IMO adopts guidelines against wildlife smuggling

2022-05-16 16:23:39 Trade Bodies (World Marine)

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted new guidelines for the prevention and suppression of the smuggling of wildlife on ships engaged in international maritime traffic.

This is the first time the IMO has taken such a step to combat illegal wildlife trade exploiting the maritime shipping industry. 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.

The guidelines were formally 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 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).

 Formal efforts started in in 2020 led by Kenya with a working group composed of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), WWF, Traffic and United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce.

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,” said Dr Margaret Kinnaird, global wildlife practice leader of WWF.

According to wildlife trade specialists, Traffic, 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. Organised criminal groups are increasingly taking part in this illegal activity which is still considered low risk – high reward. Smugglers exploit the weaknesses in supply chains to illegally transport endangered species, including live animals, animal products, plants and timber.

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