Leaders at 2012 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum Pledge To Take On Escalating Threat

The following statement has been released by Cristián Samper, President and CEO of the Wildlife Conservation Society:

“The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) supports the joint statement on wildlife trafficking made by the leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum that gathered in Vladivostok, Russia on September 8th and 9th of 2012.  In their statement, the leaders vowed to ‘combat illegal trafficking in wildlife, timber, and associated products, to implement measures to ensure sustainable marine and forest ecosystems management, and to facilitate sustainable, open, and fair trade of non-timber forest products.’

In particular, WCS praises the efforts of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for making illegal wildlife trafficking one of the focal points of her travels through Asia and for rallying Asian leaders to make this landmark pledge that will build capacity, expand enforcement, and increase cooperation among nations.

Increasingly tied to well-financed and sophisticated criminal networks, illegal trafficking in wildlife and wildlife products is a global challenge. This threat has driven many species to the edge of extinction, endangered ecosystems, and created new dangers to human health by spreading diseases shared by both people and animals. The transnational nature of these crimes makes this a national security threat on the scale of drugs and weapons dealing.

The renewed commitment and resolve to combat this international issue shown by the leaders at APEC is a monumental step towards protecting national security and economic stability, and in controlling a threat that is pushing many species to the brink of extinction, and in some cases, endangering our own.”

Image courtesy Mark Leong/Wildlife Conservation Society

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