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The EC warns that wildlife trafficking finances terrorism

The EC warns that wildlife trafficking finances terrorism

The initiative, adopted today and which Member States are expected to approve in the coming weeks, also aims to strengthen the role of the EU in the global fight against these crimes, the European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs explained at a press conference and Fishing, Karmenu Vella.

According to Vella, organized crime groups dedicated to this type of trade move between 8,000 and 20,000 million euros each year, at a level similar to that of drug or arms trafficking.

Apart from being a threat to the survival of the species, this trafficking fuels corruption, deprives very poor communities of indispensable income and even causes human victims, the commissioner said.

Africa Security:

According to the EC, this type of trafficking "endangers the security of Central Africa, where militias and terrorist groups partially finance their activities thanks to the trafficking of wildlife".

The European Union is primarily a transit region for wild species, wood or ivory, particularly between Africa and Asia, although it is also the destination for some of the traffic.

The commissioner explained that the wild animals that reach the European market the most are reptiles, especially snakes, chameleons or iguanas.

The EC plan includes 32 measures to be carried out between now and 2020 and focuses on three priorities, starting with preventing trafficking and reducing the supply and demand of illegally sourced wildlife products.

To this end, it envisages, for example, that the Commission draw up guidelines by the end of 2016 to suspend the export from the EU of antique ivory objects.

It envisages strengthening the application of existing rules and better combating organized crime, intensifying cooperation with organizations such as Europol and promoting collaboration between countries of origin, transit and destination.


Rebound in wildlife trafficking:

Brussels says that in recent years there has been a drastic rebound in wildlife trafficking.

In 2014, according to EC data, more than 20,000 elephants and 1,200 rhinos were killed, species whose populations are now in decline again.

In a century, because of this type of trafficking, the world population of tigers decreased from 100,000 individuals to less than 3,500.

Today's action plan is part of a larger one, the so-called action plan to strengthen the fight against the financing of terrorism.

The EC recalled that the Twenty-eight are the main international donor, with support for conservation in Africa amounting to 700 million euros for the 2014-2020 period.

The EU Directives for the protection of nature prohibit the sale and transport of a number of wild species.

The trafficking of these species is also fought with other regulations relating to the protection of the environment through criminal law, which requires that the member states consider it to constitute a crime.

Photo: NGAO (THAILAND) .- Thai elephants. EFE / Pongmanat Tasiri

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