A Global Partnership on Wildlife Conservation and Crime Prevention for Sustainable Development
The illegal wildlife trade (IWT) is a global threat. The problem is particularly acute in Africa and Asia, where iconic species – the African elephant, white and black rhinos, and pangolins – are being poached to extinction. About 33,000 elephants are poached every year for their ivory. Rhino poaching has also reached crisis levels. In 2017, 1,028 rhinos were poached in South Africa, up steeply from 13 in 2007, according to TRAFFIC. As species are poached and illegally harvested at increasingly unsustainable levels, wildlife crime has become the fourth most lucrative illegal business after narcotics, human trafficking, and weapons.
The presence of wildlife in protected areas ensures that an ecosystem can function and maintain natural capital (soil, forests, air, water, etc.) As natural resource crime such as poaching increases, it results in environmental degradation. This adversely affects ecosystem services, which in turn affects the survival of these communities who depend upon these services for livelihoods, fuel and food. The cost of environmental crime to developing countries is estimated to be more than US$70 billion a year (World Bank 2014).
To respond to the growing crisis and international call for action, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in June 2015 launched the “Global Partnership on Wildlife Conservation and Crime Prevention for Sustainable Development” program also known as the Global Wildlife Program (GWP).
What does the Global Wildlife Program aim to do?
The GWP is a World Bank-led, GEF-funded global partnership that promotes wildlife conservation and sustainable development by combatting illicit trafficking in wildlife. This seven-year, US$131 million grant program is expected to leverage an additional US$704 million in additional co-financing from a wide range of partners to promote conservation investments across Africa and Asia. By approaching the poaching crisis holistically through various country projects and a broader global project, it seeks to reduce both the supply and demand that drives the illegal wildlife trade and protect species and habitats through integrated landscape planning.
GWP’s priority and immediate focus are combating wildlife poaching, trafficking, and demand.
Through its global and country projects, the GWP will:
Collectively, the GWP countries make up an incredible repository of biodiversity and potential for sustainable development. The program’s integrated platform supports national governments, Ministries of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Wildlife and Protected Areas across 19 countries.
In Africa, the GWP has programs in Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, the Republic of Congo (WBG), Republic of Congo (UNDP) South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
The GWP collaborates with development partners in the ground to reduce the impacts of wildlife poaching and trafficking, and promote livelihood activities by local communities. The implementing agencies channeling the funds to the governments or other partners for the national projects are the World Bank Group, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment), and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The GWP works with the International Consortium to Combat Wildlife Crime (ICCWC), donors and conservation partners to implement an integrated approach for biodiversity conservation, wildlife crime prevention and sustainable development, including:
" The current crisis in the illegal trade of wildlife reflects on the poor governance, the lucrative benefits of illegal trade and the rise in demand of wildlife products. It is our hope that in partnering with many others, GWP will combat wildlife crime, engage communities in sustainable livelihood alternatives, and improve the governance of natural resources. "
Knowledge exchange is an integral part of the GWP programmatic approach. The GWP conducts monthly virtual knowledge exchange events on a range of topics related to anti-poaching, community engagement, tourism concessions, counter-wildlife trafficking, anti-corruption and consumer demand reduction. Since the start of 2017, over 800 participants across the globe have joined these monthly virtual events with a 154% increase in participation from 2016. Aimed towards bringing the latest and most innovative tools and studies to the forefront, the virtual events are an easy way for stakeholders to learn from experts and share lessons learned.
The GWP also holds face-to-face knowledge exchange events bringing together government representatives from national projects with implementing agency partners and other conservation organizations. Some of the events so far are described below.
In-Person Knowledge Exchange Events
Location: Delhi and Pench Tiger Reserve, India
Dates: October 2-7, 2017
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Dates: July 4-5, 2017
Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Dates: May 18-20, 2016
Location: Gland, Switzerland
Dates: January 18-19, 2016
If you would like to join virtual events, please email email@example.com
INTERACTIVE E-BOOK: International Funding to Tackle Illegal Wildlife Trade
FACT SHEET: Analysis of International Funding to Tackle Illegal Wildlife Trade [.PDF, 138KB]
INFOGRAPHIC: How to Help Save Wildlife
An Analysis of International Funding to Tackle Illegal Wildlife Trade was launched by the WBG in November 2016, collecting data from 24 international donors. Over the period 2010-2016 more than US$1.3 billion was invested in efforts to combat illegal wildlife trade in Africa and Asia, equivalent to approximately US$190 million per year. The donor analysis e-book is supported by interactive data visualizations on the WBG’s mobile data platform Spatial Agent. The WBG hosts quarterly donor meetings where individual donors have the opportunity to share their portfolio highlights. A continuation of the donor analysis to document lessons learned is currently underway, thanks to generous financial support from the Government of Germany. The work plan and approach for this effort was launched at a closed meeting for donors in the margins of this 69th meeting of the Standing Committee
The Global Wildlife Program is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and led by the World Bank. Partners include governments of 19 countries in Africa and Asia along with UNDP, ADB and UN Environment.
Program Manager for the Global Partnership on Wildlife Conservation and Crime Prevention for Sustainable Development