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    UNIS/CP/750
    28 February 2014

    Planet's biodiversity threatened by wildlife crime says UNODC Chief on World Wildlife Day

    VIENNA, 28 February (United Nations Information Service) - In a statement issued for World Wildlife Day, 3 March, the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Yury Fedotov, said our "stewardship of this planet's biodiversity" is threatened if there are no attempts made to reduce the demand for animal parts, while disrupting supply by seizing the assets of the criminal networks who commit this crime.

    On the issue of curbing demand, Mr. Fedotov emphasised the importance of breaking with the past traditions that help drive these crimes. "Young people are the next generation of potential purchasers of illegal wildlife commodities. Working globally, we can deliver science-based information to young people and help dispel the misinformation," he said.

    Mr. Fedotov identified sustainable development in countries supplying wildlife commodities as another vital issue that calls for additional action. "Wildlife crime also has a powerful development dimension. Sustainable livelihoods is an area where local communities building local enterprises can be empowered to live in harmony with their surroundings."

    Globally wildlife crime is conservatively estimated to be worth around US$8 to US$10 billion annually. UNODC addresses this transnational threat by helping states align their national laws to the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and providing assistance in the areas of anti-money laundering, strengthening law enforcement, and anti-corruption activities under the UN Convention against Corruption, among others.

    World Wildlife Day was adopted on 20 December 2013, at the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York. The day was  chosen because the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora was adopted on 3 March 1973.

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    To read the statement in full, please go to: bit.ly/1gGxrhy

    For further information, please contact:

    David Dadge
    Spokesperson, UNODC
    Telephone: (+43-1) 26060-5629
    Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-5629
    Email: david.dadge[at]unvienna.org