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Prince William says lessons can be learned from the coronavirus crisis

The Duke of Cambridge took part in his first webinar

Danielle Stacey

The Duke of Cambridge has spoken about how future pandemics like coronavirus can be prevented, as he called for an end to the illegal wildlife trade.

Speaking at a virtual meeting of the United for Wildlife Taskforces on Wednesday, Prince William said: "The COVID-19 pandemic has ruined lives and threatened livelihoods across the world. It is important that we learn the lessons from this pandemic, including looking at why the outbreak happened, why it was not stopped earlier, and what can be done to manage any outbreak in the future. That's why I'm pleased that Helen Clark and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf are leading an independent review to ensure that the right lessons are learned."

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William at a meeting for United for Wildlife Taskforces in January 2020

He later added: "Right now, there is a real chance to ensure that the urgent steps that the world must take to prevent future zoonotic disease pandemics are designed in a way that also helps to eradicate the illegal wildlife trade."

The event was chaired by Lord Hague of Richmond, chair of the United for Wildlife Taskforces, and speakers included Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity; Dr. Zhi Lu of Peking University; Peter Knights, CEO of WildAid; and Dr. Peter Daszak from the EcoHealth Alliance.

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Lord Hague said: "From all over the world the companies in our Taskforces have shown a strong commitment to combatting the illegal wildlife trade. Now a much greater global effort is required, not only to halt this destructive trade, but to help prevent future pandemics."

Spearheaded by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's Royal Foundation, United for Wildlife has been working to combat the illegal trade in animal products around the world by bringing together conservation organisations, law enforcement, governments and global corporations since 2014. United for Wildlife's Transport and Financial Taskforces were formed in 2014 and 2018 respectively to develop targeted solutions and a multi-sector approach to ending global wildlife trafficking. 

William last gave a speech at the United for Wildlife Taskforces meeting at St James's Palace in January.

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