UK invites Myanmar’s cooperation in fighting illegal wildlife trade

YANGON—The UK government has invited the Myanmar government to attend an international conference on the illegal wildlife trade to be held in London in February.

“The UK hopes that H.E. President Thein Sein’s government will be represented in London,” the British Embassy said today.

The conference, to be hosted by British Prime Minister David Cameron in the presence of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, is aimed at gathering the UK’s international partners to spur action to combat this growing threat. The conference will address three inter-related aspects of the illegal wildlife trade: supporting the development of sustainable livelihoods for communities affected by the trade; improving law enforcement and the role of the criminal justice system; and reducing demand for wildlife products.

“The illegal wildlife trade is a multi-billion pound activity which promotes corruption, damages tourism opportunities and undermines economic growth in some of the world’s poorest countries. Heavily armed poachers and organised criminal networks are destroying some of the world’s most iconic species and posing a threat to security in rural communities,” the British Embassy said in a statement.

The UK government has announced a £10-million (Ks 16.12-billion) funded package to support efforts to tackle the illegal trade in wildlife products, including rhino horn and elephant ivory. Funding will be awarded to support action in developing countries, including efforts to reduce the opportunity and incentive for poaching by improving economic opportunities and promoting security and good governance; providing training and access to better equipment and practical support to agencies in their efforts to address the illegal trade; and reducing demand for illegal wildlife and animal products such as elephant ivory, rhino horn, and tiger parts by raising awareness of the impacts and economic losses caused by crime against wildlife.

The UK’s International Development Secretary Justine Greening stated that the government has been helping to improve the economic opportunities of the poorest people whose livelihoods depend on natural resources by working with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to tackle the illegal wildlife trade.

“The Department for International Development carries out significant work tackling corruption and illicit flows from developing countries, and this fund will also help stop the corruption fuelled by the illegal wildlife trade,” she said.

The UK’s Environment Secretary Owen Paterson mentioned that poaching devastated livelihoods and sustainable communities as well as endangering the existence of these wonderful animals. He called for cooperation with other countries to stamp it out by stopping demand, improving enforcement and helping communities to develop sustainable economic activity.

“The wildlife in areas where this is already being done becomes a valued and protected community asset so both the wildlife and the community benefit,” he said.

The fund will be available to address the illegal wildlife trade in the most affected developing countries, either because they have threatened populations of animals or a strong demand for illegal wildlife products. Transit countries, through which the trade in wildlife occurs, will also be eligible. The fund will be available to governments, charities and NGOs.

Source: ELEVEN Myanamar

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