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A report from the World Bank is identifying the economic costs of illegal logging, fishing, and the wildlife trade. The bank puts the cost of these illegal activities at between $1 and $2 trillion.

The report, Illegal Logging, Fishing and Wildlife Trade: The Costs and How to Combat It, found that the majority of the losses-90 percent- are from ecosystem services provided by oceans and forests, including biodiversity, flood retention, carbon storage, and water filtration. These needs are fulfilled by these ecosystems and it’s expensive to be without them.

In many countries, where timber is harvested and traded illegally, the governments need to be incentivized to receive financial benefits for protecting ecosystems. Corruption and weak governance play a role in these challenges and the World Bank points to the millions spent on animal trafficking that pales in comparison to the money spent in other areas, like drug control.

The report suggests measures, including,

  • Recognizing that large-scale illegal trade in natural resources is as serious as transnational organized crime.
  • Changing the incentives and behaviors that drive demand for illegally traded wildlife, forest products, and fisheries.
  • Scaling up funding and enabling public-private partnerships to tackle the illegal natural resource trade.
  • Strengthening governance and establishing a trade, legal, and fiscal environment that supports legal trade of non-endangered species of wildlife, fisheries, and trees to promote sustainable livelihoods.
  • Putting local communities, notably indigenous peoples, at the center of the design and implementation of solutions to share the benefits from managing natural assets and combating Illegal activities.
  • Adopting national strategies for dealing with illegal activities across the supply chain.
  • Capturing the benefits from global ecosystem services such as carbon storage and biodiversity.

Because so many of these benefits and challenges cross international borders, we need to work together as a global community to enact change and make a difference that will benefit our planet.

Sign this petition to put an end to the illegal online wildlife trade

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