In spite of the international and national legal frameworks, including the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), illegal wildlife trade is the fourth most lucrative global crime valued at up to US$20 billion a year. While the responsibility to apprehend and prosecute offenders rests with national enforcement authorities, airports and their staff can contribute to address the problem. Wildlife trafficking has been using the aviation global network to perform its illegal activities, causing serious environmental damage and similar effects as other international crimes, including promoting instability, financing organized crime and adversely affecting communities that live from wildlife tourism.
"ACI's social responsibility goes beyond the impact of aviation on the environment," said Angela Gittens, Director General, ACI World. "We are also engaged with the aviation industry against the use of its global connectivity to support the much under reported crime of wildlife trafficking. The Resolution's approval confirms the ACI membership's commitment to the United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce Buckingham Palace Declaration signed earlier this year. ACI is dedicated to developing a practical framework towards this goal, including cooperation with international initiatives such as the Reducing Opportunities for Unlawful Transport of Endangered Species (ROUTES) partnership."
In addition to supporting the Declaration and encouraging its adoption by member airports, the Resolution expresses that ACI's intention to: Promote the adoption of a zero tolerance policy regarding illegal wildlife trade by airports; promote the awareness of airport passenger, customer, client, and staff about the nature, scale, and consequences of illegal wildlife trade; promote the enhancement of data systems at airports worldwide including due diligence and risk assessment; and, promote the training of staff within the airport sector to enable them to detect, identify and report suspected illegal wildlife trade, among other initiatives.