Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, is one of the signatories to the Declaration of the United for Wildlife International Taskforce on the Transportation of Illegal Wildlife Products signed at Buckingham Palace yesterday.
Led by HRH The Duke of Cambridge, the United for Wildlife initiative aims to support efforts to prevent the growing trade in illegal wildlife and products around the world. The taskforce for transportation has identified the specific role that the transport industry can play in helping to support the efforts of what The Duke of Cambridge refers to as ‘the race against extinction’.
The ambitious declaration documents eleven commitments which require signatories to commit to supporting global efforts to prevent illegal wildlife smuggling, through putting in place real measures where the transport industry specifically can help shut down routes exploited by traffickers.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways President and Chief Executive Officer, who signed the declaration on behalf of the airline, said: “We recognise the significant role that the airlines can play in preventing the smuggling of wildlife and products. Whilst the airlines cannot act as regulators, we are able to support enforcement authorities and assist in raising passenger awareness. We encourage others in this sector to sign up to this declaration to help prevent this abhorrent practice.“
The declaration focuses on breaking the link between the demand for illegal wildlife products around the world and the escalating poaching crisis in places such as Africa. Airlines are seen as key partners, able to increase passenger awareness, provide capacity building at airports and work closely to support the efforts of customs and law enforcement authorities.
To address the commitments the airline will be working closely with IATA, the global airline association and another signatory to the Declaration, on shared initiatives.
Etihad Airways is also engaged with animal welfare on a broader scale, as part of its efforts to reduce its ‘Animal Footprint’. The airline works in partnership with the international wildlife NGO, the Born Free Foundation to ensure the airline’s holiday activities and the transportation of animals have a minimal impact on animal welfare and conservation. It is developing policies and programmes to reduce this risk.