Written by Hideharu Miyamoto, Executive Director, Executive Divisional Director, Corporate Planning Division, Narita International Airport Corporation
Wildlife trafficking is a global issue that can touch any airport. It is a serious crime linked to other criminal activities such as corruption and money laundering. It is a threat to endangered species, and it erodes ecosystem integrity. Wildlife trafficking has also been identified as one of the factors that can contribute to the emergence of zoonotic diseases. The need to mitigate these risks to help avert pandemics is more evident than ever.
Combatting wildlife trafficking requires concerted efforts, and the aviation industry is ideally placed to support this fight—as shown by Narita International Airport Corporation’s (NAA) collaboration with ANA HOLDINGS INC. (ANAHD), owner of ALL NIPPON AIRWAYS CO., LTD (ANA) on 11 March in co-hosting a webinar on preventing the use of aviation for wildlife trafficking.
The webinar’s agenda included lectures and presentations by representatives from TRAFFIC, United for Wildlife, law enforcement agencies, the Animal Quarantine Service, and Tokyo Customs. TRAFFIC is a leading non-governmental organization working globally to combat the illegal trafficking of wild animals and plants in the context of both biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. United for Wildlife was founded by Prince William and The Royal Foundation in 2014. The organization also aims to make it impossible for traffickers to transport, finance, or profit from illegal wildlife products.
Benefiting from these lectures and presentations were around 210 people representing airlines, airport operators, tenants, logistics and cargo operators, and other stakeholders. Presenters demonstrated how the air transport system is exploited by wildlife traffickers and the need for collaboration with airport stakeholders, particularly those working at check-in counters, security screening, and cargo areas. Case studies were also shared, touching on how airport personnel could detect traffickers during operations, by recognizing common features.
The aviation industry should strive to proactively achieve the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, especially biodiversity and climate change. We should continue to work together with law enforcement organizations and airlines to raise awareness of these activities, and to establish an air transportation system that prevents exploitation by global criminals. As an international airport, NAA endeavors to continue raising awareness by working with stakeholders, the private sector, and law enforcement agencies to prevent international crime and wildlife trafficking.
ACI World offers products and services to help airport members do their part to prevent wildlife trafficking, including a course, free of charge until 19 November 2022, courtesy of ACI and USAID; as well a complimentary publication.
Mr. Miyamoto was appointed to Executive Director, and Executive Divisional Director of Corporate Planning Division in June 2021. He oversees corporate strategies, investment planning, oversea businesses and other innovations at NAA. Prior to the current position, he served as Senior Executive Officer and Deputy Executive Divisional Director of Corporate Planning Division since July 2019. He obtained a Bachelor of Geophysics from Ibaraki University in 1986.