For the first time, the United States has announced a National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking and a ban on the commercial trade of elephant ivory. This new strategy aims to “ensure that the United States is not contributing to poaching of elephants and illegal trade in elephant ivory.” Essentially, the U.S. ban prohibits commercial imports and exports in the hopes of leading a global effort to effectively protect and preserve our world’s wildlife and develop respect for the rule of law.The announcement also pledged to work closely with Congress to strengthen existing laws that combat wildlife trafficking and to adopt new ones to increase our ability to end this global challenge.
Adding to international pressure, the UN Security Council has significantly helped the mission to end wildlife trade with passing two resolutions in past January. The UNSC Resolution 2136 on Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and UNSC Resolution 2134 on Central African Republic (CAR), both reference poaching and encourage the continuation of regional and international efforts to counter the illicit trade. Although these two resolutions are major developments in the conservation movement, there is still more to be done. In an op-ed by Johan Bergenas from the Stimson Center, he argues that there must be a new U.S. policy towards counterterrorism in Africa, which includes the cessation of poaching, subsequently cutting off a vital source of generating funds for organized crime.
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