Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – Etihad Airways has launched a collaborative project with the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) in a bid to combat illegal wildlife trafficking.
Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, recently hosted the Combating Wildlife Trafficking workshop at its headquarters in Abu Dhabi, attended by 37 representatives of national entities and other key stakeholders involved in the fight against wildlife trafficking. Speakers from The Royal Foundation and United for Wildlife discussed the current situation in enforcement in wildlife trafficking and provided an insight into the international methods used to counter smuggling.
The workshop aimed to improve knowledge of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which the UAE has been a signatory to since 1990. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and Al Ain Municipality also provided a comprehensive introduction to CITES as well as guidance on CITES permits to help prevent identity forgery and ensure authenticity.
Muna Omran Majed Al Shamsi, Head of CITES at MOCCAE, said: “Wildlife trafficking, particularly in endangered species, is a global concern, and the UAE is no exception. The country has pledged to crack down on the wildlife trafficking cycle, from sellers to buyers, and MOCCAE is leading the efforts.”
She added: “As part of this priority, the Ministry partners with various public and private sector entities to run awareness campaigns. The joint workshop with Etihad Airways seeks to educate stakeholders on tactics used by wildlife smugglers that are becoming increasingly sophisticated.”
Mariam Al Qubaisi, Head of Sustainability, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “Etihad’s corporate social responsibility programme addresses a wide range of global concerns and we are proud of the efforts we have made to ensure the protection of wildlife. We recognise that many animal species around the world are in danger of extinction if efforts are not made to protect them. Hosting this workshop gave us the opportunity to collaborate with a number of like-minded organisations to help further this cause.”
Additionally, Etihad Cargo, the cargo and logistics arm of Etihad Aviation Group, hosted the 46th Annual Conference of the Animal Transportation Association (ATA) at the St Regis Abu Dhabi. Here, it was announced Etihad would start work on its third International Air Transport Association (IATA) certification, IATA CEIV (Center of Excellence for Independent Validators) Live. The certification will provide further accreditation to support the handling of live animals on Etihad’s cargo planes.
Etihad Airways has a strong commitment to the protection and preservation of wildlife. In March 2016, the airline was 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 in London.
Etihad has also drafted its own comprehensive Animal Welfare and Conservation Policy, which pledges its support for wildlife conservation. The cargo team enforces strict cargo protocols to prevent the carriage of endangered and threatened species, hunting trophies containing any animal parts, shark fins and live animals intended for use in scientific research.