At the invitation of the United Nations University (UNU), Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya spoke at the World Wildlife Conference at the headquarters of the UNU in Tokyo on 4 March 2014. The Tokyo Conference coincided with the World Wildlife Day and focused on sharing information to improve efforts in combating illegal wildlife trade. High-level delegations from Africa, including the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities of Uganda, H.E. Ms. Maria Mutagamba and the Director of the Lusaka Agreement Task Force, Mr. Bonaventure Ebayi, as well as representatives of international organizations, civil society and academics attended the meeting.
After delivering an opening address to explain Customs contribution to protecting endangered species, Secretary General Mikuriya participated in the panel session on evidence-based policy making for wildlife conservation where he stressed the vital role of evidence-based research to raise awareness amongst policy makers and consumers, and inform Customs officers of trade patterns to enable them to conduct risk-based operations. He also underlined the importance of accurate trade data to provide a basis for evidence-based research but also for Customs risk management, international cooperation and the subsequent investigation in collaboration with justice and law enforcement agencies. These efforts will facilitate both Africa, major source countries, and Asia, major destination countries, to take necessary actions.
The Tokyo Conference demonstrated the willingness of the international community to increase their efforts to protect wildlife in collaboration with multi-disciplinary stakeholders.