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CITES Secretariat welcomes President Obama’s Executive Order on Combating Wildlife Trafficking

 
Geneva, 2 July 2013 – The Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) welcomes them Executive Order on Combating Wildlife Trafficking issued by the President of the United States, Barack Obama, on 1 July 2013. The Executive Order addresses both its domestic and international response to the current surge in wildlife trafficking.

The Executive Order establishes a Presidential Task Force on Wildlife Trafficking, to be co-chaired by the Secretary of State, Secretary of the Interior, and the Attorney General (Co-Chairs), or their designees, who shall report to the President through the National Security Advisor, with certain tasks assigned to it.

"This Executive Order sends a very powerful message both domestically and internationally on the need to treat wildlife crime as a serious crime on a par with narcotics and arms trafficking. The offer of financial and technical assistance to affected range States to tighten laws and strengthen capacity to combat wildlife trafficking, including the targeted training of front-line enforcement officers, is much needed" said Mr John E. Scanlon, CITES Secretary-General.

The United States is also working with the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) and other interested partners to support the creation of a global network of regional and national Wildlife Enforcement Networks to improve communication and strengthen response actions across enforcement agencies globally. ICCWC convened the world's Wildlife Enforcement Networks for the first time in the margins of CITES CoP16, with the report being released this week.

Background and key excerpts from the Executive Order

The Executive Order builds upon the decisions and resolutions taken on wildlife crime by APEC, the UN Conference on the Sustainable Development, the CITES Conference of the Parties, the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, and the G8 Summit, as well as the UN Secretary General's report to the Security Council on the activities of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa and on the Lord’s Resistance Army-affected areas.

The Executive Order notes that:

"Poaching operations have expanded beyond small-scale, opportunistic actions to coordinated slaughter commissioned by armed and organized criminal syndicates. The survival of protected wildlife species such as elephants, rhinos, great apes, tigers, sharks, tuna, and turtles has beneficial economic, social, and environmental impacts that are important to all nations".

 
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