UN adopts resolution to combat illegal wildlife trafficking

AP News
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Posted: Jul 30, 2015 12:20 PM

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. General Assembly unanimously adopted its first-ever resolution aimed at combatting illicit trafficking in wildlife on Thursday as its sponsors expressed outrage at the killing of a beloved protected lion in Zimbabwe.

The resolution, approved by consensus by the 193-member world body, is not legally binding. But its universal support reflects growing global opposition to the escalating poaching and trafficking, especially in elephant and rhinoceros horns, but also in other wild animals and plants.

The measure, sponsored by Gabon and Germany and co-sponsored by over 70 countries, urges all countries "to take decisive steps at the national level to prevent, combat and eradicate the illegal trade in wildlife."

Gabon's Foreign Minister Emmanuel Issoze-Ngondet praised the adoption of the resolution, which is the product of more than two years of negotiations, as "a historic step."

Germany's U.N. Ambassador Harald Braun told reporters that illegal trafficking in wildlife has become a huge global business and the money made in it a leading source of financing terrorism around the world.

The sponsors were asked whether the resolution would have done anything to help save Cecil, the African lion that was reportedly lured out of a protected area and shot by an American hunter.

"I think like most people in the world we are outraged at what happened to this poor lion," Braun said. "Hunting activities are partly legal, partly illegal. It is this resolution which fights all the illegal aspects of it."