BACKGROUND NOTE. 1. Introduction

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1 BACKGROUND NOTE 1. Introduction The international conference Save Wildlife: Act Now or Game Over will take place in The Hague from 1 3 March The Ministry of Economic Affairs of the Netherlands is hosting the conference, which is being organised together with its partners, The Hague Institute for Global Justice and The Prince of Wales s International Sustainability Unit, in close cooperation with the European Commission. The conference will bring together a broad range of stakeholders from governments, international organisations, and the private sector to translate the knowledge accumulated through research, policy and practice into concrete and effective action to conserve wildlife. The conference will build on the London and Kasane Conferences on the illegal wildlife trade, and set the stage for the Hanoi Conference, due to take place later in The conference will place particular emphasis on facilitating sustainable livelihoods and economic development and on strengthening law enforcement. Participants will join in working groups dedicated to identifying good practices, with the goal of striking wildlife deals : concrete, cross-sectorial deals by different configurations of stakeholders which will have a direct impact and which represent creative, shared commitments. The deals will seek to reinforce and prompt real action in several areas including tourism, anti-corruption, technology, transportation, finance, and demand reduction. The final day of the conference which coincides with the United Nations World Wildlife Day (3 March) will be devoted to a high-level meeting on translating the existing political awareness into concrete action. Inspirational global leaders will be asked to critique and endorse the wildlife deals reached by the working groups, thereby generating momentum for improving and implementing them. Meeting participants will also exchange views on the European Union s Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking. 2. Rationale The illegal trade in wildlife products is estimated to be worth billions, and is one of the most profitable transnational criminal activities globally. Despite efforts to protect wildlife from illegal trade at the local, national, regional, and international levels, several iconic species remain endangered. The international community has taken a number of significant steps to counter such trends. In 2014, the Government of the United Kingdom hosted the London Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade, which brought together global leaders to improve the conservation of iconic species from the

2 threat of poaching and illegal trade. The resulting London Declaration focused primarily on strengthening law enforcement and the criminal justice system, reducing demand for illegal wildlife products, and supporting the development of sustainable livelihoods for communities affected by the illegal wildlife trade. The London Conference was followed by the Kasane Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade in March 2015, hosted by the Government of Botswana. This conference sought to review the progress made with regard to implementing the London Declaration. The Kasane Progress Report stressed the need to eradicate the market for illegal wildlife products, ensure effective legal frameworks and deterrents, strengthen law enforcement, and facilitate sustainable livelihoods and economic development. During the Kasane Conference, the Government of Vietnam offered to host a third high-level international conference in late 2016, which will review progress on the Kasane Statement and further strengthen action against the illegal wildlife trade. The London and Kasane Conferences also underscored the importance of international agreements on this issue, including the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which seeks to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. Additionally, in July 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 69/314, which aims to tackle illicit trafficking in wildlife. The problem as connected to threat financing was further recognised by UN Security Council Resolutions 2134 and 2136 (2014), which targeted armed groups. The conference in The Hague will build on these efforts and contribute to broader policy initiatives, such as the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. The conference will also lend support to tailor-made wildlife deals at the national and regional level to combat wildlife trafficking. At the national level, a number of countries have already developed national action plans. President Obama adopted a national strategy in February 2014, while China announced a programme of actions to be taken against wildlife trafficking in May A large number of countries in Africa are adopting or have adopted national action plans. At the regional level, the African Union is developing a continent-wide strategy against wildlife trafficking as a result of the International Conference on Illegal Exploitation and Illicit Trade in Wild Flora and Fauna in Africa, held in Brazzaville, Congo, in April Similarly, in August 2015, the European Union published a Roadmap relating to the development of an EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking. The Hague Conference recognises and seeks to further the aims set out in these plans.

3 3. About The Hague Conference 3.1 What makes this conference unique? The Hague Conference seeks to bring together a broad range of stakeholders to design and implement innovative measures to conserve wildlife as a matter of urgency. It will combine high-level plenary discussions with working group sessions in order to take stock of the progress achieved in wildlife conservation, and to agree on concrete, actionable measures to protect wildlife now. Participants will have the opportunity to join in working groups to forge connections and build multi-stakeholder networks to implement new initiatives, i.e. wildlife deals. 3.2 What are the main objectives of the conference? The conference will build on previous international efforts and help set the stage for the wildlife conference in Hanoi, Vietnam, later in The objectives for the conference in The Hague are to: Reinforce political commitments and coordination with regard to the design and implementation of effective measures that can conserve wildlife and prevent and combat the drivers of the illegal wildlife trade; Provide a platform to discuss and agree on concrete actions, i.e. wildlife deals, to be implemented by different configurations of stakeholders; Promote wildlife deals as a concept that takes declarations and resolutions a step further, translating them into actions; and Exchange views on the EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking, which will be presented during a high-level meeting at the conference. 3.3 What are the main themes of the conference? The conference will focus on two themes: sustainable livelihoods and economic development, and on strengthening law enforcement. Sustainable livelihoods and economic development The challenges to the survival of wildlife are multifaceted. Apart from exacerbating environmental degradation, the illegal trade in wildlife adversely affects indigenous groups and vulnerable communities that depend on natural resources for their livelihoods. At the same time, local hunters

4 and subsistence farmers often rely on the trade of wildlife products for survival. The plurality of actors and interests involved indicates that there is a need for generating awareness, creating alternative and durable sources of income, and facilitating economic development in order to conserve wildlife. Facilitating sustainable livelihoods and economic development prevents targeting vulnerable actors disproportionately and addresses the root causes of the problem. Engaging and encouraging local communities to find sustainable solutions for wildlife conservation is therefore an essential component of a comprehensive response to the challenge of protecting wildlife from illegal trade. Strengthening law enforcement International legal frameworks intended to tackle wildlife trafficking have been implemented with varying degrees of success. A comprehensive approach to addressing wildlife trafficking that will both conserve wildlife and prevent impunity for prime offenders requires measures to prevent and combat the criminal aspects of the wildlife trade using the triad of criminal law, environmental law and trade law. This will require a strong and coordinated enforcement response at the site, community, national and international levels, and in source, transit and destination countries, using the full capacity of institutions and all available tools and techniques. Efforts must start early in the criminal justice chain, by focusing on innovative investigative technologies and forensic techniques, as well as by building the local capacity necessary to make effective use of these methods. Finally, there is a need to enforce measures to counter corruption and money-laundering, which are conducive factors in illegal wildlife trafficking. In addition to these two themes, The Hague Conference will also emphasise the EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking. EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking Over the last decade, the EU has made important strides in the fight against the illegal wildlife trade, both in its own region and globally. The design of an EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking is intended to increase the effectiveness of EU policy and actions against wildlife trafficking by ensuring political commitment among EU Member States and by creating greater coherence among existing measures. The EU Action Plan seeks to establish a framework and provide strategic guidance for a range of actions that must be developed to ensure effective responses that address the key challenges that wildlife trafficking poses to human and environmental security.

5 3.4 How will the conference be structured? Each of the three days of the conference has a specific focus and particular objectives: Day One: Drivers The opening day of the conference will be dedicated to taking stock of past efforts and identifying priorities for future action. The drivers of wildlife crime will be explored in preparation for developing appropriate responses during the working group sessions on the second day of the conference. Particular attention will be paid to drivers that hamper economic development and stability, as well as law enforcement. Day Two: Responses The second day will focus on reaching agreements, or wildlife deals, regarding concrete, actionable measures that seek to ensure wildlife conservation and prevent and combat wildlife crime. A wide range of stakeholders will come together in five working groups that will endeavour to conclude agreements and engage the private sector. Representatives from the transport sector will kick off the day by introducing their efforts. Subsequently, two separate working groups will discuss two different sectors that are pivotal in the fight against wildlife crime. The first is the tourism sector, which will be examined with regard to tourism s potential in advancing inclusive growth and the threat wildlife crime poses to the further development this sector. The second working group will focus on the financial sector, since the private sector can play an important role in detecting money laundering activities and other financial crimes in connection with the illegal wildlife trade. In addition to working groups on private sector involvement, another working group will focus on new technologies. During this session, new ground-breaking technologies will be presented that offer new possibilities for preventing wildlife crime and prosecuting offenders. Lastly, two working groups will focus on anti-corruption and demand-reduction measures. The illicit wildlife trade has become one of the most lucrative transnational crimes, and corruption is often an integral component. One of the working groups will address the insidious link between wildlife crime and corruption. The focus of the final working group will be demand reduction, since it is primarily demand that fuels illegal poaching and trafficking activities. This working group will discuss demand for wildlife products within the European Union and explore what the European Union can do to reduce demand, while learning from experiences with demand reduction measures in other parts of the world.

6 Day Three: Action The third and final day will be devoted to discussing the outcomes of the previous days, identifying key challenges and committing to concrete actions. Participants will present their wildlife deals for feedback and political endorsement. Additionally, the European Commission will present its EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking. The conference will conclude in the afternoon with a plenary closing session open to all participants. 4. Conference logistics Registration Selected Ministries and organizations will receive an official invitation with a personal registration number. Please use this number to register at the website. If you haven t received the invitation by 30 January 2016, please contact us. Transportation The conference will take place from 1 3 March 2016, mainly at the Kurhaus Hotel in The Hague. The other venues are nearby and transportation will be offered. Information and contact For more information, please visit our conference website at In preparation and during the conference you can follow us on For any of your queries, please contact us through

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