The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted new guidelines for the prevention and suppression of wildlife smuggling on board vessels engaged in international maritime traffic.
This is the first time that the IMO has taken such action to combat the illegal wildlife trade exploiting the shipping industry. The guidelines highlight the 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 wildlife smuggling. It includes measures to prevent, detect and report wildlife trafficking in the maritime sector, emphasizing due diligence, responsibility sharing and cooperation between all stakeholders along the supply chains. supply.
The guidelines were officially submitted to the 46th Meeting of the Facilitation Committee (FAL46) by Brazil, Colombia, Germany, Kenya, Tanzania, the Intergovernmental Standing Committee on Shipping (ISCOS), the International Chamber Merchant Navy (ICS), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and International Seaport and Airport Police Organization (INTERPORTPOLICE). Formal efforts began in 2020 under Kenya’s leadership with a task force comprising the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), WWF, Traffic and the United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce.
“These guidelines are a game-changer in the fight against the illegal wildlife trade. With the dedicated and expert support of Member States and IMO partners, government authorities and businesses can implement greater safeguards to protect their people, business and nature, essential to protect the integrity maritime supply chains against operational, economic, security and zoonotic health. risks,” said Dr Margaret Kinnaird, WWF’s Global Head of Wildlife Practice.
According to wildlife trade experts Traffic, wildlife trafficking is a growing global concern, threatening not only biodiversity but also ecosystems vital to climate change mitigation, national and international economies. and potentially human health. Organized crime groups are increasingly involved in this illegal activity which is still considered low risk and high reward. Smugglers exploit weaknesses in supply chains to illegally transport endangered species, including live animals, animal products, plants and timber.