IMO adopts guidelines against wildlife smuggling

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The International Maritime Organization has reportedly adopted new guidelines to tackle criminal networks exploiting maritime supply chains for wildlife trafficking.

According to Traffic, an NGO targeting the wildlife trade, organized crime groups are exploiting weaknesses in supply chains to transport endangered species, live animals, animal products, plants and timber.

The new guidelines outline measures and procedures to prevent, detect and report wildlife trafficking within the maritime industry with an emphasis on cooperation between stakeholders throughout the supply chain.

the Guidelines for the prevention and suppression of wildlife smuggling on board vessels engaged in international maritime traffic were formally submitted by a large group of stakeholders.

The International Chamber of Shipping, the Intergovernmental Standing Committee on Shipping, the International Seaport and Airport Police Organization, the International Fund for Animal Welfare and WWF participated in the submission with Brazil , Colombia, Germany, Kenya and Tanzania.

WWF and Traffic said it was the first time the IMO had stepped in to tackle the exploitation of the shipping industry by the illegal wildlife trade.

Phillipa Dyson, Traffic’s coordinator for transport sector engagement, said the organization was delighted that IMO member states had committed to tackling illegal networks in the supply chain.

“These new guidelines…will provide a fundamental resource to help governments and the private sector take collaborative action against the illegal wildlife trade and conserve our global biodiversity,” she said.

According to reports, 72-90% of illicit wildlife volumes are trafficked via transnational shipping, and NGOs have said the industry has a responsibility to remedy the situation.

Margaret Kinnaird, global head of wildlife practice at WWF, described the guidelines as “a game-changer in the fight against the illegal wildlife trade”.

“With dedicated and expert support from Member States and IMO partners, government authorities and businesses can implement greater safeguards to protect their people, businesses and nature,” Ms Kinnaird said. .

She said these measures are essential to protect the integrity of maritime supply chains against operational, economic and security risks.

“The adoption of these guidelines will catalyze global cooperation in the maritime sector to combat the illegal wildlife trade.

“We are pleased to announce that our work will continue as we commit to supporting IMO parties and the maritime industry with the regional and national rollout of these guidelines.”

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