Implementing international efforts to combat the sale of illegal wildlife products online

Between 7 and 21 October 2020, IUCN Members voted electronically on 109 motions, including 15 with amendments. The results are available below.

Following the postponement of the IUCN World Conservation Congress, the Council decided to submit nine governance motions to an electronic vote to take place in early 2021. In order to prepare for the vote, these motions will be sent to an online discussion running 22 October-3 December 2020.

One of the most important outcomes of the voting was Motion 050 titled “Implementing international efforts to combat the sale of illegal wildlife products online”.

The motion stated the following:

DEEPLY CONCERNED by the severe threat that wildlife trafficking poses to the survival of protected species, local communities and the rule of law;

AWARE that the relative anonymity of internet commerce and its ease of use allow a range of illegal wildlife and wildlife products to be trafficked to a wider market than ever before;

RECOGNISING IUCN’s efforts to address environmental and conservation crimes and protect the most frequently trafficked species;

RECALLING Resolution 6.070 Crimes against the environment (Hawai‘i, 2016), which, inter alia, encourages collaboration amongst relevant actors to examine and provide legal and policy expertise to respond to environmental crimes;

FURTHER RECALLING Resolution 6.076 Improving the means to fight environmental crime (Hawai‘i, 2016), which, inter alia, calls for the strengthening of environmental criminal laws;

WELCOMING steps taken to address wildlife crime linked to the internet by Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES);

FURTHER WELCOMING efforts to combat cyber-enabled wildlife trafficking including the Global Action on Cybercrime Extended (GLACY)+, Global Wildlife Cybercrime Action Plan, the first cross-sector partnership of enforcers, NGOs and academics linking policy and private sector initiatives, and the Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online, which includes more than 30 of the world’s leading online technology companies;

NOTING the value of the Convention on Cybercrime in assisting countries to develop national legislation, and as a framework for international cooperation between State actors;

ALSO NOTING increased public awareness and public reporting channels, and that a freer exchange of information, expertise and best practices among interested parties would improve the detection, disruption and deterrence of cyber-enabled wildlife trafficking;

RECOGNISING that law enforcement is strengthened when witnesses to crime are encouraged, financially and otherwise, to provide information (‘blow the whistle’) through appropriate mechanisms to prosecutors and other law enforcement as appropriate, and are protected from retaliation when they do so;

NOTING with concern that the authorities of many countries concerned do not encourage and protect whistleblowers and therefore regularly miss opportunities to identify and prosecute wildlife trafficking;

APPLAUDING steps taken already by some governments to address cyber-enabled wildlife trafficking, including by amending legislation, enhancing enforcement capacity and engaging private, academic and non-government sectors; and

NOTING that the growth of online marketplaces for illicit goods makes the current period a critical juncture in time;

The IUCN World Conservation Congress 2020, at its session in Marseille, France:

1. REQUESTS the Director General, in collaboration with the Commissions, to facilitate efforts to reduce and eliminate cyber-enabled wildlife trafficking by:

a. assisting IUCN Members to convene a cross-sector workshop to review progress and best practices in tackling cyber-enabled wildlife trafficking;

b. reviewing examples of national legislation addressing cyber-enabled wildlife trafficking and making recommendations on best practices; and

c. contributing to awareness-raising efforts about cyber-enabled wildlife trafficking;

2. ENCOURAGES governments, intergovernmental organisations and other relevant IUCN Members and stakeholders, as appropriate, to implement measures outlined in the Global Wildlife Cybercrime Action Plan and INTERPOL’s Guidelines on Wildlife Crime Linked to the Internet;

3. RECOMMENDS that governments adopt best-practice enforcement models and utilise INTERPOL’s Guidelines on Wildlife Crime Linked to the Internet;

4. CALLS ON governments to:

a. strengthen legislation to address cyber-enabled wildlife trafficking ​​​​​​where appropriate;

b. collaborate across departments and sectors, and with other countries, to enhance the detection, investigation and disruption of cyber-enabled wildlife trafficking;

c. actively encourage, protect and otherwise support whistleblowers who are willing and able to provide information for the prosecution of wildlife trafficking;

d. encourage technology companies to improve efforts to tackle cyber-enabled wildlife trafficking; and ​​

e. raise awareness of their citizens concerning wildlife trade-related regulations and the requirements pertaining to them;

5. ENCOURAGES governments, international funding mechanisms and IUCN Members to increase resources available to tackle cyber-enabled wildlife trafficking; ​and

6. FURTHER ENCOURAGES Parties to the Convention on Cybercrime which have not yet ratified the Convention, and states which have not yet become Party to the Convention, to consider doing so;

7. ENCOURAGES members engaged in other forums addressing broader cybercrime issues, such as the Convention on Cybercrime and GLACY+, to consider how measures under those forums could be applied to tackling cyber-enabled wildlife trafficking; and

8. ASKS non-governmental organisation (NGO) Members to monitor and report cyber-enabled wildlife trafficking​​​​​​​ to companies and enforcement agencies, and to raise awareness of this threat with their supporters.

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