Illegal wildlife trade/fishing/logging/mining

Legal and sustainable trade in natural resources can be beneficial for economic growth, conservation of natural resources and livelihoods, while failure to regulate it can undermine the livelihoods of people, species, ecosystems, and businesses alike. However, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda recognizes the challenge many countries face in combating illegal wildlife trade, illegal unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, illegal logging, and illegal mining.

The Addis Agenda specifically:

  • Resolves to enhance global support for efforts to combat poaching and trafficking of protected species, trafficking in hazardous waste, and trafficking in minerals, including by strengthening both national regulation and international cooperation, and increasing the capacity of local communities to pursue sustainable livelihood opportunities
  • Commits to enhance capacity for monitoring, control and surveillance of fishing vessels to effectively prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing


Latest developments

While legal, sustainable, and traceable trade in wildlife can have great benefits in terms of conservation and sustainable development, illegal trade in wildlife undermines conservation efforts and has devastating economic, social and environmental impacts. Illegal wildlife trade is a big business, often run by international criminal networks that traffic wildlife and animal parts much like illegal drugs and arms. By its very nature, it is extremely difficult to obtain reliable figures for the volume and value of illegal wildlife trade. Data collected through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) currently amounts to roughly 42,500 seizure records covering the period 2013-2018, involving about 1,900 species in various product formats, from live animals to medicinal products containing animal parts. According to the World Bank, estimates for the value of illegal wildlife trade run between $5 billion and $23 billion per year.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), about 33 per cent of fish stocks today have reached overfished status. Overfishing is the consequence of increasing commercial interest on targeted species and enlarged fishing capacity of contemporary fishing fleets. This is exacerbated by IUU fishing and harmful subsidies. IUU fishing across the world’s oceans is estimated to catch about 11 million to 26 million tonnes of fish annually, with a value of $26 billion to $35 billion.53 This suggests that in each 5 dollars of globally traded seafood, 1 dollar could be of illegal origin.

Read more here.

Relevant SDG indicator