Posted on 29 March 2017
2016 was another successful year for the WCI which came to a close with Bhutan’s adoption of SMART patrolling in all its conservation areas, the enactment of strict regulations on the domestic ivory trade in the US and the decision by Viet Nam’s ruling Communist Party to add its voice to calls for an end to illegal wildlife consumption – three more significant steps on the road to stopping the poaching, trafficking and demand.
There were many other notable signs of progress during the year. All four WCI thematic pillars (poaching, trafficking, buying and policy) have built on their existing work, while striking out in innovative new directions.
The WCI has led a global push to improve the working condition of rangers with the publication of three unprecedented ranger surveys and influential joint advocacy with ranger associations. The frontline in the battle to save the world’s wildlife and wild places will be stronger as a result.
Meanwhile, the WCI has been at the heart of work to transform the transport sector into a powerful force to help counter the criminals. TRAFFIC secured a major multi-year grant from USAID to work with a team of companies, NGOs and government agencies to restrict the transport of illegal wildlife products – a goal that was boosted by the signing of the landmark Buckingham Palace Declaration by 40 companies and organizations. Strong global partnerships are the only way to block the trafficking pipelines and these initiatives will help to stem the flow.
But new routes will be found as long as there is demand for illegal products, which is why an innovative WCI-led workshop on behaviour change could prove so critical. Bringing together 100 of the world’s experts, it kick-started the development of a new community of practice, which will help to devise more effective ways of changing people’s purchasing preferences.
Finally, along with influencing a wealth of regional and international agreements, the WCI policy pillar helped to focus much-needed attention.
Finally, along with influencing a wealth of regional and international agreements, the WCI policy pillar helped to focus much-needed attention on corruption, and began to bring conservationists and anti-corruption experts together to come up with better ways to counter what UNODC has described as the ‘main enabler of wildlife crime’.
Needless to say there were some worrying stories during the year, which shone a spotlight on the scale of the illegal wildlife trade and the continuing poaching crisis – and underlined how much still needs to be done.
We understand that. It is why the WCI is a 10-year initiative. But it has made a real difference already and is poised to have even more of an impact in the coming years thanks to the strong, wide-ranging partnerships now in place.
Download and read the full Wildlife Crime Initiative Annual Update - 2016 report.
This annual update covers the second year of the Wildlife Crime Initiative from July 2015-June 2016. However, in the final six months of 2016 we witnessed a series of major successes and significant new reports - see the WCI Addendum - 2016
for a snapshot of these acheivements with more information to follow in the next annual update...