TRAFFIC has links to and in some cases provides technical assistance to a number of regional bodies, networks and organizations who carry out enforcement action against wildlife trafficking.
Effective global enforcement action is underpinned by effective co-ordination and co-operation between different countries and agencies, enabling information sharing and a united response. Capacity building and the sharing of resources can also be facilitated by the creation of dedicated wildlife enforcement networks (WENs).
TRAFFIC supports the work of these networks and enforcement organizations in a variety of ways, including support for meetings and workshops, capacity building and technical assistance. TRAFFIC also raises awareness of the actions carried out in addition to providing advocacy and facilitating support for high-level political commitments regionally and internationally. TRAFFIC has played an important role in supporting the establishment and implementation of the EU Enforcement Action Plan, ASEAN-WEN and SAWEN.
Some examples of the organizations and networks involved in wildlife enforcement activities include:
ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN)
The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) was established in 1967 by five countries; Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore. In subsequent years, this expanded to include Brunei Darussalam, Viet Nam, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Cambodia. This network was founded in particular to enable economic growth, social progress and cultural development amongst Member States, as well as to facilitate greater partnership and equality between members.
The ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN)’s origins lie in the CITES Conference of the Parties (CoP13) that took place in Bangkok, Thailand, in October 2004. The formal launch of ASEAN-WEN took place in December 2005.
ASEAN-WEN is an intergovernmental initiative to combat wildlife crime, operating at both a national and regional scale. It aims to improve wildlife trade legislation, law enforcement networking and enable more science-based decision making and information sharing through national and regional co-operation between enforcement agencies, such as police and Customs in the ASEAN region. Work by ASEAN-WEN has led to several high-profile wildlife seizures involving protected species of animals and plants in several individual countries within the network.
ASEAN-WEN has external links with enforcement agencies in China, the USA, the European Union and Australia, and with the Secretariats of ASEAN, CITES, INTERPOL and the World Customs Organization.
Examples of TRAFFIC’s engagement with ASEAN-WEN:
• In 2009, TRAFFIC, along with other organisations, sponsored an ASEAN-WEN conference aimed at promoting coordination and commitment in the effort to halt wildlife crime and prevent habitat depletion.
• In 2010, TRAFFIC joined ASEAN-WEN representatives at a wildlife crimes workshop in Cambodia, looking to review Cambodia’s prosecution legislation in relation to wildlife crime
• In July 2012, TRAFFIC co-sponsored a meeting between China’s National Interagency CITES Enforcement Coordination Group and ASEAN-WEN intended to enhance collaboration between the two agencies
• In 2013, ASEAN-WEN supported a series of workshops run by the secretariat of the East and Southeast Asia Biodiversity Information Initiative (ESABII) in Myanmar, following similar ones in both Viet Nam and Cambodia in precious years.
• In 2013, ASEAN-WEN, in collaboration with TRAFFIC, received a Training Management Package, providing information on the laws governing international wildlife trade and include an identification sheet tool to assist officers in their search for contraband wildlife.
South Asian Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN)
The South Asian Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN)’s origins lie in a meeting that took place in Jaipur, India, in 2008 where environmental ministers from eight countries in the region announced their intention of forming a regional wildlife enforcement network and called for the establishment of a South Asia Experts Group on illegal wildlife trade. SAWEN was formally launched in 2011.
The eight member countries are: Afghanistan; Bangladesh; Bhutan; India; Maldives; Nepal; Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and the headquarters are in Nepal.
SAWEN broadly aims to foster an awareness of the issues and implications of wildlife trade across countries by sharing information and developing joint strategies to assist in combating illegal trade networks. In particular it aims to:
• Identify trade hotspots and priority species
• Undertake analysis of trade routes
• Strengthen links between field and policy co-ordination
• Encourage better communication across key stakeholders
• Support the strengthening of appropriate national legislation
Examples of TRAFFIC’s engagement with SAWEN:
• Since its inception, TRAFFIC has been providing technical support to SAWEN, to assist with the countering of illegal wildlife trade in the region.
• In 2012, SAWEN’s first regional meeting took place, attended by officials from all eight member countries alongside experts from other wildlife enforcement networks, such as ASEAN-WEN, and NGOs including TRAFFIC.
• In 2014, TRAFFIC provided expert input and helped to organize a meeting where a statute outlining SAWEN’s visions and goals were adopted.
The need for a wildlife enforcement network in Central America was first identified in 2010, following a meeting of relevant government representatives in El Salvador. From this, La Red de Observancia y Aplicación de la Normativa de Vida Silvestre de Centroamérica y República Dominicana (ROAVIS) was created later the same year.
Aims of ROAVIS include:
• Strengthen co-operation between ROAVIS members
• Co-ordinate training for administrative officials regarding wildlife legislation
• Create national networks to allow effective implementation and enforcement of wildlife legislation
• Promote and maintain partnerships between governmental and non-governmental organizations
A link to the executive summary of Second Meeting and Workshop of ROAVIS
In 2015, members of ROAVIS took part in regional training and capacity building workshops, designed to strengthen inter-regional collaboration at which TRAFFIC provided input and Spanish-language materials.
Created in 1999 by the Yaoundé Declaration, COMIFAC is made up of 10 member countries: Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, Rwanda, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sao Tome and Principe. It is the principle political and technical forum for guidance and coordination in the sustainable management of forest and savannah ecosystems and also plays a significant role in the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP).
The COMIFAC Convergence plan is at the heart of this enforcement network, and looks to facilitate the sustainable and joint management of forest resources. The plan has several key themes, including broadening knowledge of the resource, develop funding mechanisms and improve management of ecosystems and reforestation.
Examples of TRAFFIC’s engagement with COMIFAC:
• In 2008, TRAFFIC offered COMIFAC assistance on monitoring the implementation of the convention on forestry control and helping create directives on sustainable management of non-timber products in the region.
• In 2014, TRAFFIC supported a meeting of six COMIFAC countries, aimed at improving law enforcement collaboration in Central Africa.
The Eurasian Customs Union (ECU)
Stemming from the creation of the Eurasian Economic Community (now the Eurasian Economic Union), the Eurasian Customs Union was established in 2007 by Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan. Several other Eurasian countries are looking to accede to the Union. In July 2011, there was an elimination of physical border controls, enabling free movement of goods between these countries. This has obvious implications for regulating wildlife trade, hence TRAFFIC was commissioned by the CITES Secretariat to compile reports aimed at strengthening the capacities to implement and enforce CITES in Central Asia and Russia.
The European Union (EU)
The European Union comprises 28 Member States and like other Customs unions, has eliminated physical border controls, enabling free movement of goods between these countries, with obvious implications for regulating wildlife trade. More on EU Wildlife Trade.
In 1980, when TRAFFIC established its first European national office, much wildlife trade in Europe was unregulated, many countries were not Parties to CITES, and even when wildlife trade laws did exist, they were often not well enforced. TRAFFIC’s work with the EU has therefore assisted governments and enforcement agencies in improving wildlife trade regulations and law enforcement activities.
Within the EU, CITES regulations are implemented through the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations, and an EU Enforcement Group monitors compliance with them across EU Member States, focusing upon facilitating the exchange of information, experience and expertise, in addition to a role in monitoring enforcement policy and making recommendations to improve enforcement of wildlife trade legislation.
In 2015, the EU became the first Regional Economic Integration Organisation (REIO) to join CITES, with it comes the possibility to vote as an economic bloc during CITES meetings, rather than as individuals nations, allowing it to present a strong, united front on it stance towards the illegal wildlife trade.
In 2005, TRAFFIC, as a part of a joint initiative with the Belgian Federal Police and CITES Management Authority and Customs, launched EU-TWIX, a database for information exchange and communication by enforcement agencies across European countries.
Launched in 2010 at the St Petersburg Tiger Summit, ICCWC (pronounced eye-quick) is a consortium comprising five inter-governmental organizations: CITES, INTERPOL, UNDOC, the World Bank and the World Customs Organization. It aims to support national wildlife agencies and networks by creating an organization capable of creating a sustained response to wildlife crime, enabling nations to improve their approach to law enforcement efforts.
ICCWC has five main focus areas:
• Co-operation and co-ordination in combatting wildlife and forest crime
• Facilitating analysis of national responses to wildlife and forest crime
• Building capacity to prevent and respond to crime
• Raising awareness and support for measures to combat wildlife and forest crime
• Improving use of knowledge and innovation to inform contemporary approaches
ICCWC has created the Wildlife and Forest Crime Toolkit, which looks at five different areas of wildlife enforcement: legislation; enforcement; judiciary and prosecution; drivers and prevention, and data and analysis. This toolkit is designed to assist a range of stakeholders in helping combat global wildlife crime, and in particular is available for government implementation to allow for an analyses of national wildlife crime.
The World Customs Organization was established in 1952, and today represents 180 Customs administrations worldwide. One of WCO’s key goals is in ensuring that the transport of goods and people complies with laws and regulations on an international scale, and the exchange of information and intelligence is key to this.
In 2013, TRAFFIC and the WCO signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), thereby further solidifying the relationship between the two organizations.
TRAFFIC seeks to assist the WCO in providing information on where best to focus their enforcement skills and how to detect new threats, whilst the WCO provides TRAFFIC with information about seizures made.
Collaboration with CITES
In 1999, TRAFFIC signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the CITES Secretariat, demonstrating their mutual commitment to undertaking joint activities for capacity building, seeking to ensure the correct implementation of CITES in regions across the globe.
TRAFFIC authors reports on the CoP meetings that occur, in addition to creating briefing papers and other publications related to the Conferences. Furthermore, TRAFFIC has produced identification guides connected to CITES regulations, as well as a number of reports on issues directly relevant to CITES issues. These include:
• Turning the Tide: Exploitation, Trade and Management of Marine Turtles in the Lesser Antilles, Central America, Colombia and Venezuela reptiles
• Wildlife Trade in the Eurasian Customs Union and in Selected Central Asia Countries
• Trophy Hunting of CITES-listed Species in Central Asia
• Framework for CITES Non-detriment Findings for Hunting Trophies, With a Focus on Argali, Ovis Ammon
In 1997, TRAFFIC was mandated by CITES Parties to monitor the trade in elephant specimens through a system that has become known as the Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) database. Analysis of this database helps create a comprehensive overview of the trade in illegal ivory and other elephant products in order to inform ivory-trade related decision-making processes by CITES Parties. TRAFFIC is mandated to produce these analyses ahead of CoP meetings, in addition to managing the database on a regular basis.