The conference brings together politicians, royalty, and businesses from across the World to engage in meaningful discussion about how to combat illegal wildlife trade.
The conference was opened by the foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt who highlighted how the United Kingdom was tackling the trade. They have recently provided £3.5 million pounds worth of technical support to help countries follow the money associated with illegal wildlife trade, and there will be a further £250 million to the United Nations Wildlife Programmes.
Jeremy Hunt also spoke about the successes of China in combatting illegal ivory trade, in particular, a seizure in Hong Kong which was the biggest ivory seizure in history. The smugglers would have killed 700 hundred elephants in order to get that amount of ivory.
Following this, Prince William gave his keynote speech where he passionately implored people to protect the environment so that future generations could have the chance to grow up seeing elephants, rhinos, and tigers. He told the audience how he wouldn’t be able to look his three children in the eye if the international community didn’t work harder to protect endangered species.
Ellie Goulding, UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador, closed the ceremony by comparing the fame of her everyday colleagues to the fame of the endangered animals. She finished her speech by telling the audience: “We must empower people to take action.”
It was also a monumental moment as the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime signed the Buckingham Palace Declaration with the Duke there to witness it. Miwa Kato, Director of Operations for UNODC, signed the papers.
United for Wildlife, a conservation organisation led by the Duke of Cambridge and the Royal Foundation, has recently announced a financial task force to combat this trade which goes alongside the transportation task force that was signed by the UNODC today.
The Duke of Cambridge spoke to representatives from four exhibitions before leaving the area, he spoke to United for Wildlife, WWF and Traffic, how the wild tech sector can support the fight again IWT, and the Environmental Investigation Agency.