IATA & CITES To Cooperate On Reducing Illegal Wildlife Trade
IATA and the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna & Flora (CITES) have signed a Memorandum
of Understanding (MOU) to cooperate on reducing illegal trade in wildlife and
their products, as well as on ensuring the safe and secure transport of legally
CITES is a legally-binding agreement with 181 States-Parties, setting
the rules for international wildlife trade in more than 35,000 species of
animals and plants.
Over recent years, there has been a surge in the illegal trade of
wildlife and their products such as elephant ivory, rhino horn and rare
timbers, with many smugglers misusing the complex international aviation system
to evade customs and other enforcement agencies.
Under this MOU, IATA and CITES will have a formal framework for their
ongoing cooperation on the implementation of standards and best practices. They
will also support joint training and communications activities.
“The responsibility for enforcement of the rules governing international
wildlife trade is clearly with governments. But well-trained airline staff can
be an invaluable source of information on suspicious passenger behavior and
unusual shipments,” says Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General & CEO.
“Our collaboration with CITES will help the industry to play a role in
stopping the terrible scourge of illegal trade in wildlife that threatens some
of the most precious animal and plant life on our planet,” said Tyler.
“We live in an interconnected world where the great benefits of global
air transport are also being abused by criminals to transport illegally traded
wildlife,” said John E. Scanlon, the Secretary-General of CITES. “IATA and its
member airlines can play a critical role in assisting customs and other
enforcement agencies by gathering valuable intelligence of suspicious
activities and raising awareness among customers, passengers and staff of the
devastating impacts of this illegal trade.”
Addressing IATA’s Annual General Meeting in Miami, Scanlon added: “Today
we are confronted by transnational organized criminals, and in some cases rebel
militia and rogue elements of the military, which are driving industrial scale
poaching and illegal trade for illicit off shore markets. The profound impact
this poaching and illegal trade is having upon entire species and ecosystems
and the services they provide, local peoples and their livelihoods, national
economies and national and regional security is now increasingly well