IUCN was deeply honoured to host His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge as he convened a meeting of United for Wildlife (UfW) at IUCN headquarters in Gland, Switzerland, on Monday 18 May to discuss global cooperation in tackling the illegal wildlife trade. United for Wildlife is a collaboration led by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, in conjunction with seven partner conservation organisations, including IUCN, all joining forces to tackle wildlife crime.
During the meeting, the partner organisations discussed next steps towards achieving the UfW commitments. In particular, they discussed new methods to combat poaching in priority sites in Africa and Asia, engage local communities in overcoming wildlife crime, reduce the demand for ivory in China, strengthen criminal justice responses in key countries, determine new financing mechanisms for conserving rhinos, and engage the next generation in the overall movement to save the world’s most iconic species.
A special UfW Task Force is tackling the trafficking of illegal wildlife products through engagement with the transport industry. Convened by His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge and chaired by former British Foreign Secretary William Hague, the Task Force, which also met at IUCN headquarters on Monday, brings together leading figures from the private sector, international trade alliances, United Nations agencies and UfW partner organisations. At the meeting, participants discussed possible means of tackling the transportation of illegally sourced wildlife products with both the airline and shipping sectors.
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, which is compiled by IUCN’s Species Survival Commission under the chairmanship of Dr Simon Stuart, is a critical knowledge source for initiating the sustained recovery of threatened species and the starting point for on-the-ground conservation action. The IUCN Red List was discussed during a presentation to His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge delivered by Dr Jane Smart, Director of IUCN’s Biodiversity Conservation Group.
“Battling the illegal wildlife trade is an absolute imperative for conservation, for sustainability, and for poverty reduction – it is extremely urgent,” says IUCN Director General Inger Andersen. “It was an honour to host His Royal Highness and the United for Wildlife partners to work towards attaining our common goal. The determination in the room was palpable. It was inspiring to witness the determination of His Royal Highness to combat and end illegal wildlife trade.”