KASANE, BOTSWANA: The Kasane Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade concluded in Botswana today with the adoption of a statement which galvanises the high-level political commitment to combat the “scourge of illegal wildlife trade”.

Building on the London Declaration on Illegal Wildlife Trade of February 2014, the Kasane Statement recognises the efforts made to date by participating governments to work towards implementation of the commitments under the London Declaration – but stresses that much more still needs to be done.

Particular gaps highlighted include:

• making greater efforts to reduce demand;

• strengthening legislation in relation to penalties and following the money associated with wildlife crime;

• increasing resources and capacity along the length of the criminal justice chain;

• supporting networks of prosecutors;

• better engaging local communities.

The governments meeting in Kasane have called upon the UN General Assembly to address illegal wildlife trade at its 69th session in September and to support the preparation of an ambitious resolution for that meeting.

They welcomed the offer by Vietnam to host the third high-level conference on illegal wildlife trade in late 2016 

In his intervention, the President of the Republic of Botswana drew attention to how criminal syndicates make use of legitimate trade to launder illegally acquired products, while the President of the Republic of Gabon noted that legal markets for ivory increase poaching pressure across THE forests and savannahs where elephants are not the only victims, but also rangers and their families.

Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) Executive Director Mary Rice, who addressed the conference, was encouraged by the growing articulation of concern at how legal markets stimulate demand, which in turn drives poaching.

“We are encouraged by the determination expressed to pursue implementation of historical commitments to combat wildlife crime, including commitments under CITES and the London Declaration,” she said.

“The Kasane Statement illustrates just how far we still have to go and we look forward to seeing tangible evidence of enhanced efforts; in particular, efforts to manage criminal information for the purposes of disrupting wildlife crime networks, increased access to court judgements for the purpose of analysing reasons for acquittals and rationale for weak sentencing, and an end to domestic markets for ivory and tiger parts.”




1. The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) is a UK- and Washington DC-based Non-Governmental Organisation that investigates and campaigns against a wide range of environmental crimes, including illegal wildlife trade, illegal logging, hazardous waste, and trade in climate and ozone-altering chemicals.

2. EIA prepared a new briefing, High Profit/Low Risk: Reversing the wildlife crime equation, for the Kasane conference. It can be viewed and downloaded at http://eia-international.org/reports/high-profitlow-risk-reversing-the-wildlife-crime-equation.

Environmental Investigation Agency
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London N1 0NY
Tel: +44 207 354 7960



Governments maintain global momentum to curb wildlife crime at Kasane Conference

Kasane, Botswana 25 March, 2015 – Today’s conference in Kasane reaffirmed the determination of Heads of State, ministers and officials from 31 governments to scale up their response to the global poaching crisis, and adopted crucial new measures to help tackle the unprecedented surge in illegal wildlife trade.

During the one-day meeting, governments reported on their progress since the London Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade in February last year, where 41 countries and the EU agreed to take urgent and decisive action to combat wildlife crime.

Today’s conference ended with the agreement of the Kasane Statement, which builds upon the London Declaration that set out actions to eradicate the market for wildlife products, ensure effective legal frameworks and deterrents against wildlife crime, strengthen law enforcement, and support sustainable livelihoods. 

The conference highlighted key successes in the past year including increased levels of law enforcement action, especially in Africa, which have led to a rise in ivory seizures. Some countries have also started to improve their domestic wildlife-related legislation. Last month, 13 tiger range countries in Asia committed to a zero poaching framework and toolkit, which could be used as a blueprint for curbing poaching worldwide.

Heather Sohl, Chief Species Advisor at WWF-UK said: “Governments attending this conference have demonstrated some progress in the implementation of the London Declaration. However, we need to see an upscaling of resources and action to tackle this illegal trade at a level commensurate to the serious crime that it is.  Effective strategies need to be implemented to increase the effort and risk for poachers and traffickers, whilst also reducing their rewards.”

The Kasane Statement calls for the engagement of relevant community groups and the appropriate retention of benefits from wildlife resources by local people. Participants also agreed to engage further with the private sector, including logistics and transport companies, which are uniquely placed to stem the flow of illicit wildlife products but often find themselves an inadvertent vector for wildlife trafficking.

Countries adopted a number of additional measures, including focusing on tackling money laundering and other financial aspects of wildlife crime.

At the consumer end of the trade chain, extra impetus will be injected into understanding the motivations and behaviour of users of illegal wildlife products.

Steven Broad, Executive Director of TRAFFIC said: “World governments demonstrated here in Kasane how they are turning the commitments in the London Declaration into tangible actions on the ground and strengthening their resolve to see the job through.

“The commitment to follow the money is a huge, innovative step that provides a mechanism to bring down the trafficking kingpins by hitting them where it hurts – in their pockets. It should also help to stamp out the corruption that so often undermines enforcement actions.”

Carlos Drews, WWF Director Global Species Programme said:  “The Kasane Statement provides important backing for an ambitious United Nations General Assembly resolution on wildlife crime, which would raise the stakes even higher and encourage a more concerted global drive against transnational organized crime.” 

A strong UNGA resolution would be the ideal mechanism to monitor and report on the implementation of the commitments made in London and Kasane, which will be vital to the long-term success of global efforts to reduce the illegal wildlife trade.


London Declaration on the Illegal Wildlife Trade: Review of Progress: The report is available on the UK government website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/declaration-london-conference-on-the-illegal-wildlife-trade

The following 31 countries participated at the Kasane Conference: Angola, Austria, Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Botswana, Cameroon, Canada, China, Colombia, Ethiopia, France, Gabon, Germany, Japan, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Netherlands, South Africa, Switzerland, Tanzania, UAE, Uganda, UK, USA, Vietnam, Zambia and Zimbabwe

About WWF

WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries.  WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. panda.org/news for latest news and media resources


TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, is the leading non-governmental organization working globally on trade in wild animals and plants in the context of both biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. TRAFFIC is a strategic alliance of WWF and IUCN

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