The Case for a Global Treaty to Combat Wildlife Crime: Addressing Gaps in International Law

A 2018 UNEP study on global environmental crime reports that wildlife crime is a particularly persistent problem in Africa, Asia and Latin America, where all kinds of species – mammals, birdlife, reptiles and amphibians, insects, and plants – are affected. According to the European Commission’s 2016 Wildlife Trafficking Action Plan, Europe is currently a significant destination market and a hub for wildlife trafficking in transit to other regions and it is also a region from which certain species are sourced for illegal trade.
This paper aims to critically compare the legal enforcement mechanisms against wildlife trade in the European Union, China and countries in South East Asia. The paper will evaluate gaps in international law and the case for global treaty to combat illegal wildlife trade, taking acccount of existing initiatives including the End Wildlife Crime campaign for a Protocol on Wildlife Crime to be negotiated under the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime.