Johannesburg, South Africa
The 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) today saw the adoption of a resolution titled “Prohibiting, Preventing and Countering Corruption-Facilitating Activities Conducted in Violation of the Convention.”
This historic resolution marks the first time CITES Parties have addressed this issue.
To mark the resolution’s adoption, the following statement was released by the Wildlife Conservation Society on behalf of Dr. Susan Lieberman, WCS VP of International Policy and head of the WCS CITES Cop17 delegation:
“For the first time in a history spanning more than 40 years, CITES is finally grappling with the scourge of corruption.”
“WCS strongly supports the resolution on corruption and welcomes the fact that for the first time in a history spanning more than 40 years, CITES is finally grappling with the scourge of corruption. Corruption at all levels facilitates wildlife crime and undermines the rule of law, good governance, and sustainable development. In particular, we support the integration by States of their obligations under CITES with their obligations under both the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC).
“Corruption can and does take place at every stage in the trade chain – from poaching, illegal logging and illegal fishing, the transport of poached goods, and processing and export to issuing, inspecting and accepting documentation (such as CITES permits), to the sale of illegal wildlife products and the laundering of proceeds. Some of the most significant factors contributing to the current wildlife trafficking crisis are weak governance and associated corruption.
“The adopted resolution: calls on Parties, regional and international bodies to incorporate corruption explicitly into their anti-wildlife trafficking work; calls on Parties and the Secretariat to respond to allegations of corruption as a compliance issue; and urges all Parties to adopt measures to prohibit, prevent, detect and counter instances of corruption and ensure that any corrupt practices associated with the administration, regulation, implementation or enforcement of CITES are punishable as criminal offences with appropriate penalties under national legislation.
“The scourge of corruption will not end just because CITES adopted a resolution, but this is a very important step to highlight the seriousness of the issue, and the need to combat it as a matter of urgency.”
See the full text of the corruption resolution here.