BRUSSELS (7 January 2016)
The World Customs Organization (WCO) and the WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at reducing the amount of illegal wildlife products moving across international borders. The MoU was signed by Dr. Cristián Samper, WCS President and CEO, and Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General of the WCO.
As the criminal networks that profit from wildlife trafficking have become more organized, the illegal cross-border trade in wildlife has been made more sophisticated through the use of superior technology. Stopping the trafficking of illegal wildlife and wildlife products is essential to conserving endangered species such as elephants, tigers, marine turtles, pangolins, and many others.
With the signing of this MoU, WCO and WCS agree to exchange information, collaborate on policy decisions, and cooperate in multiple ways in efforts to stop illegal wildlife trade. WCO and WCS affirmed that the issue should be addressed through commensurate and coordinated national, regional and international measures.
Customs officials across the globe are on the front line in efforts to prevent smuggling of illegal wildlife products across international borders. A total of 180 governments are members of the WCO, representing more than 98 percent of world trade. WCS staff members have conducted training for WCO and Customs officials in many countries, an example of beneficial collaboration that could expand under this agreement.
Susan Lieberman, WCS Vice President of International Policy, said, “By working side by side with those on the front lines of combating trafficking, we collaborate to stop this scourge and enable more effective conservation of endangered species. ”
"I am pleased to be able to count on the support of WCS to meet the complex challenges posed by the illegal wildlife trade. Together we will work to strengthen Customs enforcement capabilities and promote exchange of information and partnerships between relevant stakeholders," said WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya.
WCO and WCS are members of the Transport Task Force of United for Wildlife, where both have worked collaboratively and productively for the past year with other members to engage the transport industry in efforts to halt wildlife trafficking.
WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society)
MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in nearly 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: newsroom.wcs.org Follow: @WCSNewsroom. For more information: +1 347-840-1242.
World Customs Organization
Representing 180 Customs administrations around the world, the WCO is the steward of international Customs standards and the central forum for co-operation and dialogue on Customs matters. Its main function is assisting Customs administrations to achieve their objectives, especially effective application of Customs controls while efficiently facilitating legitimate trade. Visit: wcoomd.org. For more information: +32 2 209 94 41.
WCS: Chip Weiskotten, +1 202-347-0672 x8172, firstname.lastname@example.org
WCO: Laure Tempier, + 32 2 209 94 41, email@example.com