Vienna, 21 April 2023 – Wildlife crime is a global scourge, with transnational organized criminals exploiting legislative loopholes, gaps in enforcement capacity, and lack of awareness about the impact of this crime. Pacific Islands are rich in natural marine and terrestrial resources, but often lack the capacity to protect them. With rising local demand, the impact of climate change, and growing export markets, the unique and valuable natural resources of the Pacific are under considerable strain.
Recognizing that prevention is critical, and that youth needs to be empowered with high-quality information to influence decisions, UNODC has developed a series of teaching modules on wildlife crime. Taking into account the unique challenges in this part of the world, the content of the teaching modules is adapted for the Pacific region across all five modules.
Who can use the Edu4U education modules?
The modules are designed to support university educators and academics in their efforts to transmit knowledge and create a deeper understanding of the threats and responses to wildlife crime. They can be used as stand-alone teaching resources, or as a means of enhancing existing courses in criminology, law, political science, international relations, biology, or many other disciplines. A “pick and choose” approach allows lecturers to seamlessly fit this material into their existing curriculum, or to create a new course based on these resources. The content is both open source and free to access through UNODC’s SHERLOC platform.
What can educators find in the Edu4U educational modules?
Exploring case studies related to flying foxes, iguanas, sharks, sea cucumbers, turtles and snails, timber, and other flora, amongst others, the content of the modules provides material to enable educators to focus their teaching on the threats to the Pacific Islands using real-world examples that students will be faced with. Illegal logging, illegal fishing, and harvesting of unique species are threats to biodiversity, can accelerate climate change and put at risk already-vulnerable natural resource-dependent communities.
Module content on the implementation of various legislative frameworks in the Pacific highlight specific projects, such as on the Dugong and Seagrass Conservation project in Vanuatu, that harness inter-agency collaboration for conservation. The modules also inform on how countries implement their treaty commitments under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), as well as their own specific laws to address transnational organized crime and corruption related to wildlife and forests.
The modules focusing on criminal justice response and community engagement address the importance of the role played by actors like wildlife wardens, police and customs services, along with networks and steering committees for strategies like Samoa’s Ocean Strategy. Various criminal offences are showcased, such as exportation, proceeds of crime, and illegal processing, along with an overview of the challenges of illegal fishing in particular.
Who created the Pacific content of the Edu4U education modules?
Created by academics together with UNODC experts, the regionalized Pacific module contents were validated through a virtual peer review by leading experts in and from the region. Dr. Phill Cassey, Lead, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Adelaide, shared that “knowledge on wildlife crime in the Pacific region is sparse and poorly synthesized. The regional Pacific Island University Module content is an informative and unique source of case studies and regionally relevant information for educators and practitioners. The modules add a highly relevant novel resource to combating wildlife crime across the Pacific, and they will further aid in safeguarding their unique island and marine environments.”
UNODC’s work on crimes that affect the environment strives to prevent and combat these crimes by providing support to criminal justice practitioners, together with civil society, in partnership for people and planet. The Pacific content of the Edu4U modules was generously supported by the United States Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL).
Click here to learn more about UNODC's Regional Programme for Southeast Asia
Click here to learn more about UNODC’s Global Programme on Crimes that Affect the Environment