The illegal wildlife trade threatens the future existence of many of the world’s most iconic species and is one of the five most lucrative global crimes. The declaration is a landmark agreement which forms an action plan to strengthen and coordinate action against trafficking. It brings focus and collaboration to efforts by airports and other stakeholders to break the link between the rapidly escalating poaching crisis in regions like Africa and the demand for illegal wildlife products elsewhere around the world.
The signing ceremony took place during the ACI Asia-Pacific/World Annual General Assembly, Conference and Exhibition held at the AsiaWorld-Expo in Hong Kong.
The Royal Schiphol Group, Kenya Airports Authority and Galapagos Airport join more than 100 transport sector companies who have confirmed their support for the initiative since 2016. The agreement sets out tangible steps that can be taken to close the routes exploited by traffickers of the illegal wildlife trade as they attempt to move their products from rare and vulnerable ecosystems to market.
“Species are being hunted to extinction through the illegal killing and trading of wild animals. We seek to build a broad international coalition to be truly effective in combatting these deplorable practices,” ACI World Director General Angela Gittens said. “Airports play a key role in this fight and those that have become new signatories to the Buckingham Palace Declaration have demonstrated their commitment to combatting this trade. We encourage more airports and more of our partners to collaborate with us in this important work.”
Chair of the United for Wildlife Taskforce, Lord William Hague, said, “I wholeheartedly welcome those members of ACI who have committed to join our Taskforce by signing the Buckingham Palace Declaration, and would like to thank ACI for providing such an opportunity.”
Dick Benschop, President and CEO of The Royal Schiphol Group, said, “We are honored to join the undersigning of the Buckingham Palace Declaration because Schiphol does not allow any kind of wildlife trafficking and does not accept any activity involved in this type of crime at our airports.”
Managing Director and CEO of Kenya Airports Authority, Jonny Andersen, commented, “Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) is the first Airport Authority in Africa to have signed the Buckingham Palace declaration. This is as a result of recognizing the threat of illegal trade in the region and taking proactive actions. We have committed to the fight against Illegal Wildlife Trafficking by enacting laws, developing policies and procedures and training our personnel to ensure that illegal wildlife products do not pass through our airports.”
Jorge Rosillo, CEO of Galapagos Ecological Airport, said, “Security in aviation also means work to prevent law-breaking activities. Wildlife trafficking is a crime against the planet and future generations. It´s our duty to contribute to avoid it.”
The issue was a feature at a forum at the ACI Asia-Pacific/World Annual General Assembly, Conference and Exhibition, which helped airports identify opportunities to develop a framework of action against wildlife trafficking. Airports Council International is one of several industry partners working with the USAID ROUTES Partnership to engage and support industry, provide training and raise awareness.