The United States has said it looks forward to continuing dialogue with both ‘focus countries and countries of concern’ to thwart transnational organised crime engaged in wildlife trafficking.
The 2019 Focus Countries are India, Bangladesh, Brazil, Myanmar, Cambodia, Cameroon, China, Congo, Gabon, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Indonesia, Kenya, Laos, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mexico, Mozambique, Nigeria, the Philippines, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe, according to the US Department of State.
Many ‘Focus Countries’ have taken significant steps to combat wildlife trafficking, including in partnership with the United States.
The 2019 ‘countries of concern’ are Madagascar, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Laos.
The State Department submitted the third annual report to Congress as required by the Eliminate, Neutralize, and Disrupt Wildlife Trafficking Act of 2016 (the END Wildlife Trafficking Act) on Wednesday.
Wildlife trafficking is a serious transnational crime that threatens security, economic prosperity, the rule of law, long-standing conservation efforts, and human health, said the State Department.
The US government’s three-pronged approach to combating wildlife trafficking—strengthening law enforcement, reducing demand, and building international cooperation—deprives criminals of a key source of financing, reducing the criminal threat posed to US citizens.
Each ‘Focus Country’ is a major source, transit point, or consumer of wildlife trafficking products or their derivatives, said the US government, reports UNB.