Global Wildlife Program

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 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:

  • Promote community-based natural resource management and tourism development:
  • Promote landscape-level management and human-wildlife conflict mitigation tools
  • Increase law enforcement efforts in-country through improved legislation, judiciary and prosecution
  • Raise awareness of demand reduction through targeted campaigns that encourage behavior change.
  • Help countries achieve their biodiversity goals: It will support the implementation of country priorities identified in the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, Elephant Action Plan and other wildlife and tourism national strategies.
  • Accelerate learning: It will develop an online repository of information and conduct training and capacity building workshops to ensure knowledge exchange between countries, partners and other stakeholders. It will provide opportunities for regional and global knowledge exchanges.
  • Enhance collaboration: It will foster intergovernmental cooperation, utilize geospatial and surveillance tools, increase intelligence sharing to track criminals, collaborate on efforts around anti-money laundering, capture lessons learned, and apply innovative communication strategies. In addition, it will include a component to promote best practices in ports and collaboration between African and Asian countries and agencies involved in reducing maritime transport of illegal wildlife products, especially ivory.
  • Strengthen partnerships: It will build synergies with the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC). It is a collaboration between the CITES Secretariat, INTERPOL, UNODC, the World Customs Organization and the WBG, which has been a partner to ICCWC since 2010.
  • Implement a monitoring and evaluation framework:  It will develop and deploy a monitoring system for the program to track program progress and serve as an integral tool to promote synergies amongst national projects.
  • Promote donor coordination: As part of the ongoing engagement with key international donors, the program will serve as a platform to assess the current state of international funding to tackle illicit trafficking in wildlife. The GWP released the first-ever review of international donor funding for combatting illegal wildlife trade in Africa and Asia, which shows that over US$1.3 billion was committed by 24 international donors since 2010. The report serves as a baseline the donor community can build upon, which in consultation with recipient countries, can establish the future state vision for IWT financing. This will facilitate sharing of lessons learned and inform strategic efforts to fill financing gaps for priority intervention areas.







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 BotswanaCameroonEthiopiaGabonKenyaMalawiMaliMozambique, the Republic of Congo (WBG), Republic of Congo (UNDP)  South AfricaTanzaniaZambia, and Zimbabwe.

In Asia, programs are in AfghanistanIndiaIndonesia, the PhilippinesThailand, and Vietnam.

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 GroupUnited 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 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Secretariat
  • International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
  • Traffic
  • WildAid 
  • Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)
  • World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

" 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.  "

Claudia Sobrevila
Global Wildlife Program Manager, World Bank Group




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 

Study Tour on Human-Elephant Conflict Mitigation and Co-Existence

Location: Sri Lanka
Dates: October 7 – 8, 2017
Report | Blog


Annual Conference on People’s Participation in Wildlife Conservation

Location: Delhi and Pench Tiger Reserve, India
Dates: October 2-7, 2017
Conference Proceedings


Knowledge Exchange on Africa-Asia Pacific Symposium on Strengthening Legal Frameworks to Combat Wildlife Crime

Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Dates: 4-5 July 2017


Knowledge Exchange to Reduce Human Wildlife Conflict and Enhance Coexistence

Location: La Lope and Libreville, Gabon
Dates: April 3-7, 2017
Conference Proceedings | Blog


Knowledge Exchange on Reducing Illegal Wildlife Trafficking

Location: Hanoi, Vietnam
Dates: November 14-16, 2017
Conference Proceedings | Blog


Knowledge Exchange on Engaging Communities in Wildlife Conservation

Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Dates: May 18-20, 2016


Knowledge Exchange to Combat Wildlife Crime

Location: Gland, Switzerland
Dates: January 18-19, 2016


If you would like to join virtual events, please email




REPORT: The Global Wilidlife Program: Knowledge Platform 2016-2018

REPORT: Supporting Sustainable Livelihoods through Wildlife Tourism

REPORT: Tools and Resources to Combat Illegal Wildlife Trade

REPORT: Analysis of International Funding to Tackle Illegal Wildlife Trade

INTERACTIVE E-BOOK: International Funding to Tackle Illegal Wildlife Trade

FACT SHEET: Analysis of International Funding to Tackle Illegal Wildlife Trade [.PDF, 138KB]

BROCHURE: Global Wildlife Program (ENGLISH [.PDF 3.8 MB| FRENCH [.PDF 3.9 MB])

INFOGRAPHIC: How to Help Save Wildlife


Blogs and Stories

Ensuring a world where elephants aren’t the next dinosaurs

Rowing a boat for tourism and development in Vietnam

Levering PPPs in Mozambique to scale conservation and development (also - in Portuguese)

Big Challenges for Big Cats: Supporting Wildlife Law Enforcement in Lao PDR

Growing Wildlife-Based Tourism Sustainably: A New Report and Q&A

Why Did the Elephant Cross the Road?

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

Act now to save wildlife: 5 actions that make a difference

Africa can Benefit from Nature-based Tourism in a Sustainable Manner

Elephants Are Calling for Help: Will You Answer?

Why Law Enforcement is Essential to Stopping Illegal Wildlife Trade

Ramping up Nature-Based Tourism to Protect Biodiversity and Boost Livelihoods

Corridors to Coexistence: Reducing Human-wildlife Conflict

The World’s Wildlife Needs Young Naturalists

Elephants Hate Kale And Other Lessons in Bringing Conservation And Development Together

Reducing Demand Must Be a Core Component of Combatting Wildlife Crime

The future of wildlife is in our hands

Stunning Sights, Wild Experiences: Nature-Based Tourism A Boon for Emerging Economies

Engaging Communities in Wildlife Conservation

Building Intelligence Systems Vital to Protect Elephants in Africa

Fighting Wildlife Crime to End Extreme Poverty and Boost Shared Prosperity

Why You Should Care About Wildlife



Protecting elephants from the air

Elephant defenders: Rangers in Niassa National Reserve, Mozambique (Trailer)

Rangers in Vietnam: Protecting one of the world’s most rare primates | YouTube

Rowing a boat to protect Vietnam’s nature, langurs and livelihoods | YouTube

Working together to save wildlife and ecosystems | YouTube

Reducing human-wildlife conflict and enhancing coexistence | YouTube

Professor lee White: Will African elephants survive this generation? | YouTube


Check out the interactive e-Book on the analysis of international funding to combat wildlife crime.

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






Claudia Sobrevila

Program Manager for the Global Partnership on Wildlife Conservation and Crime Prevention for Sustainable Development

Global Wildlife Program
1818 H Street, NW Washington, DC