The Duke of Cambridge gave a passionate speech about the illegal wildlife trade at the World Bank in Washington DC earlier this week.

During the speech, the Duke announced that a taskforce, chaired by former Foreign Secretary William Hague, would be established to examine the transport industry’s role in the illegal wildlife trade and identify ways “the sector can break the chain between suppliers and consumers”.

“The task force will bring together key partners and representatives of the transport sector, underpinned by expert legal advice,” he said. "It will draw together existing evidence and information about the illegal wildlife trade, identify gaps in knowledge, and commission research to plug those gaps.

“The taskforce will call on companies to implement a “zero tolerance” policy towards the trade. Criminals are able to exploit weak and corrupt standards, so we must raise those standards, collectively.

“I am delighted that William Hague, the former British Foreign Secretary and chair of the London Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade held earlier this year, is here today and has agreed to chair an international taskforce.

“Within a year, the taskforce will work with the transport industry to develop recommendations for how it can play its part in shutting down wildlife trafficking trade routes; with the sole intention that the implementation of these recommendations will lead to a tangible and significant reduction in the illegal wildlife trade.

“Cooperation is our greatest weapon against the poachers and traffickers who rely on evading individual national initiatives. By taking a truly international approach, we can get one step ahead of them.

“Our collective goal must be to reduce the wildlife trade by making it harder: denying traffickers access to transportation, putting up barriers to their illegal activities, and holding people accountable for their actions. Those who look the other way, or spend the illicit proceeds of these crimes, must be held to account.

“Some people may say that this is an impossibly difficult task. It is true that like any organized crime, the illegal wildlife trade is a many-headed hydra. Tackling it will be a complex challenge.”

To read the full speech, click here.

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