United for Wildlife Taskforces

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Tackling the trafficking of wildlife products

The private sector can become involved unwittingly with those who traffic wildlife products – these include ivory, rhino horn and pangolin scales. Illegal wildlife trade is among the five most lucrative global crimes and is often run by highly organised criminal networks. Although such networks are difficult to detect and even more difficult to deter, combining forces with the private sector is crucial for us to be able to stop the trafficking of wildlife products.

By forming partnerships with businesses, we are bringing new voices to the conservation discussion to identify and implement solutions.

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United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce

In 2014, Prince William announced the formation of the United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce to engage the transport sector in identifying and developing relevant and targeted solutions to wildlife trafficking. The Taskforce brings together stakeholders including airports, shipping companies and airlines with law enforcement and other agencies to identify and facilitate action led by the private sector.

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Buckingham Palace Declaration

The Transport Taskforce developed the Buckingham Palace Declaration which was launched in March 2016. The Declaration outlines 11 commitments which help the transport industry in guiding a response to the challenge presented by illegal wildlife trade – detailing actions across a number of areas including increasing awareness, reporting and enforcement. Now signed by over 100 transport sector companies from across the globe, the Taskforce is taking steps every day to help stop the trafficking of wildlife products.

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United for Wildlife Financial Taskforce

Worldwide, for every illegal wildlife product sold, money changes hands – whether in domestic pet stores, on online marketplaces or under the eyes of corrupt officials. Financial institutions have a crucial role to play in the fight against illegal wildlife trade by using existing systems in place to look for money laundering and payments for illegal goods. This is why the Financial Taskforce was formed.

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Mansion House Declaration

The Financial Taskforce met in October 2018, convened by Prince William and Lord Hague of Richmond, with 30 institutions signing the Mansion House Declaration. The Declaration lays out six commitments, including the dedication to share resources and intelligence in a bid to disrupt the illegal income generated by wildlife trafficking. Supported by technical experts including RUSI and TRAFFIC, along with a Secretariat at The Royal Foundation, the Taskforce has been working to support actions that the financial sector can take to combat illegal wildlife trade.

Our impact

Since the formation of the Taskforces, they have grown from 12 private sector companies to over 250, representing large proportions of the global shipping, airline, and financial industries. The Taskforces have supported over 280 law investigations, contributed to 120 trafficker arrests and played a key role in disrupting a major international ivory, rhino horn and heroin syndicate in East Africa. 

The Taskforces have now entered a new period of focused activity with the intent of making it impossible to use private sector infrastructure to facilitate the financing and transportation of IWT products with impunity. This three-year plan includes expanding Taskforce membership, developing central resources and expertise to counter IWT, embedding the IWT into members training, systems and processes and pushing for greater focus on IWT across the ecosystem. 

“We must all act – united and with great urgency – because defeating the illegal wildlife trade is not just a pressing challenge for conservationists, but a fundamental test of humanity’s resolve to save the Earth.”

– Prince William and Lord Hague of Richmond

To find out more visit the United for Wildlife website

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