The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was finalised and signed on 3 March 1973. This year marks its 40th anniversary. To commemorate the occasion, 3 March was chosen as the first World Wildlife Day.
The European Union may attain the status of a member state in CITES, but an amendment to allow this status to be achieved has not yet been ratified. Nonetheless, Eurojust has made efforts to address environmental crime in the European Union. One of the goals of Eurojust’s strategic project on environmental crime, approved in April 2013, is to suggest improvements in the use of existing legal instruments, with a special focus, among other things, on penalties and trafficking in endangered species.
On 27 and 28 November 2013, Eurojust co-organised, with the European Network of Prosecutors for the Environment, and hosted a strategic seminar on environmental crime. Attending the meeting were national prosecutors, representatives from the EU agencies and institutions, international organisations, networks, and academia. Mr Juan Carlos Vasquez, Legal and Trade Policy Officer, CITES Secretariat, also attended the seminar.
One of the case examples discussed during the seminar was the Bird-Egg case, involving Sweden, the UK and Finland. Eurojust assisted in setting up a joint investigation team (JIT), participated in the JIT, facilitated the communication of sensitive information, and provided vital funding that enabled an ornithologist to be engaged in the case. Eurojust also published a newsletter on the topic of environmental crime, in which a detailed summary of the Bird-Egg case was provided. See Eurojust News.
For further information on World Wildlife Day, please visit the website of CITES.