Thank you so much Angela for the warm introduction. And thank you to UNODC for organizing this event.

It’s important for governments, NGOs, academia, and other relevant stakeholders to come together and discuss ways we can support a holistic approach to combatting illegal wildlife trafficking.

We can all agree that nature is facing threats from numerous sources. Some of the most severe threats, with the widest range of impacts are nature crimes – criminal forms of logging, mining, wildlife trade, as well as crimes associated with fishing.

Today, we are discussing wildlife trafficking, which undermines the rule of law, fuels corruption, drives species to the brink of extinction, and spreads zoonotic disease. As with other forms of transnational organized crime, wildlife trafficking does not respect national borders.

That means we must work together to identify who participates, where poaching occurs, where the transit routes reside, and where are the demand centers for the illegal wildlife and wildlife products.

We also know that wildlife trafficking and nature crimes often take place in conjunction with other illegal and criminal activities.

The United States firmly believes that accurate data and robust evidence-gathering are all essential to assess and understand the global scope of wildlife crime.

Better data can inform better policy approaches to tackling this challenge.

To that end, we are proud to support UNODC’s World Wildlife Crime Report. This report continues to be important as a predictor of future species under threat from illegal trade and as guidance on preventing wildlife crime.

We cannot afford to lose this war to the perpetrators of these crimes.

We must join forces and raise ambition to tackle wildlife trafficking and other nature crimes, through fact-based informed decision-making, and we must act now. Thank you.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future