Environment, Food and Rural Affairs CommitteeWritten evidence submitted by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) 1

1. IFAW welcomes the commitment to include natural capital in national accounts, and the establishment of a Natural Capital Committee, reporting to the Economic Affairs Cabinet Committee chaired by the Chancellor. The White paper will succeed only if action is taken across Government; involvement of the Treasury is vital.

2. IFAW is pleased departments will be held to account by the Cabinet Office through the Minister for Government Policy (3.40). Implementing the White paper must be seen as a task for all departments. Placing responsibility for ensuring this is the case in the Cabinet Office is the right approach. However, IFAW is not convinced using just the quarterly review of business plans to achieve this will provide sufficient scrutiny.

3. Paragraph 3.44 states “Departments will be open about the steps they are taking to address biodiversity and the needs of the natural environment…” but clarification is required on how this will be done.

4. IFAW welcomes the commitment to develop new targets on development aid to deliver more resources in pursuit of biodiversity goals (5.5). Development aid has often ignored the importance of the natural environment, yet without a healthy natural environment poverty eradication will ultimately fail. IFAW looks forward to seeing further detail on these targets.

5. IFAW welcomes the Government’s determination to ensure action to reduce emissions through tackling deforestation also realises benefits for biodiversity (5.10), as well as the commitment of substantial money towards forest conservation through the International Climate Fund (ICF). However, there is no explanation of how decisions on funding will be taken. This is substantial Government spending so greater clarification is required.

6. IFAW welcomes the recognition of the link between wildlife crime and other serious international crime (5.14, 5.15). The White Paper states it will ensure cooperation across departments and with Border Police Command, National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) and the proposed National Crime Agency to tackle the trade in endangered species. IFAW welcomes continued funding for the NWCU, however this has been confirmed only until March 2013 and it is not clear what will happen after that. This needs clarification, along with how the NWCU will relate to the NCA (or whether it will become part of it) and whether wildlife trafficking will be included in the NCA’s remit, given its links to other serious organised crime.

7. IFAW welcomes the commitment to support the IWC moratorium on commercial whaling (5.15). However, this continues to be flouted by Japan, Iceland and Norway. The Government’s commitment to protect whales would be better expressed if the aim was to bring all forms of commercial whaling to an end through activities inside and outside the IWC.

8. One significant omission in relation to international issues is monitoring and reporting progress. Although chapter 6 mentions development of indicators to track progress on the White Paper, suggestions and examples given in that chapter focus specifically on domestic issues. A way to track international progress is also needed.

9. IFAW recommends that the Committee take evidence from the Treasury and Cabinet Office given their roles in ensuring implementation of the White Paper across Government. IFAW also recommends that the Committee look into DfID’s role, especially considering substantial Government spending through the ICF.


1 The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) saves animals in crisis around the world. IFAW has representation in 15 countries and carries out its animal welfare and conservation work in more than 40, improving the welfare of wild and domestic animals by reducing the commercial exploitation of animals, protecting wildlife habitats and assisting animals in distress. IFAW is supported in this work by over a million supporters worldwide of which some 400,000 are based in the UK. IFAW is a member of Wildlife and Countryside Link (WCL) and supports the submission made to the Committee by WCL in addition to this response.

21 June 2011

Prepared 16th July 2012