Fintelekt Advisory Services hosted a webinar on March 12, 2020 on Combatting Illegal Wildlife Trade.The webinar was moderated by Shirish Pathak, Managing Director, Fintelekt Advisory Services, in which he conversed with Robert Campbell, Programme Manager, United for Wildlife.
Led by The Duke of Cambridge and The Royal Foundation, United for Wildlife works to address the pressing conservation challenges of today and to work to prevent endangered species from going extinct. The mission of United for Wildlife is to “create a framework to assist the private sector in combatting IWT, in order to limit the loss of further species”. Under this mission, UFW works with the private sector – transport companies and financial institutions and associated industry bodies, government and law enforcement agencies, as well as NGOs involved with wildlife conservation.
In 2019, United for Wildlife launched the Financial Task Force to engage financial institutions in this effort and to identify specific actions that can be taken by the financial sector. The Task Force has the commitment of more than 30 global and local banks.
Through the last year, UFW’s activities have shown some encouraging results, including seizure of 82 shipments of illegal wildlife trade and disruption of a major transnational IWT network.
Illegal wildlife trade is valued at between USD 7 and 23 billion every year. Robert highlighted the impact of illegal wildlife trade and wildlife trafficking on depleting numbers of wildlife species across the world. He stressed on a critical and urgent need for action from all stakeholders, as conservation efforts have so far not proven to be adequate.
During the webinar, Robert pointed to a convergence of illegal wildlife trade with other areas of crime including drugs, counterfeit goods, arms or human trafficking. The linkages make it important for the financial sector to treat illegal wildlife trade transactions in the same way as it does other areas of predicate crime.
Banks can play a crucial role in monitoring and detecting transactions suspected to be connected to illegal wildlife trade. United for Wildlife aims to work together with banks to create awareness, develop red flag indicators and provide information about typologies and criminal networks. The agency is also looking to increase its footprint across Asia and hopes to strengthen outreach to the region in the coming year.
The webinar garnered excellent participation from banks and NGOs across Asia, Europe and Africa. Questions by attendees focused around the role that banks can play, understanding of endangered species and around specific awareness efforts taken or planned by UFW.
A recording of the webinar is available on Fintelekt’s YouTube channel at the following link: