I was delighted to attend the Hanoi Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade today on behalf of the UK, alongside His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge. The Conference was successful, with 42 countries and the EU adopting the Hanoi Statement by consensus and 23 countries, the EU and 6 international organisations pledging new and specific actions in the Statement Annex to deliver on their commitments from London and Kasane.
I announced that the UK will commit an additional £13 million to new measures tackling the illegal wildlife trade, doubling our investment. I also confirmed the UK would call world leaders together once more in 2018 at a fourth high level conference in London to ensure that this urgent global issue stays at the top of the political agenda and that we continue to deliver on our manifesto commitment to lead the world in tackling the illegal wildlife trade.
Specifically, I announced a new UK-China arrangement to train African border forces to spot and tackle smugglers pedalling illegal animal products. The UK will also work with Vietnamese authorities to improve border security in the South East Asian nation, working with airports and airlines to stop smugglers trafficking illegal goods out of the country.
Other UK-led initiatives include British military training for anti-poaching forces in key African states. This is alongside financial support for global action by Interpol and other intergovernmental organisations.
The illegal wildlife trade has brought world populations of iconic species like elephants and rhinos to crisis levels in recent years. Almost 150,000 African elephants have been lost to poaching in the last decade and at least two rhinos are killed every day.
The UK is determined to do all we can to show global leadership in fighting the illegal wildlife trade and protecting the world’s precious wildlife. This global issue will only be solved through international cooperation and the decisive action agreed in Hanoi will help to protect our wild animals for future generations.
The UK was able to lead further progress in the margins of the Conference. I hosted a meeting of ASEAN Heads of Delegation, attended by the Duke of Cambridge, where I pressed for enhanced collaboration in this critical region, particularly on enforcement. The Philippines, chair of ASEAN in 2017, agreed that the illegal wildlife trade would feature on the agenda.
I am delighted that the UK will continue to show international leadership on this issue by inviting world leaders back to London in 2018, where we will be ensuring the global commitments agreed today to stop the illegal wildlife trade are delivered.