Wildlife Crime and Arms Control
October 24, 2016

Control Arms and Zambia hosted an informal lunch at First Committee to discuss new research and present a paper on how the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) offers opportunities to the address the violent nexus between wildlife crime and illicit arms trafficking. The report was well received by representatives of African states that have been affected by wildlife crime, highlighting the importance of the issue and the willingness to cooperate and use existing provisions to address it in a creative way.

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A family of white rhinos at Lake Nakuru, Kenya, June 2016

Recent years have seen an unprecedented rate of wildlife crime and poaching activities specifically the slaughter of large mammals. more than 100, 000 elephants have been killed by poachers in the past five years and the number of rhinos poached has increased every year for the past six years. For this reason, it is imperative to use the existing legislation and international provisions in order to address these issues and challenges.

The report offers specific advice to policymakers and advocates about how to use the ATT framework to assess and mitigate the risks of arms being diverted to poaching networks. Additionally, the report also presents the negative impacts that the militarization of wildlife protection and anti-poaching efforts can have on local communities due to the the increased presence of arms. In many places, there has been an arms race between wildlife services and poachers, resulting in disturbing effects on human rights.

Advocating international and specifically regional cooperation, the report also encourages universalisation and rigorous implementation of the ATT as well as other relevant instruments of wildlife protection such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), in particular in states facing wildlife crime and poaching. It is also intended to encourage the nascent conversation between the arms control and conservation communities by outlining the many opportunities for collaboration and mutual learning on mitigating two overlapping illicit markets. Lunch was provided by the UK Mission.

Read the paper by Matthew Bolton here.