INSIGHT

Airports Council Challenges Aviation Sector to Combat Wildlife Trafficking

Illegal wildlife trade is estimated to have an annual value of up to USD $23 billion
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As the world sinks ever deeper into a biodiversity crisis that has seen the earth lose over 60 percent of wild animals in 60 years, a coordinated approach across industry, government and stake holders is viewed as the the most efficient approach towards solving a pressing global issue. illegal wildlife trade remains a key area of concern among those leading the fight.

Its on this backdrop that Airports Council International (ACI) has today published guidance for airports in combatting the global illegal trade of protected species of wild animals and plants.

 The ACI Combatting Wildlife Trafficking Handbook has been developed with the support of the USAID Reducing Opportunities for Unlawful Transport of Endangered Species (ROUTES) Partnership to assist airports in addressing this global crime.

 Elephants are often poached for their ivory and tigers for their skins and bones, for example, but other species, such as rosewood, pangolins, birds, reptiles, rhinos and marine turtles, are also among commonly trafficked species.

  The handbook offers detailed case studies on the comprehensive work and strategies of individual airports engaged in this global challenge and draws on the experience of airports which have taken an active role against wildlife trafficking. It also provides guidance to airports on their role and the options that may be available to them to support industry action.

 “Wildlife trafficking is a global crime that can touch any airport and requires concerted efforts and a coordinated global response to combat it and protect species for future generations. The cooperation with ROUTES is key to develop and support our members on these important task” ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira said.

 The illegal wildlife trade is estimated to have an annual value of up to $23 billion US Dollars.

“The aviation industry is ideally placed to support this fight and, by working with our ROUTES partners to deliver resources such as this handbook, we continue to help raise awareness and encourage the community to support the protection of biodiversity.

“As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and airports begins to see a resurgence in traffic, I believe now is the time to act and I encourage airports to join us in our commitment to combat wildlife trafficking.”

The resource contains materials that assist airports, irrespective of their size or geography, to play their part where possible. It promotes a comprehensive approach, that involves coordination with industry partners (such as airlines) and with law enforcement agencies (e.g., border protection and customs agents).

ACI’s Combatting Wildlife Trafficking Handbook provides a great opportunity for airports globally to understand the role they can play in preventing this transnational crime. We welcome ACI’s continued efforts and commitment to providing information and resources to help their members address wildlife trafficking through the aviation sector,” Michelle Owen, ROUTES Lead added.

View the handbook here

Photo: Financial Times

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