World Environment Day 2020 urges for the preservation of biodiversity

05 June 2020

The World Customs Organization (WCO) looks forward to joining the international community every year on 5 June to celebrate World Environment Day. This is an important day that serves as a reminder of the need  to continue raising awareness of environmental issues, particularly on why preserving the environment is essential to human sustainability, and to reiterate our commitment to protecting our home - the Earth.

The WCO again stands in solidarity with its partners, especially the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), in supporting efforts to ensure environmental sustainability.

The World Environment Day theme for 2020 is biodiversity, and efforts are being rallied under the call “It’s time for Nature.” Biodiversity encompasses the huge variety of life on Earth, including its estimated 8 million species and all their genetic diversity – plants, animals, insects, even fungi and bacteria – as well as their ecosystems.

Today, biodiversity faces a serious threat. Over the last 50 years, world population has doubled, the global economy has almost quadrupled, and international trade has increased tenfold. According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), it would take 1.6 planet Earths to meet humanity’s current demands on nature each year. It is within this context that World Environment Day 2020 calls for urgent action to protect biodiversity.

In response, the WCO has dedicated 2020 to Customs’ contribution towards a sustainable future where social, economic, health, and environmental needs are at the heart of its actions. The WCO theme carries the slogan “Customs fostering Sustainability for People, Prosperity and the Planet,” inviting all WCO Members to intensify their efforts to thwart criminal endeavours and protect people and the planet.

“By systematically disrupting environmental criminal networks, Customs contributes to preserving biodiversity,” said WCO Secretary General Dr. Kunio Mikuriya. “Indeed, Customs is the first point of entry and the last point of exit, making it a critical player in law enforcement efforts to combat environmental crimes,” he added.

The WCO is continually supporting its Members and its network of Regional Intelligence Liaison Offices (RILOs) in their enforcement efforts by delivering trainings, regularly updating its training materials, and ensuring that Customs stay alert to any events that could have a negative impact on the environment.

Through its Environment Programme, the WCO supports and guides its Members in tackling all forms of trade-related environmental crimes, including the illegal wildlife and timber trade, illicit shipments of waste and chemicals, as well as illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.  Given its responsibility for tackling such a wide range of issues, Customs’ efforts to secure global supply chains will continue to be strengthened.