The visiting multiparty delegation includes Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Nimal Siripala de Silva, State Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Management Palitha Range Bandara, Members of Parliament Vijitha Herath, Kumara Welgama and M.A. Sumanthiran, and Deputy Secretary General of Parliament Neil Iddawala. (Colombo Gazette) Separately, the Sri Lankan delegation also had talks with several US legislators. A Sri Lankan Parliament delegation led by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya had talks with US Speaker Paul Ryan while on a visit to the US yesterday (Thursday), the Sri Lankan Embassy in the US said.The Sri Lankan multi-party delegation met the US Speaker at Capitol Hill.
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge gives the keynote speech at the 2018 Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference in London Credit:Chris Jackson/AFP “This is not a war that can be won by one state. We must look at organised crime at an international level.”“The natural heritage in African countries is not just our heritage. It is global heritage. But there is a paucity of resources. There is often no budget and we need some commitment in terms of funding.”The British government announced it would spend £900,000 to develop a new military anti-poaching task force. The unit will see soldiers deployed to train wildlife rangers in counter poaching techniques. It expands on ranger training programs launched in Gabon and Malawi earlier this year. However, African leaders and conservationists have warned that rhetoric has not translated into the commitment of resources equal to the scale of the challenge. The Duke of Cambridge has urged international law enforcement to follow the tactics used to snare Al Capone to catch drug lords and people traffickers, in a bid to end the illegal trading of ivory.The Duke, who gave a landmark speech outlining plans to end the illegal wildlife trade at a conference in London, said the world must treat it as the “serious organised crime that it is”.Saying the trade of animal parts was too often seen as “a lucrative and relatively low-risk activity”, he urged police and border forces to use it as a way to capture international criminal gangs.His comments came as African governments called for a $1 billion commitment to help them fight international poaching syndicates who are though to slaughter tens of elephants every day. Trafficking in ivory, rhino horn, and other wildlife products is thought to be worth £18 billion a year, making it the world’s fourth largest organised criminal industry. The first illegal wildlife trade conference in London in 2014 led to a ban on the ivory trade in China which came into force earlier this year. The Elephant Protection Initiative, an alliance of 19 African countries who have drawn up their own national plans to combat poaching, called for £1 billion in funding for national action plans over the next 10 years.Dr Hamisi Kigwangalla, Tanzania’s minister for natural resources, told the Telegraph: Addressing conservationists, businesses, and political leaders gathered in London to discuss efforts to combat the illegal wildlife trade yesterday/THURS, the Duke said: It is heart-breaking to think that by the time my children George, Charlotte and Louis are in their twenties, elephants, rhinos and tigers might well be extinct in the wild.I for one am not willing to look my children in the eye and say that we were the generation that let this happen on our watch.“I am not asking anyone in this room to prioritise efforts to fight the illegal wildlife trade above drug trafficking or money laundering,” he said. “But I am asking you to see the connections. To acknowledge that the steps you take to tackle illegal wildlife crime could make it easier to halt the shipments of guns and drugs passing through your borders. Remember – Al Capone was convicted of tax evasion, not murder.”