14th September 2016

Conservative MEPs are backing an EU EU Action Plan to tackle wildlife trafficking within the EU and to strengthen the EU's role in the global fight against these illegal activities.

The vote comes ahead of next months meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endagered Species (CITES).

Conservative Leader Ashley Fox said, “The Action Plan mobilises all EU diplomatic, trade and development cooperation tools to crack down on what has become one of the most profitable criminal activities worldwide.”

Recent years have seen a dramatic surge in wildlife trafficking, its estimated that its worth around $14bn in Europe alone ranking it alongside the trafficking of drugs, people and arms.

Mr Fox continues, “It not only threatens the survival of some emblematic species, it also breeds corruption, claims human victims, and deprives poorer communities of much-needed income. It also threatens security in Central Africa, where militia and terrorist groups partly fund their activities through wildlife trafficking.”

The Action Plan comprises 32 measures to be carried out between now and 2020 by the EU and its 28 Member States. It focuses on three priorities:

- Prevent trafficking and reduce supply and demand of illegal wildlife products: for example by the end of 2016 the Commission will prepare guidelines aiming to suspend the export of old ivory items from the EU

- Enhance implementation of existing rules and combat organised crime more effectively by increasing cooperation between competent enforcement agencies such as Europol

- Strengthen cooperation between source, destination and transit countries, including strategic EU financial support to tackle trafficking in source countries, help build capacity for enforcement and provide long term sources of income to rural communities living in wildlife-rich areas

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