Assessing Malawi’s Response to Wildlife and Forest Crime Results in Promising Ways Forward


Salima, Malawi 05 – 07 October 2022

Wildlife and forest crime can contribute to the decline of at-risk species negatively impacting biodiversity. These crimes also result in reduced economic opportunities for communities as well as security threats for the whole society, given the infiltration of organized crime and related corruption instances.


To address these challenges, the UNODC Environment Team provides technical assistance and capacity building supports to countries throughout Eastern and Southern Africa to help combat wildlife and forest crime. UNODC efforts align with the UN Strategic Vision for Africa for strong rule of law, and Sustainable Development Goals 14, 15, 16, which call for justice and protection of life on land and below water.

Malawi, currently a Category 1 country under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), has adequate national legislation in place to regulate trade in wildlife and forest product. However, there is a need to assess Malawi’s capacity to effectively enforce all provisions and to address instances of organized crime in the wildlife sector.

The UNODC, as a member of the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC), supports countries in undertaking self-assessments of their national responses to wildlife and forest crime through the Indicator Framework, which brings national experts together to focus on various components of their criminal justice responses with a view to identify strengths and weaknesses. This self-assessment process was undertaken by Malawi in early October 2022.

Indicator Framework Assessment

The self-assessment workshop was initiated by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, and facilitated by UNODC, with [51] participants in attendance from nine national criminal justice authorities including wildlife, forestry, and prosecution authorities, as well as representatives from the judiciary. Preliminary results from the self-assessment suggest that the current legal system and related penalties are perceived to be generally adequate to deter and prosecute wildlife crime. However more efforts should be made towards improving the case preparation and a more systematic use of specialized investigation techniques, such as financial investigations and controlled deliveries, which are currently not explicitly mentioned in the wildlife law.

The undertaking of the Indicator Framework is a progressive step forward for national recognition of the seriousness of wildlife and forests crime in Malawi. The high level of engagement from representatives at the workshop produced important information which will guide future efforts to combat these crimes.  


Social media on the event can be found here


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