International workshop focuses on controlled delivery to fight forest and wildlife crime

16 December 2011

International workshop focuses on controlled delivery to fight forest and wildlife crime

Brussels, 16 December 2011

Press Release

The first international Workshop on Establishing a Network of Controlled Delivery Units for Forest and Wildlife Law Enforcement brought together 50 representatives from Customs, police, prosecution and specialized wildlife and forest agencies from 19 countries across Africa and Asia.

Organized by the World Customs Organization (WCO) under the auspices of the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC), participants attending the Workshop in Shanghai, China from 7-9 December 2011 agreed on a number of recommendations to overcome legislative, capacity and operational limitations.

The interception of smuggled commodities, including wildlife and wildlife products, prevents illegal goods from reaching consumers or black markets, however, in many cases interception leads only to the arrest of 'mules' or couriers and seldom to the arrest and conviction of those criminals who direct and organize the smuggling.

By allowing contraband to continue its journey in a 'controlled' manner, authorities can gather evidence at each point in the chain and, eventually, identify, arrest, and prosecute those who are involved in the shipment.

Engaging in ‘controlled’ deliveries enables enforcement agencies to monitor the supply and distribution to manufacturers, processors, retailers, or individual consumers, with investigations at the final stage often uncovering evidence to identify actors at all stages of a poaching and trafficking operation.

“It is imperative that Customs administrations and other law enforcement agencies use every tool at their disposal to fight crime against our forests and wildlife,” said WCO Secretary General, Kunio Mikuriya. “This event provided an ideal opportunity to bolster connectivity, including cooperation and communication, among all members of the ICCWC and between Customs border enforcement services,” he added.
“The use of this enforcement technique will yield real results in bringing to justice those individuals who organize the smuggling of wildlife,” said CITES Secretary-General, John Scanlon. “This Workshop clearly demonstrates the added value of working together through the ICCWC in taking up the fight against wildlife crime,” he added.
“INTERPOL strongly supports this collaborative initiative by the ICCWC to bring together enforcement agencies to combat transnational wildlife crime,” said INTERPOL’s Acting Executive Director for Police Services, Bernd Rossbach. “INTERPOL stands by to assist countries and partner organizations through its network of 190 member countries and the I-24/7 police communications systems,” he added.

China Customs hosted the event at the WCO Regional Training Centre in Shanghai (Shanghai Customs College) with expertise provided by specialized Customs officers from Belgium and the Netherlands and other ICCWC partners, and financed by a grant organized by the World Bank from funds provided by various bilateral donors to the PROFOR Trust Fund.

The International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) is a partnership between the CITES Secretariat, INTERPOL, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the World Bank, and the World Customs Organization (WCO).