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Princes William and Harry officially open 2018 Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference

Prince William and Prince Harry hosted a reception at St. James’s Palace last night ahead of the opening of the 2018 Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference, which will be held in London from 11-12 October.

Nearly 80 countries around the world are involved in the Conference, with heads of states, ministers and other government officials taking part in talks.

The objectives of the Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference are, per the UK government’s website, are to focus on tackling illegal wildlife trade as a serious organised crime, building coalitions to stop it, and closing the markets for products.

“The illegal wildlife trade not only endangers some of our most iconic species of wildlife, but is a serious organised crime and damages the livelihoods of some of the world’s poorest communities,” says the government’s website.

Prince William gave a speech at the reception, saying that “This is a global summit because the urgent challenge of the illegal wildlife trade is one we face as a global community… This crime continues to hamper sustainable development, undermine the rule of law and deprive local communities of some of their most valuable natural resources.

“And, of course, it threatens some of the world’s most iconic species with the very real prospect of extinction from the wild.”

In a videotaped message, Prince Charles gave a short speech praising the work of his sons, noting that “I can only say here how proud I am of the role my elder son, William, has played as a leader in this area, helping to raise the issue higher up the global agenda, including working with the Chinese government on the introduction of the ivory ban.”

Prince Charles also complimented Prince Harry’s work, saying that he’d been “engaging communities across Africa in order to try and help build a sustainable future for people and wildlife.”

Prince William, who recently returned from a week-long trip to Africa, where he visited Namibia, Tanzania and Kenya on behalf of his work for United for Wildlife and Tusk Trust, will give the keynote speech on Thursday, the Conference’s opening day.

“Action is required now,” said Prince William last night at St. James’s Palace. “It is only by pulling together across charities, industries and government agencies, as well as across borders and continents, that we will truly succeed in ending this senseless crime.”



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Jess is a communications professional and freelance writer who lives in Halifax and has a passion for all things royal, particularly the British Royal Family.