The Seventh Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime met to discuss the many facets of global crime, including new forms of transnational organized crime focused on the trafficking of people, human organs, and wildlife as well as forest crime. The Conference featured an exhibit on rhinoceros poaching.
On the Conference, UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Executive Director Yury Fedotov said, "Hardly a day goes by without news of the tragic deaths of smuggled migrants, humans being cruelly trafficked, firearms being smuggled and the terrible loss of wildlife and forests that are everyone's heritage." He added that the goal of the Conference was to "build global support against these crimes based on nations pooling resources, sharing information and conducting joint operations against the criminals."
The featured exhibition on rhinoceros poaching, prepared by UNODC with the support of Getty Images, was based on the reportage 'Rhino Wars' and displayed award-winning photographs highlighting the impact of wildlife crime in South Africa. South Africa is one of the most targeted countries by rhinoceros poachers; in 2007, 13 rhinoceros were poached in the country; by 2011 this had jumped to 448. In 2013, the number more than doubled to 1,003. On the trend, UNDOC indicates that crime syndicates have recently started adding rhinoceros poaching to their portfolios, driven by rising demand and prices for rhinoceros horn in Asia.
With 191 Member States as Parties, the Convention forms the legal basis for international cooperation against all types of serious crimes. UNODC is mandated to assist Member States in their struggle against illicit drugs, crime and terrorism. Its Global Programme for Combating Wildlife and Forest Crime supports regional and national law-enforcement responses against the criminal poaching of protected species. The COP was held in Vienna, Austria from 6-10 October 2014.