UAE and UK launch toolkit to help financial institutions tackle illicit financial flows in illegal wildlife trade
The toolkit provides key guidance for institutions in combating the illegal wildlife trade, from large institutions with large compliance departments to smaller institutions with less experience or fewer resources in combating this trade. .
Al Sayegh said: “The illegal wildlife trade is an inherently important aspect of illicit financial flows. Partnership between the private and public sectors is key to mitigating and solving this global problem. Therefore, I am pleased that the members of the UAE Public-Private Partnerships Sub-Committee endorse the IWT Toolkit, which will mark another milestone in the fight against the illegal wildlife trade.
The UK Minister of State for South and Central Asia commented: “I am delighted to launch the UK-led IWT Financial Flows Toolkit in collaboration with the Government of the United Arab Emirates, TRAFFIC, the WWF and Themis. The toolkit builds on the historic partnership agreement between the UK and the UAE to tackle illicit financial flows and the growing cooperation between our public and private sectors to tackle financial crime. Together we can fight organized crime gangs that loot and endanger our wildlife.
The illegal wildlife trade is the fourth largest organized crime after drugs, human trafficking and counterfeiting, costing $23 billion a year. Wildlife trafficking not only extinguishes endangered species and destabilizes ecosystems, it also fosters corruption and undermines livelihoods around the world.
According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), around 20,000 African elephants are killed by poachers every year, and rhino poaching has skyrocketed since 2007 with an average death rate of around 100 rhinos per month.
In recent years, the UAE and its international partners have advocated tougher action against those who engage in the illegal wildlife trade and promoted increased coordination across each country’s financial sector. Through public-private partnerships, information sharing and international cooperation, countries can establish a strong foundation to detect and address illicit money flows that negatively impact economies and the environment.
The toolkit has been developed with a focus on the Africa to Asia route and highlights the importance of public and private sector cooperation in global financial centers including the UAE, Hong Kong and Singapore, to combat this trade. The IWT Financial Flows Toolkit has been translated into Arabic and Mandarin by the Government of the United Arab Emirates and the Chinese office of TRAFFIC.