Wildlife and Forest Crime

When is the World Wildlife Day?

 

On 20 December 2013, the Sixty-eighth session of the United Nations General Assembly decided to proclaim March 3 rd as World Wildlife Day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world's wild fauna and flora. The date is the day of the adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973, which plays an important role in ensuring that international trade does not threaten the species' survival.

   

Is there a difference between environmental crime and wildlife and forest crime?

 

Yes. Environmental crime is a serious and growing international problem, and one which takes many different forms, like for example pollution crime, carbon trade and water crime and wildlife crime. Broadly speaking, wildlife crime is the illegal exploitation of the world's wild flora and fauna. Environmental crime is not restricted by borders, and can affect a nation's economy, security and even its existence.

   

How much money is wildlife and forest crime generating?

 

Wildlife and Forest Crime is a serious and growing problem. The international wildlife trade is estimated to be worth more than tens of billions of dollars and to include hundreds of millions of plant and animal specimens.

   

What causes wildlife and forest crime?

 

Transnational organized crime is found wherever money can be made from illicit dealings. One source of income is environmental crime, in particular the trafficking of wildlife and timber. The problem is particularly acute in developing countries as under-resourced Governments often lack the capacity to regulate the exploitation of their natural assets. Rather than promoting economic progress, poorly managed natural wealth can lead to bad governance, corruption or even violent conflict.

   

What is being done for Combating wildlife and forest crime?

 

Many international conservation agreements have been signed, among the most influential of which is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which has been adopted by 175 countries. Under the Convention, states that do not take measures to protect endangered species are subject to escalating international pressure, which can ultimately result in trade sanctions. Additionally, the United Nations General Assembly as well as the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) have proclaimed several mandates to fight and address the wildlife and forest crime. For more information about mandates please go to here.

   

What is UNODC doing to combat wildlife and forest crime?

 

UNODC is the governing body for the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ). The Commission acts as the principal policymaking body of the United Nations in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice. Specifically, UNODC throughout the Global Program for Combating Wildlife and Forest Crime works in countering environmental crime by local, regional and global initiatives. Also, UNODC is a member of the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC). The ICCWC works to bring coordinated support to the national wildlife law enforcement agencies and to the related sub-regional and regional networks. In mid-2012,UNODC, in partnership with other members of the ICCWC, developed the Wildlife and Forest Crime Analytic Toolkit. For more information about UNODC wildlife and forest crime activities please see UNODC Global Programme for Combating Wildlife and Forest Crime and International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime sections.

   

How is wildlife and forest crime related to UNODC's mandate?

 

UNODC's role runs from its guardianship of the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC), the UN Convention against Corruption, and the mandates given by Member States. UNODC offers technical assistance and building capacities in the area of transnational organized crime, anti-corruption activities, and in the areas of crime prevention and criminal justice.

   

What does mean that wildlife and forest crime should be treated as "serious crime"?

 

Countries should consider making wildlife and forest crime a serious offence punishable by sanctions of four years or more. The four year sanction triggers the application of UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and would allow for the fostering of greater international cooperation to combat this crime. To read UNTOC please click here.

   

What are the main challenges international community is facing regarding wildlife and forest crime?

 

- Wildlife and forest crime is still not treated as a serious crime in many countries.

- There is deficiency in legislation and inadequate laws and sanctions to penalize this crime.

- Law enforcement, prosecutorial and judiciary capacities are weak since there is a general lack of expertise and capabilities to effectively investigate and prosecute this type of offences.

- Lack of coordination between relevant competent authorities and limited cooperation between countries to share information and intelligence

- Wildlife and forest crime investigation often does not go beyond seizures, therefore, crime cases are not prosecuted and assets and financial resources are not confiscated and recovered.

   

Who is UNODC focal point for wildlife and forest crime?

 

The Global Programme for Combating Wildlife and Forest Crime/ Sustainable Livelihood Unit (GP/SLU) , in the Division for Operations, is in responsible to develop and manage several activities for combating wildlife and forest crime. If you wish to contact the GP/SLU, please click here.

     

Global Programme for Combating Wildlife and Forest Crime

What is the Global Programme for Combating Wildlife and Forest Crime?

 

The Global Programme is the umbrella programme for UNODC activities on wildlife and forest crime. For more information about the Global Programme please click here.

   

What are the main working areas under the Global Programme for Combating Wildlife and Forest Crime?

 

The Global Programme focus on the following areas:

Strengthening national legal frameworks.

Strengthening national law enforcement, prosecutorial and judiciary capacity.

Strengthening international cooperation among law enforcement agencies.

Reducing supply and demand through alternative livelihoods.

Data gathering, analysis and reporting.

Drivers and prevention, including advocacy, awareness raising and civil society empowerment.

   

Which countries are currently participating?

 

The Global programme would run initially for a period of four years. During the period 2014-2015 the Global Programme would be implemented in Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Palau, Solomon Islands, Thailand, Vietnam, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Cameroon, Togo, Liberia, Brazil, Peru, Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, Panama and Mexico.

   

The International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC)

What is ICCWC?

 

Since 2012 UNODC has partnered with CITES Secretariat, INTERPOL, the World Bank, and the World Customs Organization within the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime, known by its acronym ICCWC [i-quick]. ICCWC is the first initiative where these five agencies cooperate together towards a common goal of delivering multi-agency support to affected countries. ICCWC brings together the expertise of each agency in a formidable manner.

   

What are the activities ICCWC executed within its framework?

 

The ICCWC works to bring coordinated support to the national wildlife law enforcement agencies and to the related sub-regional and regional networks. As a partner within ICCWC, UNODC focuses on national capacity-building of law enforcement, judiciary, prosecution and legislation.

   

Wildlife and Forest Crime Analytic Toolkit

What is the Wildlife and Forest Crime Analytic Toolkit?

 

The Toolkit is a technical resource that enables Member States to undertake a national analysis with the aim to understand the main issues relating to wildlife and forest offences in their country. The Toolkit helps to analyze a country's preventive and criminal justice responses to wildlife and forest crime, to identify technical assistance and capacity building needs, and to design a work plan. For more information please download the toolkit here.

   

How does the Toolkit work?

 

The Toolkit provides and inventory of measures that can assist in the analysis on the nature and extent of wildlife and forest crime offences and in discouraging and Combating theses offences. The toolkit is organized into five independent parts: legislation; law enforcement; judiciary and prosecution; drivers, and data and analysis . For more information please download the toolkit here.

   

What are the benefits of the Toolkit?

 

The Toolkit channels a country's scare resources to where it is most needed; stimulates awareness, donor support and international cooperation; enables evidence-based capacity building and technical assistance; paves the way for effective and sustainable infrastructure and allows for the development of tailor-made capacity-building programmes that reflect national needs. For more information please download the toolkit here.

   

How can Member States request the implementation of the Toolkit?

 

To request the implementation of the Toolkit, the Government should send an official request to CITES Secretariat. CITES will then place the Government in contact with UNODC and will ask the Government to nominate a focal point. For more information about requesting implementation of the Toolkit as well as CITES contacts, please visit CITES.

   

What is happening after the implementation of the Toolkit?

 

The Wildlife and Forest Crime Analytic Toolkit could be illustrated as a ten-steps process. On the basis of this process findings and recommendations, a technical assistance programme with concrete short-, mid- and long-term activities will be designed by ICCWC partners and the relevant government authorities.

   

Where can I download the Toolkit?

 

To download the Wildlife and Forest Crime Analytical Toolkit please do it here.

   

Wildlife and Forest Crime Forensic Guidelines

What type of guidelines are available?

 

There are two types of guidelines which are being developed: the guidelines on best practices for DNA-based and other forensic identification techniques for sourcing and ageing seized ivory and guidelines for forensic analysis of CITES Timber Species for determining species and geographical source of protected timber and timber products. If you wish to read more about wildlife and forest crime forensic guidelines please click here.

   

Who is developing the guidelines?

 

UNODC, as a member of the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime, and in close cooperation with ICCWC partners, has been given the lead for the development and coordination of the forensic guidelines.

   

For whom are these guidelines designed?

 

The guidelines are being developed for CITES parties, but specifically for law enforcement and criminal and prosecution bodies who are responsible to combat and fight wildlife and forest crime.

   

Where can I download the forensic guidelines?

 

The guidelines are being developed and it is expected that they will be ready for publication by end 2014/beginning 2015.