On the 13 of May 2022, the 46th Meeting of the Facilitation Committee (FAL46) of the IMO adopted new ‘Guidelines for the Prevention and Suppression of the Smuggling of Wildlife on Ships Engaged in International Maritime Traffic’.
The Guidelines were formally submitted to FAL46 by Brazil, Colombia, Germany, Kenya, Tanzania, the Intergovernmental Standing Committee on Shipping (ISCOS), the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the International Organisation of Airports and Seaports Police (INTERPORTPOLICE).
The Guidelines provide extensive recommendations for both government agencies and the private sector to increase due diligence over this criminal activity. Formal efforts started in FAL44 led by the Republic of Kenya with a working group composed of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), WWF, TRAFFIC and United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce.
We are thrilled that the IMO Member States have made this commitment to tackling the illegal networks that exploit maritime supply chains to traffic wildlife. These new Guidelines, including the Red Flag Compendium, will provide a fundamental resource to aid governments and the private sector to take collaborative action against the illegal wildlife trade and help to conserve our global biodiversity
said Philippa Dyson, TRAFFIC’s coordinator of transport sector engagement.
Wildlife trafficking is a growing concern globally, threatening not only biodiversity but also ecosystems vital for climate change mitigation, domestic and international economies, and potentially human health.
Smugglers exploit the weaknesses in supply chains to illegally transport endangered species, including live animals, animal products, plants and timber. With 90% of the world trade being seaborne and an estimated 72-90% of illicit wildlife volumes being trafficked through maritime transport, the sector holds a responsibility to engage against this transnational organised crime.
The Guidelines highlight measures and procedures already available to the private sector and government agencies to combat wildlife trafficking within the industry. The document provides information on the nature and context of maritime smuggling of wildlife. It includes measures to prevent, detect and report wildlife trafficking within the maritime sector, with an emphasis on due diligence, responsibility-sharing and cooperation between all stakeholders along the supply chains.
These guidelines present a gamechanger in the fight against the illegal wildlife trade. Through dedicated and expert support from IMO member states and partners, government authorities and companies can implement greater safeguarding measures to protect their employees, business, and nature, critical to protecting the integrity of maritime supply chains from operational, economic, security, and zoonotic health risks
stated Dr. Margaret Kinnaird, Global Wildlife Practice Leader of WWF.
Towards the adoption of the Guidelines, the working group collaborated with varied stakeholders, including governments, academia, professional organisations, private companies, non-governmental organisations and inter-governmental organisations. This resulted in broad support from IMO Members, observers and consultative organisations at FAL46.
The Republic of Kenya emphasised that “their government is thankful to all Member States who supported the development of these Guidelines and who contributed to their finalisation. This will greatly help to protect our wildlife, wherever it may be.”
TRAFFIC and WWF tool forms part of the new IMO guidelines.
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