ICCWC at SC77
Exploring the importance of illegal trade data, evidence-based interventions and enhanced responses in the fight against wildlife crime
Over the past week, a number of global wildlife trade issues concerning a variety of wildlife species have been discussed at the 77th meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Standing Committee (SC77), held in Geneva, Switzerland. The meeting provided an opportunity for the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) to report on progress with the implementation of its work and activities and get feedback from the Committee to further help guide ICCWC support and interventions.
In the margins of the meeting, ICCWC held two informative side events that highlighted efforts and successes of Parties to combat wildlife crime and included various updates on the work of ICCWC and support available through it. The topics covered included illegal trade data and evidenced-based interventions, along with enhanced responses to wildlife crime.
CITES Secretary-General, Ivonne Higuero, said: “CITES Parties are at the forefront of our efforts and we continue to see the great achievements Parties are making to combat wildlife crime. Through a coordinated and holistic approach, ICCWC offers invaluable support which is crucial to many Parties around the world. This was evident at the two ICCWC side events which offered an overview of the support and resources available to CITES Parties. We look forward to continuing this work with the upcoming implementation of the ICCWC Vision 2030 and to work together towards a world free of wildlife crime.”
Let’s look back at the events of the past week.
Illegal trade data and evidence-based interventions
Illegal trade data and evidence-based interventions are fundamental tools in the fight against wildlife crime. On 7 November, the CITES Secretariat and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) presented the CITES Illegal Trade Database and launched the new database dissemination platform. The event also included a sneak peek into the preliminary findings of the 3rd edition of the World Wildlife Crime report (2024).
CITES Illegal Trade Database
The CITES Illegal Trade Database represents a powerful tool that will allow illegal trade data to become an accessible and valuable resource for Parties. It will inform their decision making and support the development of targeted and evidence-based responses to combat wildlife crime. It will also inform global research and analysis studies on wildlife and forest crime undertaken by ICCWC. The database is available to CITES Parties, including national CITES Management Authorities, which allows for the dissemination of reported information in a restricted and secure environment.
World Wildlife Crime Reports
Data-driven research is a crucial tool in combatting wildlife crime. It enables factual and data-driven decision-making, targeted interventions, and can help guide efforts to combat this critical global issue. World Wildlife Crime Reports take stock of the present wildlife crime situation with a focus on the illicit trafficking of specific protected species of wild fauna and flora, providing a broad assessment of the nature and extent of the problem at the global level. At the ICCWC side event, UNODC presented the preliminary findings of 3rd edition of the World Wildlife Crime report which will be launched in 2024.
Enhanced responses to combat wildlife crime
During a second side event on November 8, the Consortium highlighted existing and available ICCWC responses and support, to support efforts of Partis to combat wildlife crime. Contributions from INTERPOL, UNODC and CITES highlighted specific responses and targeted operational support at a global, regional and national level, the importance of mobilizing wildlife forensics to combat wildlife crime and ongoing ICCWC support to West and Central Africa.
Targeted operational support
ICCWC supports a range of operations to combat wildlife crime. These operations range from the global level, such as the Thunder-series of Operations, all the way to targeted regional and national investigative support. The event explored support available to strengthen collaboration between countries as well as identify targets and priorities for actions and follow-up activities from the various operations so that wildlife crime can be tackled through a holistic and coordinated approach.
Mobilizing forensics to combat wildlife crime
Mobilizing forensic applications in the fight against wildlife crime is essential. It provides irrefutable evidence helping in the prosecution of criminals and the dismantling of trafficking networks. It amongst others aids in species identification, determination of geographic origin, supports distinguishing specimens from the wild from captive or cultivated specimens, determining the age of a specimen and more. This significantly contributes to addressing wildlife crime. The Consortium presented some of the ongoing support being provided.
ICCWC Support to West and Central Africa
ICCWC has been providing targeted support to Parties in West and Central Africa, based on Decisions adopted at the 19th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES. The event highlighted ongoing support, including trainings, workshops and technical assistance provided to Parties in both subregions, at regional and national level to strengthen the capacity of frontline officers, as well as various investigative and prosecutorial support provided.
As the ICCWC Strategic Programme comes to a close, ICCWC will soon initiate the implementation of the ICCWC Vision 2030 and its associated Strategic Action Plan 2023-2026. Looking ahead, the ICCWC Vision 2030 demonstrates the Consortium’s commitment to continue working closely with Parties to further strengthen responses and combat wildlife crime, by working collectively and in a coordinated manner with a focus on the prevention and detection of crimes involving wildlife, investigations, prosecutions and convictions.
Find out more about ICCWC – www.iccwc-wildlifecrime.org