The world is dealing with an unprecedented spike in illegal wildlife trade, threatening to overturn decades of conservation gains. Wildlife trade is a big business, run by international criminal networks, trafficking wildlife and animal parts much like illegal drugs and arms. By its very nature, it is almost impossible to obtain reliable figures for the value of illegal wildlife trade, but experts at estimate that it runs into hundreds of millions of dollars.
The baseline data on legal wildlife trade is collected by the 183 Parties of CITES and submitted annually, which is compiled and maintained in the CITES trade database. CITES Parties will also begin the submission of annual illegal trade reports from 2017.
Data on illegal trade (seizures) is currently compiled by UNODC in World WISE, a new data platform that contains seizures related to wildlife crime, including illegal logging, from 120 countries.
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Funding to tacking illegal wildlife trade
The top five donors were the Global Environment Facility (GEF), Germany, the United States, the European Commission, and the World Bank Group, who together contributed $1.1 billion of the total funding (86 per cent). Other key findings of the Analysis of International Funding to Tackle Illegal Wildlife Trade:
- Sixty-three percent of the funds went toward efforts in Africa ($833 million), 29 per cent to Asia ($381 million), 6 per cent to global programs and initiatives ($81 million), and 2 per cent to projects covering both Africa and Asia ($35 million).
- The top five recipient countries were Tanzania (8 per cent), the Democratic Republic of Congo (5 per cent), Mozambique (5 per cent), Gabon (3 per cent), and Bangladesh (3 per cent).
- Forty-six percent of the funding supported protected area management, while 19 per cent went to law enforcement including intelligence-led operations and transnational coordination, 15 per cent for sustainable use and alternative livelihoods, 8 per cent for policy and legislation, 6 per cent for research and assessment, and 6 per cent for communication and awareness raising.
Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishingBuilding upon the results of a series of regional workshops conducted by FAO to raise awareness about the Agreement and to strengthen national and regional fisheries governance to combat IUU fishing completed in April 2016, FAO has formulated a global programme to support coastal and small island developing States in building capacity to adopt and implement the provisions of the Agreement and complementary international instruments and regional mechanisms to combat IUU fishing. The programme will contribute to Sustainable Development Goal 14.4, which calls for ending overfishing, IUU fishing and destructive fishing practices by 2020 through, inter alia, capacity building and support for monitoring, control, surveillance, compliance and enforcement systems.Additionally, FAO is working on a number of initiatives which will support the work to combat IUU fishing, including the Voluntary Guidelines on Catch Documentation Schemes, the Global Record of Fishing Vessels, Refrigerated Transport Vessels and Supply Vessels (Global Record), and the drafting of technical guidelines on methodologies and indicators to estimate IUU fishing.Useful information
- Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
- Internal Consortium to Combat Wildlife Crime (ICCWC)
- United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC): Wildlife and forest crime
- UNODC (2016) World Wildlife Crime Report (includes information from World WISE)
- Global Wildlife Program (2016) Analysis of International Funding to Tackle Illegal Wildlife Trade
- FAO (2016) Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (factsheet)
- FAO (2016) Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing
- FAO (2016) Leaflet on the Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing