A speech by The Duke of Cambridge at a United for Wildlife Joint Taskforce meeting
Thank you William.
When we embarked on this work, bringing the private sector together with law enforcement, governments and NGOs, our collective ambition was to build something that would significantly disrupt the illegal wildlife trade.
Three years ago, we started with just 12 members from the transport sector. Today there are more than 150 members across the transport and finance sectors; a transportation taskforce that spans the globe; and a financial taskforce that has quickly followed suit.
Together, taskforce members have trained over fifty-five-thousand industry employees. And you have raised awareness of wildlife crime by painting our message on planes and helping campaigns around the world.
You have supported 52 law investigations, 10 trafficker arrests and played a part in seizing half-a-million dollars’ worth of illegal animal products.
Today has been incredibly reaffirming.
Hearing from people like Krissie, the two Davids, Tim and Allan has shown that we’re on the right path.
It has taken a lot of hard work – and real commitment – to get to the point where you are all sitting here together today.
And we should all feel proud that we’re starting to see an impact.
But it’s just that. The start.
For although we have made progress, we are barely scratching the surface of what we can achieve. So let today be a catalyst for our renewed ambition.
The scale of what we are dealing with remains deeply worrying. In the last four months there have been nine significant seizures in South East Asian countries alone involving tonnes of pangolin scales, rhino horns and ivory.
We should count all of these seizures as successes in the fight against this crime. But for every container that is intercepted, or every suspicious payment that is flagged, hundreds more go undetected.
And when containers are found, too often the real perpetrators slip away. It is only through continued, committed partnership between transport companies, the financial sector, and law enforcement – who I know are represented in the room today – that we will bring these criminals to justice through successful prosecutions.
You are all experts in your field. You have the knowledge and tools to do something about this problem. And you are here collectively because you also believe in your organisation’s power to make a difference.
I have stood at meetings like this many times over the years, where we have all discussed how important we think it is to end the illegal wildlife trade, and all shared our fears for the future.
But we must, we must ensure these words become action. We must start to see the people behind this evil crime behind bars.
So let’s make moments like today count.
When we all meet again, I look forward to hearing about even more progress.
It is possible – we all know this. It just takes sustained effort, focus and collaboration.