measures, good governance and support for trade facilitation will be three of the key points on the agenda, areas that Miss McClarkin has previously identified as crucial in tackling this illegal activity.

She said:

"It is vital that the international community works together to stop illegal wildlife trade, which generates an illicit economy of billions of dollars each year, and threatens the sustainability of not only our ecosystem but also the stability of many developing countries.

"The present policies should be reinforced and appropriate enforcement measures developed to guarantee that that this crime is stemmed and that CITEs is making concrete steps.

"This should be done within the framework of existing agreements and with resources already available to international organisations."

Recent statistics reveal that over the past ten years rhino poaching increased by 7000% just in South Africa alone, while illicit ivory trade in general has doubled since 2007. In light of these figures, Miss McClarkin welcomes the new improved efforts by the British government to crack down illegal ivory trade, as reported in The Times this week.