I commend the Permanent Missions of the Republic of Gabon and of Germany, UNODC and WCS for organizing this timely meeting.
As a Country that is part of the Group of Friends of Wildlife and a major supporter of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), Italy has contributed to the drafting of GA resolution n.69/314 of 2015, and thus has co-sponsored the text. Similarly, it has dedicated, as a facilitator, particular attention to the trafficking in protected or endangered species within the context of GA resolution n.70/178 on combating organized crime.
Italy welcomes the World Wildlife Crime Report as an essential informative tool for the effective implementation of GA resolution 69/314 on Tackling Illicit Trafficking in Wildlife, OP14.
Moreover we cannot forget that the Security Council resolutions 2195 (2014) and 2253 (2015) consider trafficking in wildlife a crime with potential or actual connections to international organized crime and terrorism.
It is time for us to acknowledge that the deleterious consequences of illegal trafficking in wildlife are not limited to causing enormous damage to eco-systems or supplying dangerous amounts of wealth to criminal and terrorist groups.
As trafficking in wildlife becomes organized and systematic, it can cause economic and social crises for entire communities, with escalating conflicts that destabilize them. They are, in other words, a potential risk for the peace and security of the regions most affected.
For many years Italy has been strongly committed to protecting environmental heritage and the delicate equilibrium that thousands of years of civilization have left to ours and future generations. We consider sustainable protected areas a primary tool also for the prevention of illegal activities, and the exhibits Italy has sponsored in 2015 and May 2016 are a clear demonstration of this. At the same time, we fully support international cooperation against criminal networks.
For this reason, if we are elected to the Security Council, we will be developing the issues raised in the two afore-mentioned resolutions; we will strive toward a broad and comprehensive approach; and move with great determination to implement and make even more effective the international legal instruments that are available to us as well as the efforts of organizations that work every day in the field.