September 14, 2016
Protecting Wildlife in Europe
Protecting wildlife is a key aspect of Humane Society International’s work in Europe. In recent years, our team in Brussels has played a pivotal role in achieving and strengthening the historic EU ban on trade in seal products and closing the loopholes in the EU shark finning legislation. Through our political lobby, we have also ensured the inclusion of animal welfare provisions in new EU legislation on invasive alien species, which offers the possibility to crack down on the exotic pet trade as well.
Wildlife policy work
Much of HSI/Europe’s work on wildlife is policy-based. Our Brussels team works to ensure that the European Parliament adopts strong reports and resolutions that cover a wide variety of issues, such as wildlife trafficking, whaling and trophy hunting. We organise events to raise awareness and stimulate discussion among MEPs and other policymakers and to ensure that important wildlife issues are placed on the EU political agenda. We also regularly meet with the European Commission and representatives of EU Member State governments to discuss wildlife-related issues.
Multilateral environmental agreements
The EU—with its 28 Member States—is an important actor on the international stage and plays a major role in decision-making with regard to multilateral environmental agreements, such as CITES, CMS and ICRW. We believe that the EU should demonstrate global leadership in tackling the (illegal) trade in wildlife species and the protection of terrestrial and marine environments.
Our Brussels team works closely with the experts in the HSI wildlife department to encourage EU policymakers both at the Brussels and national government levels to take the strongest positions to protect wildlife within these international fora. CITES is an important focus of our work, particularly since the EU acceded as a party to this international convention.
Protecting wildlife through trade policy
The protection of wildlife is also a crucial aspect of HSI/Europe’s work on international trade policy. HSI/Europe believes that all of the trade deals negotiated by the EU should incorporate a chapter on sustainable development, which include strong measures to protect threatened wildlife from trade, to implement and enforce critical multilateral environmental agreements, such as CITES. We contend that the sustainable development chapters of EU Free Trade Agreements should also be subject to binding dispute settlement mechanisms to ensure that they can be properly enforced and the parties meet their commitments to protecting wildlife.
FTAs can make an important contribution to wildlife protection because they can commit countries to passing new environmental laws and/or to properly enforce existing ones. They are also able to help deliver training and capacity building to trade partners. These trade deals can also make the parties commit resources to protecting wildlife and environment, and also to promote environmental cooperation and information exchange. Become a Wildlife Defender.