Friday, November 18, 2016

Freight Carriers and Shippers Encouraged to Help Combat Wildlife Smuggling

IATA Launch New Tool to Assist Protection of Worlds Rarest Species
Shipping News Feature
WORLDWIDE – Illegal wildlife trade is an issue of global concern. Poaching of iconic wildlife species, including elephants and rhinos is at a record high with their ivory and horn respectively trafficked to distant markets with transnational criminal gangs exploiting the increasingly interconnected air transport system. The aviation sector is committed to playing its part in stopping this illegal trade in wildlife, worth at least $19 billion annually, and to help combat the smuggling of rare and endangered animals the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents some 265 airlines comprising 83% of global air traffic, has launched a new tool to assist freight operators in identifying shipments of illegal cargoes.

The Airport Wildlife Trafficking Assessment Tool, which was developed in partnership with the World Customs Organization (WCO) and with the support of the USAID ROUTES Partnership, will help to defeat animal smugglers. The Tool will be initially trialled at Maputo International Airport, Mozambique, in November 2016 ahead of the planned global deployment in 2017. It is designed to help airports assess their supply-chain security, intelligence and risk management, staff awareness, and reporting processes, alongside air cargo and passenger screening policy and procedures.

Earlier this year, IATA, along with 26 of its member airlines signed the Duke of Cambridge’s United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce Buckingham Palace Declaration. Signatories have committed to raise awareness of wildlife trafficking, train staff to help spot traffickers, and improve cooperation between transport bodies and regulatory and enforcement organisations.

The intention is for actors in the air transport sector to help serve as the eyes and ears of enforcement agencies and be valuable partners in the efforts to eliminate wildlife trafficking from supply chains. The Assessment Tool will enable them to identify weak points in procedures and practices, often exploited by traffickers, as well as ways of strengthening them. Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO said that:

"The illegal trafficking of wildlife products, including many iconic and endangered species, is an issue which the aviation industry takes very seriously. It will take a team effort to combat this deplorable trade. Our common goal is to preserve our precious wildlife inheritance for future generations to enjoy.”

Photo: The Pangolin, the World’s most trafficked animal.