IATA tool will help in battle to stop endangered species trafficking


The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has launched an airport wildlife trafficking assessment tool it says will help defeat smugglers of endangered species.

The tool, developed in partnership with the World Customs Organisation (WCO) with support from the USAID ROUTES Partnership, will be piloted with WCO at Maputo International Airport this month (November). A global rollout is planned for 2017. The tool helps airports assess supply chain security, intelligence and risk management, staff awareness and reporting processes, alongside air cargo and passenger screening policy and procedures.
“The illegal trafficking of wildlife products, including iconic and endangered species, is an issue the aviation industry takes seriously. It will take a team effort to combat this deplorable trade. We are working in partnership with USAID Routes, WCO, CITES (Conference on Trade in Endangered Species) and other organisations to make the world a much more difficult place for wildlife traffickers. Our common goal is to preserve our wildlife inheritance for future generations to enjoy,” Alexandre de Juniac, IATA director general and chief executive, said.
“Actors in the air transport sector can serve as the eyes and ears of enforcement agencies and be valuable partners in efforts to eliminate wildlife trafficking from supply chains. The assessment tool will enable them to identify weak points in procedures and practices, often exploited by traffickers, as well as ways of strengthening them,” Kunio Mikuriya, WCO secretary general, said.

The assessment tool’s launch was announced ad governments met earlier this month in Vietnam for an illegal wildlife trade conference.

The tool is another development in the air transport industry’s efforts to put an end to trafficking of wildlife and wildlife products.

Earlier this year, IATA, along with 26 of its member airlines signed the Duke of Cambridge’s United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce Buckingham Palace Declaration. Signatories committed to raise awareness of wildlife trafficking, train staff to help spot traffickers and improve co-operation between transport bodies and regulatory and enforcement organisations.

New technology such as e-documentation, online check-in and automated baggage drops could also play a role.
“These technologies can help government authorities to build accurate risk assessments of travellers and cargo shipments. Whether it is combatting terrorism, stopping the illegal drug trade or putting an end to wildlife trafficking, governments must share information among themselves and with industry. We share a common goal and must work together to achieve it,” de Juniac said.