Target: United Nations Security Council
Goal: Commend the United Nations Security Council for targeting illegal wildlife traffickers in the Central African Republic
In a recent trade resolution, the United Nations (UN) Security Council specifically named “illicit trade of wildlife and wildlife products” in its sanction regimes. Although environmental and wildlife advocates have warned the UN about trafficking groups’ strong financing from illegal elephant ivory trade for many years, wildlife trafficking has become more than just a mere environmental issues. It has now become a security issue too.
According to Wendy Elliott of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), wildlife traffickers “are funding the armed groups that are causing the human rights violations, but it is still treated as an environmental issue and that is just not going to work out.” U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said, “In recent years wildlife trafficking has become a lucrative business and a source for conflict, so it’s a sign of progress that the Security Council recognizes the link between stopping poaching and advancing peace.”
The next challenge is to prove the connections between animal poachers, traffickers, and armed groups in Central Africa. Sign the below petition to commend the UN Security Council for protecting vulnerable species and cutting off support to armed criminal groups.
Dear Members of the United Nations Security Council,
You should be commended for collectively recognizing that wildlife trafficking in Central Africa is more than an environmental issue, but a security issue as well. Your resolution to renew an arms embargo, travel bans, and asset freezes against armed groups in the Congo is a step in the right direction. These sanctions include groups who illegally trade natural resources, wildlife, and wildlife products.
There are less than 2,000 elephants in Garamba National Park, compared to 22,000 in the 1960s. Illegal trade in elephant ivory constitutes an important source of funding for armed groups in Central Africa. Your recent decisions have provided the opportunity to protect elephants and other vulnerable species by cutting off support for armed criminal groups in the region.
I am urging you to continue working with advocacy groups like the World Wildlife Fund, and local experts who understand the dynamics of trade in Africa, to put an end to illegal wildlife trafficking. Implementing these sanctions in Africa will be a challenge, but you have a great deal of support to overcome the obstacles and enforce the law.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Greenwich Photography via Flickr