On today's blog we look at 100 days until the London Illegal Wildlife Trade conference and the Moorland Wildfires.
100 days until the London Illegal Wildlife Trade conference
Last night, the Foreign Secretary with the Environment Secretary and the International Development Secretary welcomed a range of partners and stakeholders to the Foreign Office to celebrate the start of 100 days to the London Illegal Wildlife Trade conference in October.
Many of the guests in attendance were from environmental NGOs and organisations involved in the fight to combat the illegal trade in wildlife, and will be joining the three Secretaries of State at the conference on 11 and 12 October 2018.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove, speaking last night, said:
The threat to the world’s wildlife is greater than ever and that is why I’m so delighted that it is not just my department Defra, but also the Department for International Development and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, that are working to bring leaders from other nations, individual organisations and above all citizens of the globe, together in order to ensure that the wildlife we cherish and whom we share this plant with, can have their future protected.
Environmental Crime, which includes the illegal wildlife trade and illegal logging, is the fifth most lucrative serious organised crime and is estimated to be worth up to £17billion a year.
The criminals who run this trade do more than damage wildlife - they use networks of corrupt officials and agencies to undermine sustainable development and the rule of law, bringing misery to local communities. Money made from this trade is used by criminal networks.
This is why tackling the illegal wildlife trade is a priority for the UK government and why it’s so important that at this year’s conference in London we find new and effective ways of tackling this crime, by bringing global leaders together to tackle the strategic challenges of the trade.
Defra also announced £4.5 million for 14 new Challenge Fund projects to combat the illegal wildlife trade by addressing demand reduction, strengthening enforcement and criminal justice, and providing alternative livelihoods.
Projects that will receive funding include supporting eco-guardians and community enforcement networks to protect elephants, a ‘payback’ scheme for the perpetrators of IWT and the development of strong room best practice guidelines for the storage of seized illegal ivory. There will also be funding provided to disrupt the poaching affecting iconic species such as Sumatran tigers and snow leopards.
Today’s Mirror criticises ministers for not visiting the scene of the major moorland fires in Greater Manchester and Lancashire.
Ministers are receiving regular updates. The Home Secretary has been briefed by the Mayor of Greater Manchester and as the Minister for the Fire Service, Nick Hurd, told MPs yesterday, he has spoken to both local fire chiefs. The possibility of a visit has been discussed but it was decided at this time it would distract from efforts to respond to this ongoing incident.
A hundred military personnel have been providing support on Saddleworth moor since Thursday and the Government is ready to provide further support when it is needed.
Our thoughts are with everyone affected and thank the incredible work of the emergency services, army and other partner agencies for their hard work and dedication to tackle the fires. We will of course be discussing with fire chiefs a more appropriate time to visit.