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A speech by The Duke of Cambridge at the United for Wildlife Financial Taskforce Declaration Signing

Published 10 October 2018

This trade has become the fourth largest criminal trafficking enterprise in the world, with billions of pounds flowing into the black market.

The Prince of Wales

Good afternoon everybody. Thank you, Sir David for hosting us here in Mansion House today.

And thank you, Lord Hague for having your arm twisted yet again to Chair the United for Wildlife Financial Taskforce. Your ongoing support in tackling the illegal wildlife trade helps keep all of our feet to the fire!

A few weeks ago I was offered the opportunity to view a stockpile of ivory in Tanzania. So many of tusks in that stockpile were the result of illegal poaching. It was a grim reminder of the many thousands of elephants who had been killed.

It was also a stark and horrifying reminder of the global criminal network that profits on the back of it. The rows-upon-rows of tusks could have quite easily been drugs or guns, or bundles of laundered cash. 

This trade has become the fourth largest criminal trafficking enterprise in the world, with billions of pounds flowing into the black market.

We cannot afford for this fight to be a priority solely for conservationists any more.

It is an issue for all of us.

We need to take these criminals on from every direction. One particularly vital way is to follow the money.

Much of this criminal activity takes advantage of everyday banking facilities. And that is why we are all here today.

You are all on the front line.

Those of you around this table are the people tasked with delivering this agenda in your organisations. And your organisations are around this table because you are leaders on the world stage.

I very much hope that this group will be the start of a united effort that will grow in size, in global-reach, and in strength and power.

Thank you for being the founding members of this taskforce and this declaration.

By disrupting the income of the illegal wildlife trade, we can disrupt a global criminal enterprise that brings great harm to communities all around the world.

And we will be part of something that protects wildlife for future generations.

The Mansion House Declaration is a clear demonstration of your collective commitment to tackle the illegal wildlife trade with the severity of any other financial crime.

Everybody's presence here today is a concrete demonstration of how the private sector, Government, NGOs and law enforcement are committed to working together.

You are recognising that the illegal wildlife trade is a serious organised crime that cannot be ignored.

I very much look forward to hearing today how you plan to work together on a coordinated strategy, share best practise across the finance industry, and ensure you have the maximum possible impact.

Thank you very much.