tv [untitled] May 26, 2012 2:30am-3:00am EDT
including gun shot acceleratometers to measure fine movements and all, and to perhaps track ivory and rhino horn as it goes through its illegal movements. the other main priority is to tackle demand for ivory. currently, china emerges as the leading driver of illegal trade in ivory. according to the kenya wildlife service, 90% of ivory seized at kenya's airports involved chinese nationals and since 2007, demand of illegal ivory seized in kenya has gone up by 800%. in hindsight, it looks as if the new spike in results poaching crisis was xexacerbated by the decision in 2008 to allow one off sail in china of illegal ivory. this seems to have stimulated demand as we predicted might be
the case. it doesn't seem to be problematical now for chinese consumers to buy ivory if some of it is legal and some isn't. it creates confusion. i visited china in october. to learn how the chinese regarded their own elephants. the last of the wild chinese elephants still out in the forest. i learned that the chinese highly value their own wild elephants and they're strictly protected. if china would develop leadership role in africa as well as in their own country with a respect to elephants, much of the problem could be solved. if the buying stops, the killing can, too. it is a phrase borrowed from an ngo wild aid, but has much truth. so for the first time in history, large numbers of
chinese are living in africa and individually shipping out the ivory. there's more disposable income in china today than the history, ivory being a luxury commodity. the ivory trade controlling internally. in other words, those controls are imagined to be at the heart of the last one off sales have failed. finally, the united states government should could use its considerable diplomatic influence to join with china in a leadership role to take immediate measures to end the illegal trade. china's recent actions are very welcomed, but need to be sustained over the long-term. idealy, the u.s. government could share some awareness over the situation and work for the joint leadership of china to solve the problem. if china would declare
unilateral ten-year moritorium on ivory imports, it would be a better future in africa and thailand must enact serious reforms to control its ivory market. failing these needed actions, the u.s. government should ensure that those countries driving the demand are held to task at the upcoming society's conference of the parties in march 2013. maybe the u.s. should consider application of the amendment and sanctions process that law offers in cases where sight is being seriously undermined. i can think of no wildlife trade situation more serious than facing the african elephant. thank you for giving your precious time to listen to the plight of elephants. referring to prehistoric elephants 10,000 years ago, they lived here in this country and i
hope we can avoid repeating the hunting that led to their demise. thank you. >> thank you very much, dr. douglas hamilton. i understand you have a video? >> yes. >> how long is the video? >> i think it's just a few -- a minute or two. >> can we show that now before we have -- >> yes. it comes from bbc panorama. >> the largest animal on earth is under threat. some herds are being decimated at an alarming rate. >> we're truly worried about the future of elephants. some places have lost almost all their elephants. >> they're still being hunted for their ivory, despite its trade ban in place for more than 20 years. >> after what the elephant that was killed, these people are armed and very well armed.
>> even the youngest are in the firing line. >> over there, has got a clear wound. >> and seizures of illegal ivory are at a new high. >> what is at the heart of the illegal killing of elephants in africa can be summarized in one word. >> money. >> how much is this one? >> we go undercover to find the ivory dealers. >> $10,000 for one. >> we see the new technology being used to track down the criminals. >> if poach these poacher rs hammering the same area over and over and over again. >> we go on the trail of the poachers, smugglers and organized crime. into a web that takes us to southeast asia and beyond. to the biggest ivory buyer of all. >> 90% of all the people who are
arrested at the airports selling ivory are chinese. >> china is the future for elephants. if china can curb its demand, elephants will survive in africa. >> one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. >> but can this demand be stifled? or is it already too late? >> it sums it up pretty effectively. thank you very, very much, doctor. >> thank you, mr. chairman. senator coons and members of the community. i appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today to make the connection between illegal wildlife trafficking and national security. global financial integrity is a washington d.c. based research
organization that has focused on the o pasty of the global financial system, facilitating role the lack of transparency plays in money laundering and corruption and the threat it poses to the security of all nations. ivory poaching like all forms of illegal wildlife trade is a very profitable business. global financial integrity estimated the value of the elicit trade in all forms of wildlife excluding fissihing ad up to $10 billion annually. in recent years, militias, terrorist elements have taken notice of the profits that can be made in wildlife trafficking, generating an alarming uptick in the scale of the industry and proposing serious national security concerns for the u.s. and our partners. networks involved routinely use sophisticated money laundering
schemes to move profits and shield from prosecution. use of anonymous shell companies often layered across multijurs dictions is one of the most effective tools available to money launderers. they are frequently used not just by traffickers, but also by terrorists, drug cartels, armed dealers, tax e vvadeevaders, ro states, so easily launder their money. unfortunately, the united states is a breeding ground for these shell corporations. it is estimated that nearly 2 million companies are established in the u.s. year and the vast majority of them are not required to provide any information, neither names addresses, about the true owners ov the firms. this means that owners were opaque to law enforcement.
while most shell companies are likely to be involved in legitimate businesses, u.s. national security is left to chance because of our inability to tell the difference between an llc created by a dentist in texas and one set up by a government entity in tehran. victor boot victor boot, the so-called merchant of death who provided arms to taliban, the farc, controlled at least a dozen shell corporations which were registered in texas, florida and delaware. additionally, a recent world bank report revealed u.s. was the local of choice r for corrupt politicians. it is also important to ensure when good laws are in place to counter money laundering, financial institutions comply with the law. recent reports have raised concerns this may not be the
case. a recent study from the british government revealed that 75% of u.k. banks were not sufficiently complying with antimoney laundering regulationregulation. there's no reason to believe the situation is different at american banks. major american financial institutions, including the former wachovia bank, hvcs bank, have not been performing adequate due diligence on their customers. congress should address these problems. senate bill 1483 is bipartisan legislation that will establish beneficial ownership registries. the bill is hardly supported by the departments of jus its, treasury and home land security and many law enforcement organizations also endorse the bill.
by implementing s 1483, not only will the nation's curt be stronger, the united states will secure the moral high ground needed to encourage its allies like the financial action task force in paris, the g8 and g20 to consider ownership registries as the new international norm. primary point i want to make today is that the mechanisms in the global financial system that permit the laundering of illegal i' ivory proceeds are the same used by drug tar cartels and terrorist groups. shell companies, secret bank accounts and a host of entities create a facility for tracking of all types. addressing this challenge by creating corporate registries should be a priority for congress. thank you again for the opportunity to address the community. my written testimony has been
provided for further details and i look forward to your questions. >> well, thank you very much. your full testimony will be placed in the record as if read in full. we appreciate it. mr. secretary general. >> thank you very much, chairman kerry and thank you to yourself and to the committee members for your interest in this topic. it's a great honor to have an opportunity to testify before you this morning. was adopted in washington, d.c. at a conference hosted by the united states government and the united states has been a very strong supporter of the implementation since that time. and has been at the forefront of efforts to combat the illegal trade in wildlife. seitz regulates trade in around 35,000 species to be sure that such trade is legal, sustainable and traceable and there is a high volume of legal trade,
which is a multibillion dollar business, but today, we're here talking about another aspect and that is tackling illegal trading of wildlife and this is a growing problem worldwide. the value of this illegal trade is now estimated at being between 5 billion and $20 billion per year, that excludes timber and marine resources and the state of illegal trade and wildlife is further reenforced when you look at the published results of specific operations undertaken by organizations such as interpol and the world customs organization and chair and committee members, it is clear organized crime is actively involved in the illegal trade of wildlife. this has been made clearly interpol, both by its secretary at and governing body and the u.n. office of drugs and crime and there is no doubt that
organized crime is involved in the illegal trade of elephant ivory and rhino horn. we've heard from you this morning about a major spike in the illegal killing and trade of both elephant ivory and with respect to rhino horn and these are reaching levels that cannot be sustained. there have been record numbers of large seizures of elephant ivory, over 800 kilograms. about 1,800 pounds, i think in weight. you can't take 800 kilograms of ivory from central africa, export it through east africa and through asia without organized and sophisticated networks. and with rhino, we've gone from 13 illegally killed in south africa killed in 2007, to 448 illegally killed in 2011 and the numbers are up to 220 this year
putting us on track for illegal killings of up to 600. this is despite the best efforts of the south african government, which is really enhanced its effort. exist with the objective of sharing the survival of species in the wild, but the impacts goes well beyond the species. criminal syndicates use viole e violence, they're well armed, savvy in the use of modern technology and adoptive in avoiding detection. they're exploiting local people in some of the poorest countries on the planet, corrupting officials and wounding and killing enforcement officers in the field. as such, they are depriving local people of legitimate development choices and states of revenue, not to mention robbing states of their natural
resources. this is undermining governments, the rule of law, security and it must be stopped. the example chair has been given by you this morning regarding cameroon and ian reenforced that as well, but there, we had rebels coming across from two states into northern cameroon, messaging elephants for the purpose of getting their ivory to finance activities they want to take with respect to local conflicts. can can i give you another example? it's not in my written testimony, but we're just finishing a video on u.n. television on rhino. it's in krueger national park in south africa where we've interviewed local people relying on the park and the rhino there for their livelihoods. the final comment by the woman was this. when you're killing rhino, you're killing us. you can't put it any better than this. these syndicates are hard to
beat. as has been pointed out, there are high profits to be made with respect to rhino horn, black market price has gone up to $65,000 a kilogram. well above the price of gold. the risk of defection is low and if you are tected, the risk of prosecution is low and the risk of being incarcerated is low in far too many cases. but we know how to beat these syndicat syndicates. we just have to apply it more often and with greater vig or and the risks associated not only to wildlife, but the risk associated to local people, governments and to security is such that we must up the ante. we need to take additional measures in terms of legislation, the penalties and in terms of enforcement measures. we need to take further coordinating efforts and we must
move beyond seizures. we must move beyond seize yur and after convictions, to start incarcerating these people committing these crimes. chairman, it should not be elephants, rhino tigers that are behind bars. it should be the poachers and the smugglers that are behind bars and that is our objective. we need to up the an ante politically as well. at the highest possible level, saying that this activity will not be tolerated. whether it from a range state, a transit state or the consumer state. and we have to look further at resourcing. in terms of human resources, the sharing of technology and financial resources. we've had the opportunity to work in many different organizations over the years and i can say that you can get very
high returns for investing in this area for a minimal investment. there is some progress in a number of areas that i'd like to highlight. we have seen the creation of the international consortium on combatting wildlife crime at the national level. a consortium of interpol, u.n. office of drugs and and the wor customs organization signed off by the head of all organizations, be it president, secretary general, executive director. providing coordinated support, including to the network of wildlife enforcement networks that the u.s. has been so supportive of. and we've seen good national coordination if it's emerging in south africa, china, and right here in the united states. at a political level chair, we're very happy to see the outcome of the u.s.-china strategic and economic dialogue in may of this year with paragraph 47 said that china and the united states would work together to combat illegal trade in wildlife, and they'll have a meeting in june following up on the implementation of that paragraph.
chairman, but society has no financial mechanism. the global environment facility does not serve as a financial mechanism to this convention. where it does serve as a mechanism on biological diversity and others. this is a historic anomaly that we also believe we have an opportunity to correct, to let parties of societies to have access to a financial mechanism to tackle this major problem. chair, the 40th anniversary of our convention will be in march next year. the convention is known as both cites and in some parts of the world the washington convention. this coincide was the 16th meeting of the parties and that provides was a wonderful opportunity to take stock, to put in place new initiatives, to send very clear ancon size political messages regarding not tolerating this crime and to opening up the global environment facility to cities. we're only going to succeed if there is strong action taken at a level in all states, but we
desperately need ongoing international support. in your inspiring open remarks, you said issues deserving attention need to get focus, and we certainly greatly appreciate, chair, the focus that you're giving and your economy is giving to this critical issue, and we greatly appreciate the support the united states is providing and has historically provided to tackling this elicit trade in wildlife. i thank you again. >> well, thank you very much, mr. secretary. we appreciate it. appreciate your leadership and what citis is trying to do. i know it's difficult. that's interesting about the financial mechanism. i'll sort of follow up on that in a moment. let me begin. i want to try to bear down on a couple things here. dr. douglas-hamilton has said that he thinks the single thing that might have the greatest impact, and that would really, quote, save the elephant is to
have the biggest consumer country, china, reinstate unilaterally the import ban. could you speak to that, secretary general? do you concur that that would have the single greatest impact? >> chair, we've got -- the major consumer states of ivory appear to be china and thailand. with respect to rhino horn, it seems to be vietnam, seems to be the primary end destination for rhino horn. issues on whether or not to open up trade or not we leave within the realm of the parties to determine. they were the two one-off sales as you're aware in terms of elephant ivory following the ban in 1989. we'll be issuing a standing report to our committee within july of this year. it will include a thorough analysis of where we are at the moment with respect to illegal trade and illegal killing in
elephants. clearly, the issue of demand has to be tackled if we can curb demand, we can curb supply. the parties or individual societies might want to put into place, i will leave it to them. >> we had -- there was a ban in place for a number of years, correct? how many years did we have the ban in place? >> it was the best part of 20 years. >> and there was a ban globally on any kind of importation, wasn't this? >> that's correct. but it was relaxed to allow some sales of stockpiles from countries that did not have a poaching problem. >> when was it relaxed? >> the secretary general can probably answer that exactly. i think it was 2008 was one of the times. and it had been a previous ivory sale to that. >> and it was relax with respect to a few countries only? >> yes. botswana and namibia and south
africa initially, and i think zimbabwe is included as well. >> as being allowed to export it? >> they were allowed to sell their ivory stocks in a one-off sale. the most recent one was those four countries. and they were allowed to sell to only two countries of which china was one and japan was the other. and china in fact came on board at the last minute. they applied to be given that special buyers status. >> who signed off on that? who granted that permission? >> that was granted by the standing committee of the cites convention, i believe. >> so cites, in effect, cites has the ability to come back and reverse that, doesn't it? >> i don't know that they do. >> i'm asking cites. >> since we have cites here, secretary general, since cites relaxed it, could cites tighten it up again? >> thank you, chair, yes. the ban was put in place in
1989. there were two what were called one-off sales. they have been completed. so the ban on the legal trade in ivory remains in place. there were two what i call one-off sales because they were for existing stockpiles. it was approved by the conference of the parties and only approved to two states as herein instated, japan and china. if trade were to be reopened, it would require another decision of the conference of the parties. >> so what you're saying is the only thing that was relaxed was the one-off sale? >> yes. there were two one-off sales. >> and the two one-off sales took place as to two countries, thailand and japan? >> japan and china. excuse me. it appears if that has indeed whetted the appetite? >> i'd say there are differing opinions on that, chair. there are some who are very strongly of the view it has whetted the appetite and has opened up trade there are others
who have quite a contrary view who don't see a correlation between it. i would say there are mixed views on that. the secretariat will express itself to the standing committee next -- >> well, the bottom line remains that you've got two countries, maybe three that stand out for their illegal activities. china, thailand, and vietnam. thailand and china as to the elephant, correct? >> in terms of end states, china and thailand on all the analysis we do seem to be the largest end states. not the only ones, but the largest of end trade. vietnam is the final end state in rhino horn. >> given that reality, you have to -- i mean, my experience in law enforcement certainly dealing with drugs and other issues, but also on this
committee in the 1980s, we did a lot of work on narcotics globally. and that led us to do a lot of work on the banking structure and some of these opaque issues, et cetera, which i understand are very damaging. but the question is, i mean, i think you have to approach this comprehensively. but certainly china getting tougher on the importation, i mean if you can sell openly, and people are buying and trading and everybody knows it's going on, there is no penalty, you have got a problem. so it seems to me those countries are going to have to join in to the enforcement effort. is there something more that they could do? >> thank you, chair. just with respect to china, they've put in place quite significant enforcement-related measures. i've visited there several times and have met most of the enforcement authorities. they probably have one of the world's largest management
authorities with 122 staff. the reason why we are aware that china is such a destination is because of the success of chinese customs in making large scale seizures because the data we rely upon comes from the state that actually carries out the seizure. and china has been very effective in closing down a number of its ports. that's why we're seeing now a number of the syndicates trying to go through cambodia, lao pdr or malaysia because of the effective action at china at the border. they just late last year put in place a coordinating enforcement mechanism. and just a few months ago, they mobilized around 100,000 enforcement offices across the country to carry out a major enforcement activity. so i'd say they're fully engaged in the enforcement initiative. i think the area that we have to focus on here and we're in discussion with china is with respect to domestic controls, and whether the domestic controls that allowed legal trade in ivory have loosened, and we need to get them
tightened up in a way that doesn't allow the laundering of illegally traded ivory through the legal market. and that's an area where i think -- not i think. we're in dialogue in terms of a way of strengthening it. >> i want to come back in a few minutes to the front line of enforcement. i mean there are certain different lines here and tiers. i know senator coons, who has been with us since the beginning, has a schedule conflict. so i want to allow him to ask a few questions here without any regard to time. take your time and ask what you need to. >> thank you, senator kerry. >> i just note, it's sort of interesting that we have three democrats here trying to preserve the republican party symbol. [ laughter ] senator coons, go ahead. >> the chairman leaves me uncharacteristically speechless. that is amusing. thank you, chairman. and thank you to the panel. i just wanted to follow up briefly with some questions since i