WCO Environment Programme -Sida Project Regional Multi-stakeholder Workshop on Illegal Wildlife Trade

12 October 2022

As part of the World Customs Organization (WCO’s) continued commitment to the fight against environmental crime, the Environment Programme - Sida Project successfully conducted a Regional Multi-stakeholder Workshop on Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) for six member countries of South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Uganda, and Tanzania, in the East & Southern Africa region, from 26-30 September 2022, in South Africa.

The workshop aimed to:

  1. Promote inter-agency cooperation and collaboration between law enforcement agencies - Customs administrations, Wildlife authorities, CITES Management authorities, Police and Prosecutors - in combatting environmental crime and in the enforcement of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
  2. Promote the existing law enforcement platforms (like the Regional Intelligence Liaison Office - RILO) as a platform for information sharing, and networking among law enforcement agencies to further enhance joint operations in combatting IWT.
  3. Strengthen Public-Private Partnerships between law enforcement agencies and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in combatting illegal wildlife trade at the national and regional levels.
  4. Foster institutionalization of inter-agency cooperation and collaboration, by encouraging and recommending the creation and/or operationalization of an informal or formal national anti-wildlife crime coordination task force.

Fifty participants from various law enforcement agencies - Customs administrations, Wildlife authorities, CITES management authorities, Police, Prosecutors - and selected private sector Civil Society organizations actively engaged in various thematic discussions and case studies, ranging from the rationale and added value of inter-agency cooperation, regional cooperation tools for IWT, case development, data and information sharing, Public-Private partnership enhancements and engagements, risk assessment, among other areas.

Participants acknowledged that the workshop had enhanced their awareness of the inter-linkages and the necessity of cooperation and collaboration in dismantling IWT criminal networks, through a combination of proactive, reactive and disruptive approaches, required from each stakeholder. Further, the forum provided a platform for common understanding and an opportunity to further strengthen responses to regional transnational wildlife and forest crimes.  Informal networks were established to enhance intelligence, information and knowledge sharing, both nationally and regionally, as an initial step in addressing some of the identified gaps.

For more information, please contact the Compliance and Facilitation Directorate, Environment Programme via environmentprog@wcoomd.org.