Gabon and Costa Rica defended on Monday the adoption of a new international agreement at the United Nations to combat transnational crime related to wild species, fight their extinction and prevent pandemics.
The two countries resumed a campaign that the End Wildlife Crime initiative — which brings together several NGOs, associations and personalities — is carrying out at the UN, in order to reach an agreement to establish a stricter international legal framework.
“Crimes against wild species constitute a threat to human and animal health, leading to the extinction of numerous species, degrading entire ecosystems,” Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba said in a joint statement with his Costa Rican counterpart, Carlos Alvarado Quesada.
“The world is still suffering greatly from the consequences of a pandemic that most likely comes from wild fauna,” Alvarado said.
“We have been warned that there are hundreds of thousands of new viruses that could pass from wildlife to humans,” stressed the Costa Rican head of state.
Both countries are working together with other countries for the adoption of a fourth protocol, specific to the fight against illicit trafficking in wildlife, in the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC). The three existing protocols of this Convention, called “Palermo,” deal with human trafficking, the smuggling of migrants and the illicit manufacturing and trafficking of firearms.
The desired protocol “will be a binding legal tool for the countries that adhere to it,” Aurélie Flore Koumba Pambo, scientific adviser of the National Agency for National Parks of Gabon, told AFP.
“The time has come to treat crimes against wildlife as the serious and highly destructive crimes that they are,” said Alvarado and Bongo.
In October 2020, to avoid the spread of pandemics such as Covid-19, UN experts affirmed that the human footprint in nature should be reduced, especially by reducing deforestation and trade in wild species.