Source: Small Island Developing States
14 November 2018: The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) are collaborating on an initiative to tackle maritime wildlife trafficking between Africa and Asia. The initiative will strengthen wildlife law enforcement at ports, and increase cooperation between ports and maritime stakeholders.
According to UNDP, illegal wildlife trafficking from Africa “has surged over the last ten years.” The Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) reports that 403 tons of ivory were seized between 2007 and 2017, an amount equivalent to 54,460 killed elephants. The overwhelming majority of ivory is trafficked via the sea, where there is less risk of interception and arrest. Between 2007 and 2017, only one-third of wildlife seizures were made at exit ports in Africa and only 19 percent of all seizures have resulted in convictions. These statistics underscore the importance of targeting transit points and strengthening law enforcement to end incentives for wildlife poaching and stop the illegal trade in wildlife.
The initiative will build law enforcement agencies’ capacity to detect and intercept illegal wildlife products.
The GEF-financed, World Bank-led Global Wildlife Program (GWP) will target two key African exit ports: Mombasa, Kenya; and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Traffickers regularly use these ports for illegal transportation of poached African wildlife to Asia, including elephant ivory, rhino horns and pangolins. The initiative will strengthen cooperation between key ports in Africa and Asia to prevent illegal wildlife trafficking. In partnership with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC), the Royal Foundation, the Global Wildlife Program and others, it will raise awareness among port stakeholders on wildlife crime, and build law enforcement agencies’ capacity to detect and intercept illegal wildlife products.
The initiative will also contribute to reaching SDG 15 (life on land) and target 15.7 in particular, which calls for taking urgent action to end poaching and trafficking of protected species of flora and fauna and addressing both demand and supply of illegal wildlife products.
The US$2 million initiative will run for 36 months. The GEF launched the seven-year Global Wildlife Program in 2015. The Program brings together funding from a wide range of partners and works in a number of participating countries to counter wildlife poaching and trafficking. [UNDP Press Release] [ETIS Webpage] [Global Wildlife Program]