On Tuesday 21st January, The Duke of Cambridge, President of United for Wildlife, hosted a United for Wildlife Taskforce meeting at St. James’s Palace, London.
Hi Fly was present to confirm support to Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge as he called on international organisations to help end the ‘abhorrent crime’ of illegal wildlife trading.
Among Hi Fly, other guests welcomed by H.R. H. The Duke of Cambridge to St James’s Palace for a meeting of the United for Wildlife taskforces, chaired by former British Foreign Secretary Lord William Hague, were Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and US ambassador Woody Johnson.
United for Wildlife works to combat illegal wildlife trade by bringing together conservation organisations, law enforcement bodies, governments and global corporations into two taskforces, Financial and Transport, to aid a global crackdown on wildlife smuggling.
The taskforces’ aim is to stop financial transactions relating to illegal wildlife and the transportation of wild animals to unscrupulous buyers.
Hi Fly joined the Transport Taskforce in 2019 and has committed to recognising the devastating impact of the illegal wildlife trade.
The airline will not knowingly facilitate or tolerate the carriage of wildlife products, where trade in those products is contrary to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wildlife Fauna and Flora, and as such is illegal under both international and national laws.
On joining the taskforce, Hi Fly immediately adopted a zero-tolerance policy on illegal wildlife trafficking in a bid to end the illegal practice. Additionally, Hi Fly committed to increase awareness of the nature, scale and consequences of the illegal wildlife trade to its passengers, customers, clients and staff.
Prince William personally addressed the meeting on Tuesday calling it an ‘exciting time’ for the two taskforces to be coming together.
‘We start this year, and indeed this decade, in a very strong position,” he said.
‘The world’s largest transport and financial companies – many of whom are represented here today – are changing their everyday procedures.
“It is now becoming business as usual for transport companies to track down illegal wildlife products in their cargo, and for banks to investigate and report suspicious transactions related to illegal wildlife crime.”
Prince William acknowledged how ‘crucial’ the commitment from the Transport Taskforce and Financial Taskforce was, “because sadly the demand for wildlife products has not diminished”.
“There are still too many criminals who know that they can find a market and believe they can act with impunity,” he said.
“Everything that you do to root out corruption, improve your processes and techniques, and flag suspicious activity to law enforcement helps make this trade too risky for criminals to stomach.”
Both Taskforces will now enter a new period of focused activity with the intent of making it impossible to use private-sector infrastructure to facilitate the financing and transportation of IWT products with impunity.
This three-year shared goal is to embed practices to hinder the illegal wildlife trade into members’ business-as-usual operations.
Since the formation of the Taskforces, they have grown from 12 private sector companies to over 150, representing large proportions of the global shipping, airline, and financial industries.
The Taskforces have supported over 70 law investigations, contributed to 18 trafficker arrests and played a key role in disrupting a major international ivory, rhino horn and heroin syndicate in East Africa.
The Transport Taskforce was formed in 2014 to engage the transport sector in identifying and developing relevant and targeted solutions to wildlife trafficking, including increasing awareness, reporting and enforcement. Then, in 2018, the financial sector was brought together to form the Financial Taskforce which is committed to sharing resources and intelligence in a bid to disrupt the illegal income generated by trafficking.