Coherent policies needed to combat illegal wildlife trade- Lynn Boylan MEP
Dublin Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has spoken in Strasbourg in support of full EU participation on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). With 180 state parties, CITES provides an international framework to protect over 35,000 species of animals and plants.
Ms Boylan said:
“According to United for Wildlife, the illegal wildlife trafficking is the fourth most lucrative global crime after drugs, humans and arms. We need a strong plan to combat this problem and we urged the Commission to address it. Earlier this year we co-signed a letter by 81 MEPs calling for an EU Action Plan against wildlife crime and Commissioner Vella agreed he wants the EU "to be at the forefront of tackling wildlife trafficking both domestically and internationally."
It is well recognised that the EU is both a transit route and a destination for this illegal trade however the vast majority of this illegal trade is carried out in the developing world and conflict zones.
The sad fact of the matter is that the extreme poverty of many African communities lends itself to this trade. When the tusks of a single adult elephant are worth more than ten times the average annual income in many African countries is it any wonder that impoverished people see wildlife as a valuable barter for trade.
The European Union of course should support these countries where equipment, training and funds for enforcement are often lacking but we must also look at the bigger picture.
EU policies on trade, and its facilitation of multinational corporations to evade paying tax in developing countries is deepening inequality and poverty and further destabilising regions which only feeds into the hands of the illegal wildlife traders. These countries must be supported to develop their own economies and to create the situation where wildlife is seen as a community asset. One of the best ways for this to happen would be to ensure that multinational corporations pay their fair share of taxes in these countries.”