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Rhino News : Action sought on trade in rare species
Action sought on trade in rare species
|| By James Lamont
Published: August 27 2002 21:07 | Last Updated: August 27 2002 21:07
Stronger commitments to curb international environmental crime are likely to
emerge at the summit this week - a rare issue on which delegates can find
In spite of a multitude of inter-governmental agreements, the trade in rare plants
and animals is growing fast, environmental groups said on Tuesday.
The smuggling of endangered plants and animals, illegal fishing, logging, mining
and toxic waste dumping is estimated at $31bn a year. Trade in endangered
species amounts to $10bn a year; while illegal fishing for products such as caviar
and abalone totals $5bn a year. The bones of an adult tiger fetch $3,300 on the
Under the biodiversity sector of the UN summit, governments and non-
governmental organisations are seeking stronger enforcement of legal
frameworks to stop the trade, which sources much of its wares in Africa and
South America. Environmentalists and the UN Environment Programme are
concerned that in spite of some 500 regional treaties and conventions few
governments are enforcing them tightly.
"Environmental crime has been such a lucrative proposition. It's so easy to
operate in countries with no environmental laws or protection," said FranÁois
Joubert, managing director of EnviroLaw Solutions, an environmental law group.
"There is no need for new policies, conventions and treaties. The problem is that
only a handful of them are being implemented."
Environmental groups argue that the UN Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species signed by 140 countries, is failing to protect endangered
species. They say corruption in rich and poor countries is being exploited by
criminal gangs based in Italy, Russia, China and Japan.
"Smuggling is not done by someone walking along a beach and picking
up an abalone. It's done by well -organised and well-financed syndicates.
They have linkages into governments at a domestic level," said Mr