Illegal wildlife trade that has seen an increase in the last several years has thrashed the social and economic development of countries with serious negative implications on the society.
This has been stated in a new report of the World Wildlife Fund. The report “Fighting Illicit Wildlife Trafficking; A consultation with governments” said that the representatives of governments and international organizations who participated in their study saw illicit wildlife trafficking as having far reaching implications for society.
The report said that illicit wildlife trafficking threatened;
- National and international security, through its links with organized crime, money laundering and drug trafficking
- The social and economic development of countries that are known to have weak state capacity, poor law enforcement, rife corruption and porous borders
- The environment, including the potential loss of biodiversity and the introduction of invasive species
- Global health, through transmission of disease – for example, through illegal bush meat trade.
The report said that one of the direct impacts of illicit wildlife trafficking on social and economic development of a country was the immediate and irreversible depletion of valuable assets. A government representative was quoted in the report as saying that the government did not receive any tax or revenue to support the economic activities and the country lost a lot of resources. The second thing related to social and economic development of a country is that corruption was associated with illicit wildlife trafficking.
Most of the officials who talked to the authors of the report said that corruption was a grave concern as it had a direct impact on the wealth of a country. “Corruption weakens macroeconomic and fiscal stability, deters investment and hinders growth. It reduces the effectiveness of government, deters civil engagement and distorts public expenditure decisions. It erodes the rule of law and harms the reputation of and trust in the state. In short, corruption increases wealth for a few at the expense of society,” the report said.
Moreover, the illegal trade hindered the development of legitimate businesses such as tourism, which resulted in loss of revenue
The report also says that INTERPOL and the UNODC’s Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice had agreed that illegal wildlife trade had increased the involvement of organized crime syndicates and rebel groups in wildlife crime to fund their activities and purchase weapons has increased.
During its years of war with Northern Sudan, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army is alleged to have poached elephants “with grenades and propelled grenades”. Sudanese militias are reported to have engaged in the poaching of ivory for profit in Chad, Kenya and other places.
The report said that ongoing armed conflicts and illicit wildlife trafficking was almost interlinked in Africa. Wildlife trafficking was often used to finance terrorist activities and launder money from other illegal trafficking activities, the report6 said.