In some parts of West and Central Africa, large-scale poaching and illegal logging pose a major threat to wildlife and forests. Today, 50% of the world's species are facing the fastest man-made mass extinction.The illicit trafficking in wild fauna and flora continues unabated and negatively impacts on economic and social development and threatens peace and security. 

Given the diversity of locations where poaching, harvesting, transit, purchase, and consumption of wildlife occurs, illicit trafficking in endangered species is a transnational crime. Wildlife crime threatens national security and may endanger human and domestic livestock health through the spread of virulent diseases. As a consequence of poaching, the wildlife population becomes severely depleted and endangered, illegal logging and the international trade in illegally logged timber contributes to deforestation and serious long term environmental damage, with serious impacts on development, security and economics.

Organized criminal syndicates are moving poached or illegally harvested wildlife with the help of the same sophisticated techniques and networks used for illicit trafficking in persons, weapons, and drugs and other contraband. There are many challenges posed by the poaching and illicit trafficking of wildlife including the involvement of number of related crimes such as fraud, counterfeiting, money-laundering, violence and corruption. 

To address this serious transnational organized crime, UNODC has developed the Global Programme for Combating Wildlife and Forest Crime which gives a framework to deliver a range of technical assistance activities within several thematic areas towards achieving the key project objective of strengthening capacity to prevent and combat WLFC on a regional, national and local basis. The Global Programme also raises awareness among different stakeholders at the global and regional levels, including civil society, aimed to contribute to the reduction of demand for wild fauna and flora.

More specifically, UNODC works with legal systems and law enforcement agencies of Member States to:

  • Strengthen policy, legislative and regulatory frameworks;
  • Enhance knowledge and skills to investigate and prosecute related criminal activities;
  • Increase awareness regarding the nature and scale of environmental crimes
  • Enhance cooperation on a bilateral and regional level.

Additional Information:

The Wildlife and Forest Crime Analytic Toolkit