By Rolf Rosenkranz
It’s a big week for environmental activists and sustainable development advocates in New York, as world leaders descend upon Manhattan for the Clinton Global Initiative and United Nations General Assembly annual meetings as well as a flurry of side events.
Hillary Clinton is expected to announce on Thursday a new initiative to combat wildlife trafficking that involves several nonprofits and other stakeholders. The initiative dovetails with efforts Clinton started during her tenure as U.S. secretary of state, which laid the groundwork for the Presidential Task Force on Wildlife Trafficking, announced by U.S. President Barack Obama in Tanzania this July.
Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea, who is now vice-chair of the Clinton Foundation, wrote last month that wildlife trafficking, especially around elephant tusks, is not just an ecological problem but a social, economic and security concern as well.
“To help end this crisis, we need a complete systems change, and we need to recognize that elephant poaching exists within its own market system – we need to stop the killing, stop the trafficking, and stop the demand by educating end consumers,” Clinton wrote on the Clinton Foundation website.
Meanwhile, the so-called “Ocean Elders” — a group including billionaire philanthropists Richard Branson and Ted Turner —are meeting with environmental leaders and activists to hash out funding priorities and a strategy to ensure environmental stewardship will be incorporated in a global development blueprint to succeed the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. An initial proposal by a high-level panel of leaders appointed by U.N. Secretary Ban Ki-moon will be discussed across town at the U.N. General Assembly.
“I am thrilled & slightly nervous” to present to the Ocean Elders on Monday, Geoff Green, founder of the Students on Ice Foundation, tweeted early in the day. More....