How does the United Nations respond to illegal wildlife poaching and trafficking?
Last Updated: May 21, 2019     Views: 23948

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is the lead department working on issues related to wildlife and forest crime.

In 2010, UNODC and 4 other international bodies formed an International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime to bring together the expertise of each agency to support countries combating these crimes. The other organizations are: 

  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Secretariat 
    • CITES is an international agreement that aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
    • The CITES Secretariat is administered by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)
  • International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL)
  • World Bank
  • World Customs Organization (WCO) 

UN General Assembly and wildlife

General Assembly resolutions on the topic include: 

  • General Assembly resolution 69/314Tackling illicit trafficking in wildlife, adopted 30 July 2015
  • General Assembly resolution 68/205, proclaiming 3 March as World Wildlife Day, adopted 20 December 2013

High-Level Special Events:

During the 68th and 69th sessions of the General Assembly, Gabon and Germany coordinated high-level side events on Poaching and Illicit Wildlife Trafficking:

  • 26 September 2014: Poaching and Illicit Wildlife Trafficking: Towards Joint Action by the International Community (A/69/430)
  • 26 September 2013: Poaching and Illicit Wildlife Trafficking: A Multidimensional Crime and a Growing Challenge to the International Community (A/68/553)

In addition, a high-level side event was held at the 13th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, held in Doha from 12 to 19 April 2015 (A/CONF.222/17).

  • 13 April 2015: Wildlife and Forest Crime: A Serious Crime

UN Programmes and Funds and wildlife

Several UN programmes and offices have focused on the problem of wildlife poaching and trafficking including: 

  • UN Development Programme (UNDP): Combating Poaching and Wildlife Trafficking
  • UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA):  Illegal Trade in Wildlife
    • UNEA held its first session from 23 to 27 June 2014 (A/69/25)
    • 26 June 2014: Ministerial dialogue on Illegal Trade in Wildlife
  • UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC): Wildlife and Forest Crime

Selected UN Publications

UN documents and publications on illicit trade and wildlife can be found by searching the UN Digital Library. Relevant subject terms: wildlife, wildlife conservation, illicit traffic.

  • UNEP Perspectives: Illicit Wildlife Trafficking: An Environmental, Economic and Issue - This publication series will present views from Major Groups and Stakeholders of Civil Society on global environmental issues and themes that are relevant to them and UNEP.
  • UN Chronicle: Illegal Wildlife Trade - This issue takes a closer look at poaching and illegal wildlife trade, with a focus on causes and possible solutions.

May 21, 2019     23948


Disclaimer: answers are prepared by library staff using resources available at the time of writing. This site may include links and references to third-party databases, websites, books and articles, this does not imply endorsement by the United Nations.


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