July 13th , 2024   Follow us


LATEST NEWS


ESAAMLG MEMBERS UNITE TO COMBAT ILLEGAL WILDLIFE TRADE AND ASSOCIATED ML/TF.

Heads of 21 Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) convened at the ESAAMLG FIU Forum meeting on April 8th 2024 in Lubango-Angola: Statement of Principles Signed

This gathering culminated in the signing of the "Statement of Principles for a Multilateral Approach to Combating Illegal Wildlife Trade," underscoring a unified commitment to combat this pressing issue.

The "Statement of Principles for a Multilateral Approach to Combating Illegal Wildlife Trade" outlines strategic measures for leveraging financial intelligence and investigation to disrupt illegal wildlife trade, bolster enforcement, fortify legal frameworks, and raise awareness. These principles epitomize a shared commitment among ESAAMLG member countries to effectively combat this transnational crime.

Advocate Xolisile Khaniyle, Chair of United for Wildlife, commended the ESAAMLG's commitment, stating, "The ESAAMLG's dedication to combatting illegal wildlife trade is commendable. By signing the Statement of Principles, they are not only protecting biodiversity but also striking a blow against the illicit financial networks that drive this destructive trade."

This momentous occasion represents a significant milestone for the ESAAMLG Region in its collaborative endeavours to combat wildlife and related financial crimes. Notably, the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) of South Africa had already signed the principles prior to the meeting, aligning with counterparts from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Richard Rampal, Director of the Seychelles FIU and Chair of the FIU Forum, emphasized, "The ESAAMLG FIU Forum recognizes the urgent need for concerted action to combat illegal wildlife trade and associated financial crimes. By signing the Statement of Principles, we reaffirm our commitment to leveraging financial intelligence to disrupt criminal networks and protect our natural heritage."

Mr. Gilberto Cape├ža, Director General of the Angola FIU and Co-chair of the Forum, echoed this sentiment, stating, "The ESAAMLG Region is rich in biodiversity, making it a prime target for wildlife traffickers. Signing the Statement of Principles sends a clear message that we are united in our resolve to combat this illicit trade, which threatens not only our ecosystems but also national security and sustainable development."

The ESAAMLG Task Force plenary, convened on April 11, 2024, also endorsed the Statement of Principles, further emphasizing the Region's collective determination to comprehensively address the scourge of illegal wildlife trade and associated financial crimes.

Mr. Saitoti Maika, Director General of the Financial Reporting Centre of Kenya and Chair of the ESAAMLG Task Force, remarked, "The signing of the Statement of Principles signifies a crucial step forward in our collective efforts to combat illegal wildlife trade and associated financial crimes. By leveraging financial intelligence and investigation, we strengthen our ability to disrupt criminal networks and protect our natural heritage."

Ms. Fikile Zitha, Executive Secretary of the ESAAMLG, added, "The ESAAMLG is committed to fostering regional cooperation to combat illegal wildlife trade and ML/TF. The signing of the Statement of Principles is a testament to our dedication to protecting our natural heritage and promoting sustainable development in the Region."

The signing of the Statement of Principles for a Multilateral Approach to Combating Illegal Wildlife Trade underscores the benefits of cooperation among ESAAMLG member countries.
By leveraging financial intelligence and fostering inter-agency collaboration, ESAAMLG FIUs and other competent authorities aim to disrupt illicit financial flows associated with wildlife trafficking, strengthen enforcement efforts, and enhance legal frameworks. Moreover, these actions contribute to safeguarding biodiversity, preserving ecosystems, and promoting sustainable development across the region.