(26 Sep 2021) Qatar Airways has extended its participation in the USAID ROUTES (Reducing Opportunities for Unlawful Transport of Endangered Species) Partnership, reinforcing its commitment to combat illegal trafficking of wildlife and its products.
Qatar Airways, a founding member of the United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce, signed the historic Buckingham Palace Declaration in 2016 aimed at taking real steps to shut down the routes exploited by traffickers of the illegal wildlife trade to move their products.
Subsequently in May 2017, the airline went on to sign the first Memorandum of Understanding with the ROUTES Partnership. In May 2019, the airline became the world’s first to achieve certification to the Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) Assessment, confirming that Qatar Airways has procedures, staff training and reporting protocols in place that make the smuggling of illegal wildlife products more challenging.
The Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) Assessment was developed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), with the support of ROUTES, as part of IEnvA – IATA’s environmental management and evaluation system for airlines.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said, “The illegal and unsustainable wildlife trade threatens our global biodiversity, and poses a risk to health and safety, particularly in marginalised communities. We are taking measures to disrupt this illicit trade in order to conserve biodiversity and safeguard our delicate ecosystems. We remain committed with other aviation industry leaders to emphasise our zero-tolerance policy towards illegal trafficking of wildlife and its products, and we join the ROUTES Partnership in saying – ‘It Doesn’t Fly With Us’. We will continue to work with our stakeholders to raise awareness and improve detection of illegal wildlife activities to protect these creatures that we value.”
Despite restricted travel during the COVID19 pandemic, reports of illegal wildlife seizures over the past year have revealed that traffickers are still taking their chances to smuggle contraband through the air transport system. Earlier this month, authorities in Malaysia seized 50 rhino horns and horn pieces from a vehicle near KLIA in the country’s largest rhino horn seizure since 2018.
Mr. Crawford Allan, the ROUTES Partnership Lead, said, “Through its actions on raising awareness, training and including wildlife trafficking within its policies, Qatar Airways has demonstrated its commitment to the Buckingham Palace Declaration and to the goal of the ROUTES Partnership. I am proud to see that Qatar Airways is continuing these efforts and being part of a growing number of companies to say It Doesn’t Fly With Us.”