The United Nations General Assembly has adopted a resolution that tackles smuggling of endangered wildlife.
The resolution was approved unanimously by the 193-member world body on Thursday.
Although the resolution is not legally binding, its universal support reflects growing global opposition to the escalating poaching and trafficking, especially in elephant tusks and rhinoceros horns.
Gabon and Germany sponsored the resolution, which was also supported by more than 70 countries.
“This is a historic step made by the international community,” Gabonese Foreign Minister Emmanuel Issoze-Ngondet told reporters shortly after the resolution was passed.
“This phenomenon hampers investment, especially in areas where illicit activities are undertaken and as far as health is concerned it contributes to the spread of viruses,” he said, adding, “It represents a real threat to the stability of our state.”
The resolution encourages member states to “adopt effective measures to prevent and counter” wildlife trafficking.
It concerns both regions where wildlife and poachers roam such as in some African countries, and consumer countries such as those in Asia that prize ivory and rhinoceros horns.
The resolution also calls on countries to bolster legislation at the national level to prevent, investigate and prosecute the illegal trade, and make such trafficking a “serious crime.”
The vote coincided with global outrage over the killing of a beloved lion in the Southern African country of Zimbabwe. The incident happened earlier this week when an American hunter allegedly lured it from a national reserve outside regular hours and killed it.
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