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Summaries of EU Legislation

Wildlife trafficking — EU action plan

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Wildlife trafficking — EU action plan

SUMMARY OF:

European Commission communication (COM(2016) 87 final) — EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking

SUMMARY

WHAT DOES THIS COMMUNICATION DO?

  • It sets out a blueprint to fight against wildlife trafficking (i.e. the illegal gathering, transportation and distribution of animals and their derivatives) both in the EU and at global level.
  • It seeks to mobilise all the EU’s diplomatic, trade and development cooperation channels to bring a stop to what is now one of the most profitable criminal activities worldwide.

KEY POINTS

The action plan comprises 32 measures to be carried out between 2016 and 2020 by the EU, which will be carried out by each of the 28 EU countries. It focuses on 3 key aspects:

  • 1.

    Preventing trafficking and reducing supply and demand of illegal wildlife products. For example:

    • the European Commission is to issue guidelines aiming to suspend the export of old ivory items from the EU. EU countries, in turn, will only issue intra-EU trade certificates for ancient ivory items on the basis of the criteria defined in the guidelines;
    • the Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy will ensure that references to wildlife trafficking are included in EU policy and tools against corruption (in particular as part of dialogues with key non-EU countries that receive EU budgetary support).
  • 2.

    Better implementation of existing rules and combating organised crime more effectively. For example:

    • the Commission, Europol and Eurojust will seek to improve cooperation among EU countries on cases of cross-border wildlife trafficking;
    • the Commission, the High Representative and EU countries will support capacity building for law enforcement in key source and market countries, including enforcement within protected sites.
  • 3.

    Strengthening cooperation between source, destination and transit countries. For example:

    • the Commission and the High Representative will seek to provide increased, more effective and more strategically focused support to developing countries to tackle trafficking;
    • along with EU countries, the Commission and the High Representative will step up dialogue with key source, transit and market countries, including with local rural communities, civil society and the private sector.

BACKGROUND

Wildlife trafficking is one of the most profitable criminal activities worldwide. It has serious effects on biodiversity and a negative impact on the rule of law due to its close links with corruption. It plays an increasing role in financing militia and terrorist groups.

The EU is a destination, source and a transit region for wildlife trafficking. On all these counts, it has a pivotal role to play in eradicating this illegal trade.

For more information, see ‘The EU Approach to Combat Wildlife Trafficking’ on the European Commission’s website.

ACT

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions — EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking (COM(2016) 87 final of 26.2.2016)

RELATED ACTS

Commission Staff Working Document: Analysis and evidence in support of the EU action plan against wildlife trafficking accompanying the document Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions — EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking (SWD(2016) 38 final of 26.2.2016)

Strengthening cooperation with business sectors against illegal trade in wildlife — Final Report. Report for EC DG Environment, 13 November 2015.

last update 02.05.2016

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