The Royal Foundation of The Prince and Princess of Wales and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) have announced their new partnership around United for Wildlife, the flagship programme to end the illegal wildlife trade. UNODC will be supported in this effort by DP World, long-standing advocates for increased action in the fight against the illegal wildlife trade (IWT).
The new three-year agreement, coming into force on 1st August, will see The Royal Foundation and UNODC combine their resources and expertise in the global fight against the IWT, which is worth up to $20 billion annually and is associated with violent crime, corruption, and other forms of trafficking. This high-level collaboration underlines the global nature of the threat posed by the IWT, which robs the planet of its most precious natural resources and funds organized crime, directly affecting already vulnerable communities.
United for Wildlife was founded by Prince William and The Royal Foundation in 2014 to end the illegal wildlife trade. It fosters collaboration across the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors to increase the identification and investigation of wildlife crime, aiming to make it impossible for traffickers to exploit any vulnerabilities in global transport and financial systems.
In fusing United for Wildlife’s private sector and NGO partnerships with UNODC’s global network of wildlife crime advisers and relationships with global law enforcement entities and national governments, the partnership will scale the programme’s collective ability to enable the detection and disruption of this harmful trade.
UNODC officers and objectives focused on United for Wildlife will be integrated into key UNODC programmes, working to expand United for Wildlife’s visibility, membership, and regional coverage. Officers will be based in Southern Africa, West Africa, East Africa, Latin America, and Asia. The partnership will increase much-needed law enforcement engagement in fighting criminal syndicates behind the global wildlife trade and aims to tackle the high-level corruption that often facilitates wildlife trafficking. It will also encourage cross-sector collaboration and information-sharing to support seizures, investigations and arrests relating to IWT.
Amanda Berry OBE, CEO of The Royal Foundation, said: “The illegal wildlife trade continues to exploit and threaten the world’s most vulnerable species. Tackling this heinous crime requires a serious and organized response built on collaboration across sectors and borders. United for Wildlife – with its global network of over 450 partners – will do all it can to support this response around the world.
“As a world leader in the disruption and prevention of transnational crime, UNODC will be a key partner for The Royal Foundation in its delivery of United for Wildlife. This partnership exemplifies the breadth and diversity of United for Wildlife’s global network as we combine our expertise, resources, and unwavering determination to end wildlife crime for good.”
“Wildlife crime is driving thousands of species to extinction and disrupting vital ecosystems, demanding urgent action,” said UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly. “I am proud that UNODC is joining forces with the Royal Foundation and DP World, uniting our efforts to preserve the planet’s most treasured species. With its technical support and global field network, UNODC is ideally placed to equip law enforcement agencies around the world with the tools, resources and expertise needed to disrupt and dismantle the criminal networks perpetuating this transnational crime. Through this new partnership, we will safeguard our fragile ecosystems for future generations and preserve nature’s delicate balance.”
Maha Al Qattan, Chief People&Sustainability Officer of DP World, said: “As a business that enables global trade, we are acutely aware of the negative impact of illegal wildlife trade on our industry, the communities we operate in, as well as the long-term ramifications on biodiversity. To ensure a sustainable and better future for all, we must deploy our collective resources to scale monitoring, regulation, and other pioneering solutions to tackle this issue. I’m delighted to help bring these two fantastic organizations together. I’m confident their combined global network and expertise will help us accelerate our joint efforts.”
In the six years since creating its international transport and financial taskforces, the United for Wildlife network has contributed to over 500 law enforcement cases, over 400 arrests, nearly 300 seizures of wildlife products and has trained over 100,000 people. The network spans the globe – from Southeast Asia to South America, Europe to East Africa – increasing deterrents across the entire chain of demand and supply.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Information Service Vienna (UNIS).