Good morning, everyone, to United for Wildlife, for bringing us together here in dazzling Singapore, and for working together to create safer and more sustainable communities that are deeply dependent on the natural world and endangered species. Thank you for the great work you are doing to build a possible future. All over the world.
Indeed, for those of us who have returned to Britain, we are so grateful that many of the species of flora and fauna that we work so hard to support will be celebrated on the first coins to be struck to commemorate the new reign. I know how much my native species mean to me. These words of Charles III reflect a love of the natural world that he has cultivated over the decades, and that he clearly inherited from his son, the Prince of Wales, who we spoke to last night. It is.
We know that the love of nature, flora and fauna is of course reflected all over the world and is often proudly used as a national emblem.
We all depend on the natural world for everything from food to water, the air we breathe, a functioning climate and weather system, and the peace and prosperity we all desire.
Today, a quarter of plant and animal species are at risk of extinction, many within the next few decades.
We know that for some of the world’s most endangered species, illegal wildlife trade is the most serious threat they face. Because cross-border criminal trade, worth £23 billion a year, brings violence and corruption to countries and communities, and it must. You can also be at the forefront of finding solutions and more sustainable alternatives.
This has been a personal priority for me for many years, having previously served as Environment Secretary and now returning to the Department as Secretary of State, and tackling this illegal trade will continue to build the UK we have continued to build. Very important to the government. Learn about the work we’ve done since hosting the first global illegal wildlife trade conference in 2014.
We’ve committed over £51 million to 157 projects through the IWT Challenge Fund, and I think there are several organizations here who are benefiting from it. This means working in over 60 countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe.
It protects a wide range of endangered species including pangolins, jaguars and orchids.
In recent years, we have worked with many of you to achieve 288 arrests, 482 prosecutions, 141 successful prosecutions and the seizure of millions of pounds worth of illegal wildlife trade goods.
We continue to support projects designed to help communities from the Lower Mekong to the Amazon build more sustainable livelihoods, including through our new £100m Biodiversity and Landscapes Fund. We continue to support the Global Environment Facility’s Global Wildlife Program. .
And by supporting the work of the International Consortium to Combat Wildlife Crime, we are bringing together key agencies and building the long-term commitment to law enforcement needed around the world to effectively combat wildlife crime. We help build capacity.
We all know that we must continue to learn about major cross-border syndicates and their routes. Tackling them requires a collective approach to target senior offenders and deter this crime.
But what we do know is that nature-trafficking gangs are taking advantage of the weak governance of our system.
And too often criminal enterprises are left unattended while vast ill-gotten profits are transferred to huge markets across the region. That’s why the UK will support the efforts of countries at both ends of the Africa and Asia route, and work together wherever possible.
We are keen to build on our existing work in the UK and support efforts in both countries, with a focus on how governments can make the most of existing tools to achieve maximum impact, including CITES. We are working on this. Africa-Asia route.
It aims to strengthen information sharing and enforcement, help communities build more sustainable livelihoods and disarm criminal organizations, while building political will around the world. And in all of this, working together and collaborating across sectors is key to making it impossible for traffickers to transport, finance and profit from illegal wildlife products. It becomes.
That is why I am delighted to have confirmed that the UK will sign your new Principals Statement. And we will encourage other countries to join us in cooperating in all areas across jurisdictions.
Build a complete picture and communicate faster to stay one step ahead of criminals and achieve further seizures, confiscations, and arrests, preventing and uncovering the financial activities of major multinational syndicates involved in wildlife. , we know that it is necessary to interfere. There is no place to hide because you are committing a crime.
I know that the Foundation has a packed schedule of real heroes who are making this happen on the ground. I know you have a busy day ahead of you, and I’m happy to be here to support you. We also wish you well as you consider what comes next to help nature recover and communities thrive.
thank you very much.