Press Releases

Four more airports pledge to join fight against illegal wildlife trafficking

Toronto, Sydney, Munich and Hong Kong sign Buckingham Palace Declaration

Montreal, 2 December 2019 – Executive representatives from Hong Kong International Airport, Munich International Airport, Sydney Airport, and Toronto Pearson International Airport have pledged their commitment to join the fight against illegal wildlife trafficking by signing the  United for Wildlife (UFW) Transport Taskforce Buckingham Palace Declaration.

The critical need for a strong global effort is demonstrated by the fact that the illegal wildlife trade is one of the most lucrative transnational crimes and estimated by the United Nations to be worth up to $23 billion USD annually.

The Buckingham Palace Declaration is a historic agreement which sets out tangible steps that can be taken to close the routes exploited by traffickers of the illegal wildlife trade as they attempt to smuggle their products from rare and vulnerable ecosystems.

Hong Kong International Airport, Munich International Airport, Sydney Airport, and Toronto Pearson International Airport join more than 100 transport sector companies who have confirmed their support for the initiative since 2016.

“ACI and its members are dedicated to promoting the adoption of a zero-tolerance policy regarding illegal wildlife trade by airports and I welcome the commitment of Hong Kong, Munich, Sydney, and Toronto in joining the fight,” ACI World Director General Angela Gittens said. “Wildlife trafficking has become a multi-million-dollar business and. as the world becomes more interconnected, poachers are looking to abuse the air transport system to move illegal wildlife goods. Airports continue to be central to stamping out this trade.”

The Buckingham Palace Declaration contains eleven commitments to raise standards across the transportation industry and focuses on information sharing, staff training, technological improvements, and resource-sharing with its international stakeholders.

Airport Authority Hong Kong Executive Director of Airport Operations Vivian Cheung said: “Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) adopts zero tolerance policy regarding illegal wildlife trafficking and we are honoured to be a signing party of the Buckingham Palace Declaration. At HKIA, we work closely with the whole airport community to fight illegal wildlife trade, while efforts to raise public awareness continue through publicity means such as posters and model displays.”

Munich Airport Chief Executive Officer Dr Michael Kerkloh said: “At Munich Airport we have worked closely with the authorities for many years, using state-of-the-art technologies, to combat the unlawful transport of endangered plant and animal species. Consequently, we are fully committed to supporting all efforts to impede the activities of international traffickers and promote the legal protection of endangered species.”

Sydney Airport Chief Operating Officer Hugh Wehby said: “Australia’s unique wildlife is often a target of illegal wildlife trafficking, which makes Sydney Airport especially proud to support this important initiative.”

Greater Toronto Airports Authority Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Kim Stangeby said: “Illegal wildlife trafficking threatens the existence of many of the world’s species. Since airports play a major role in facilitating cargo, it’s important for us to work collaboratively to tackle this issue. Signing the declaration will help to harmonize our action against trafficking.”

In addition to supporting airport membership to share their commitment by joining the United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce, Airports Council International is a key industry partner working with the Reducing Opportunities for Unlawful Transport of Endangered Species (ROUTES) Partnership to engage and support industry, improve data analytics, increase collaboration with enforcement, provide training and raise awareness on the issue.

Notes for editors

  1. Airports Council International (ACI), the trade association of the world’s airports, was founded in 1991 with the objective of fostering cooperation among its member airports and other partners in world aviation, including the International Civil Aviation Organization, the International Air Transport Association and the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization. In representing the best interests of airports during key phases of policy development, ACI makes a significant contribution toward ensuring a global air transport system that is safe, secure, efficient and environmentally sustainable. As of January 2019, ACI serves 646 members, operating 1,960 airports in 176 countries.
  2. Read the ACI Resolution 3, in support of the “United for Wildlife Transport Task Force” and learn more about how airports are combatting wildlife trafficking.
  3.  Find more information about the United for Wildlife (UFW) Transport Taskforce.
  4. The USAID Reducing Opportunities for Unlawful Transport of Endangered Species (ROUTES) Partnership.
  5. Read some of the best practice case studies from airports on combatting illegal wildlife trade.

Media contacts

Bojana Jeremic
Manager, External Relations and Special Events
ACI World
Telephone: +1 514 373 1254
Email: mediarelations@aci.aero

Sabrina Guerrieri
Manager, Communications
ACI World
Telephone: +1 514 373 1200
Email: mediarelations@aci.aero