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UNODC Develops Guidelines for Ivory Sampling to Combat Illegal Trade

ICCWC6 December 2013: The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), together with the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC), recently hosted a meeting to develop guidelines for ivory sampling and analysis to be employed at wildlife crime scenes and by forensic laboratories.

The UNODC workshop, held from 4-6 December, 2013, in Vienna, Austria, brought together forensic scientists, law enforcement experts and prosecutors to discuss ways to support the international community's fight against wildlife crime. UNODC's Director of the Division for Operations, Aldo Lale-Demos, referred to illegal ivory trade as a rapidly growing transnational organized crime.

The UNODC meeting took place shortly after the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Botswana convened the African Elephant Summit, during which key range, transit and destination States: urgently called for the development of a network of forensic laboratories equipped to trace the origin of seized ivory for DNA and isotopic analysis; and adopted measures to classify wildlife trafficking as a “serious crime,” an annotation that will unlock international law enforcement cooperation provided under the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime. [UNODC Press Release] [IUCN Press Release]