U.S. Statement After Adoption on Agenda Item A/73/L.120 “Tackling Illicit Trafficking in Wildlife”

Austin Smith
Acting U.S. Representative to ECOSOC
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
September 16, 2019


The United States is pleased today to once again co-sponsor this important resolution on illicit trafficking of wildlife. Wildlife trafficking threatens what we value, our governance structures, and the rule of law. It undermines economic prosperity and communities’ livelihoods, encourages corruption, spreads disease, and pushes species to the brink of extinction.

The United States is pleased to see the additions of some of the most pressing wildlife trafficking challenges of today, in particular, the inclusion of pangolins, the most trafficked mammal species. The United States remains committed to fighting this scourge and stopping the criminals who profit from this illegal trade.

The United States greatly appreciates the efforts of the facilitators and the member states that participated actively in the negotiations and displayed sincere commitment to finding compromise and making progress on this important issue.

We are disappointed, however, that not all member states approached these negotiations in a similar spirit of good faith and compromise. We regret we were not able to make progress in modernizing and updating outdated language that not only lacks any connection to the topic of the resolution but which the United States and many other member states have repeatedly made clear is inappropriate for inclusion in multilateral settings. We join consensus today because we place great importance on combatting wildlife trafficking, and in the future we hope to see a common commitment to a spirit of compromise and flexibility by our fellow member states.
Thank you, Madame President.