Introductory Remarks at the EEDIM Side Event on “Women’s Leadership in Combating Conservation Crimes”

OSCE Economic and Environmental Dimension Implementation Meeting (EEDIM) Side Event on “Women’s Leadership in Combating Conservation Crimes”

Introductory Remarks at the EEDIM Side Event on “Women’s Leadership in Combating Conservation Crimes”

As delivered by Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Elisabeth Rosenstock-Siller
to the EEDIM Side Event on “Women’s Leadership in Combating Conservation Crimes”, Vienna
October 18, 2021

Dear Friends and Colleagues, 

Thank you so much for joining us here today.  The United States and the OSCE Group of Friends on the Environment are very pleased to co-host this event on women’s leadership in combating conservation crimes.  Our discussion today will touch upon the nexus of many of the topics we have discussed throughout the year – including women’s empowerment, combating corruption, environmental protection, and good governance.

The United States is committed to combating biodiversity loss and conservation crimes.  We hope this year the OSCE Ministerial Council will adopt a decision on the environment that commits participating States and the Organization to conserve biodiversity and mitigate environmental degradation, and will strengthen efforts to combat trafficking in wildlife, timber, and precious metals.  We remain convinced the OSCE can play a valuable role in sharing best practices on adopting national legislation, investigating and prosecuting trafficking in natural resources, combating money laundering and corruption associated with this illegal trade, and engaging the private sector and civil society to reduce demand for illegal wildlife products and raise awareness of its costs.  

It is an honor to be joined today by a distinguished panel of speakers from prominent NGOs in the OSCE area whose experience and expertise demonstrate the leading role women are taking in conserving nature and addressing conservation crimes.   

We have with us today Dr. Sandra Altherr, the Co-Founder of Pro Wildlife.  Dr. Altherr is a biologist with 25 years of experience working on wildlife trade issues. She is also one of the authors of a study for the German government analyzing the volume and conservation impact of the exotic pet trade in Europe and providing strategies for demand reduction. 

We are pleased Ms. Katalin Kecse-Nagy is with us today as well.  Ms. Kecse-Nagy is the Program Office Director for Europe at TRAFFIC and has been working on wildlife trade issues since 2002.  She has covered EU Wildlife Trade Regulations and policies, illegal wildlife trade online, trade data analyses, and law enforcement support. 

We are also joined by Ms. Tatjana Rosen.  Ms. Rosen is a conservation adviser with the Caucasus Nature Fund, technical advisor for UNEP Vanishing Treasures project and the Ilbirs Foundation in Kyrgyzstan (focused on snow leopards), and a Conservation Science fellow for the Center for Large Landscape Conservation, leading a project on the conservation of Persian leopards in Turkmenistan. 

We hope that hearing from these distinguished speakers will underscore the contribution civil society can make to combating corruption and trafficking in wildlife.  We believe the only way to effectively address these linked challenges is to engage and promote the role of civil society, the private sector, and the media in partnership with governments.  We look forward to hearing your thoughts and questions on effective policies, partnerships, and best practices in fighting trafficking in natural resources and related corruption and your recommendations for OSCE engagement.