The world's biodiversity is in trouble, with wildlife crime, the spread of invasive species, and loss of habitat reducing the number of species. The loss has economy-wide consequences, but biodiversity is especially important for the 870 million rural poor whose livelihoods and safety nets are inextricably linked to natural and semi-natural ecosystems.
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Weak governance and poverty, inadequate natural resource management and increasingly sophisticated crime networks are some of the primary reasons for active ivory trafficking, the report states.Poachi... Show More +ng rings are run like sophisticated, established businesses, making it tough for many national law enforcement agencies to catch or prevent poaching in time.Elephant ivory, in addition to rhino horns and tiger products, is among the most sought-after poached items in the world. According to the World Wildlife Fund, poaching is the fifth most profitable illicit trade in the world, estimated at up to $10 billion annually.But protecting the African elephant has much wider implications than preserving the species. For example, it promotes biodiversity and conducive habitats for several other species, and aids tree species with seed dispersal and germination. It also helps maintain a robust tourism industry, which is vital to rural communities that derive thousands of jobs and livelihoods by working in tourism or other supporting industries such as food and transport that are more sustainable and have greater growth potential.There is a growing arsenal of partnerships and treaties to tackle wildlife crime: The multilateral treaty known as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which entered in force in 1975, has 181 signatories and aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of species. CITES parties banned trade in ivory in 1990. The World Bank is also a member of the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC), a collaborative effort led by CITES to bring coordinated support to national wildlife law enforcement agencies and networks that act in defense of natural resources, taking into consideration the need to provide livelihood support to poor and marginalized rural communities, and will work with partners to ensure a successful implementation of a new $90 million Global Partnership on Wildlife Conservation and Crime Prevention for Sustainable Development.The report however hones in on a current gap in the fight against elephant poaching. It suggests that achieving success requires a professional criminal intelligence capacity that leverages knowledge and the latest technology available in law enforcement tactics such as forensics and that INTERPOL is the agency best suited to guide the effort.INTERPOL, which has 190 member countries, is already working along these lines with initiatives like Project Wisdom, which aims to strengthen law enforcement capacity to protect elephants and rhinoceros in Africa, said Deon Burger, a representative of INTERPOL’s Environmental Security Sub-Directorate.“The elephant crime report essentially reflects how we think we can tackle the problem. Now, we have to move forward and ask ourselves – how do we get there?” Burger said.The key aim of the intelligence-led approach would be:Establish and develop requisite skills and procedures for evidence-based information and intelligence collection and exploitation on elephant poaching, ivory trafficking, and interrelated crime in and from Africa.Generate and gather actionable intelligence on international criminal networks and individuals involved in ivory poaching and trafficking in and from Africa.Identify, disrupt, and dismantle the transnational organized criminal networks involved in elephant poaching, ivory trafficking, and interrelated crime and trafficking in and from Africa.Enhance global situational awareness of these crime types.Support INTERPOL member country–led operations/investigations that result in the arrests and prosecutions of priority targeted offenders.Build a national-level intelligence system and capacity building over three to five years. Show Less -
The design of this stretch of highway between Vladicin Han and Donji Neradovac in South Serbia, was such that this particular electrical pole – with the stork nest on top of it - was standing in the w... Show More +ay of the future motorway. During the summer and autumn of 2014, construction around the pole was in full swing. But no one was touching the pole. A representative of the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia visited the site in July to prepare a preliminary plan for the relocation of the nest. The storks were monitored on a daily basis in anticipation of their migration.As of mid-November the situation was “clear.” On November 25, 2014, when the storks were already thousands of miles away in Africa, workers from “ELBA,” a private electrical construction company, began the task of removing the 250 kilos (550 pounds) nest, preserving it, and storing it nearby.“The idea was to move it to the nearest electrical pole, which was only 30 meters away,” says Branislav Cvetkovic, the owner of ‘ELBA.’“When we took it down, we were surprised to see how big it was. Its radius was 240 centimeters (93.6 inches) and it was some 80 centimeters (31.2 inches tall). The nearest pole couldn’t support it. So we moved it to the other side of the highway. It was a risky job, since an electrical cable was going right through the nest.”Cvetkovic himself worked alongside his staff to help reallocate the nest. He charged nothing for the job.As of March 21, 2015, the date when spring officially comes in this part of the world, every now and then all eyes would go up to the nest on top of the electrical pole.Will they come back?“The concern regarding the storks’ return was felt by all participants – and with good reason, as technical reasons didn’t allow for the nest to be relocated to the pylon which was deemed most suitable”, says Vukica Popadic, an environmental specialist from “Louis Berger,” the supervising consulting firm on site. And then one day at the beginning of April there was widespread delight.The storks were back!“I am particularly happy that we, as the investor in this big infrastructure project, showed particular responsibility in preserving a natural habitat and enabled these beautiful birds to come back to their breeding grounds,” says Darko Subarevic, Deputy Manager of the Corridor X Company’s South Project.This relocation serves as an excellent example of good practice of an employer - in this case Koridori Srbije - in protecting the natural flora and fauna during the construction of infrastructure corridors in the Republic of Serbia. It is also an example of how issues in construction can be resolved through joint action and cooperation of all parties with no additional cost to the project.The storks and sparrows will never know any of this.They are happy to continue flying around Zlatokop. Show Less -
WASHINGTON, June 4, 2015 – A $90 million grant program was approved by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) yesterday for a global partnership to promote investments in biodiversity conservation, pre... Show More +serve wildlife and encourage sustainable livelihoods in Africa and Asia.The new Global Partnership on Wildlife Conservation and Crime Prevention for Sustainable Development builds on the urgent need to address wildlife poaching and illegal trade as a development issue that deprives countries of their natural assets. It aims to strengthen cooperation between development partners that will bring together biodiversity conservation, sustainable livelihoods activities, and poverty reduction.“The GEF is pleased to support the critical fight against illegal wildlife trade and poaching, and we are looking forward to work with country partners and other stakeholders to address this significant driver of biodiversity loss that has such negative impacts on protected area sustainability and human wellbeing in Africa and elsewhere,” said Naoko Ishii, GEF CEO and Chairperson.“The recent wildlife poaching crisis in Africa has undermined its financial, social and economic capital while threatening the development of tourism and fueling political instability,” said Makhtar Diop, Vice-President of the Africa Region, World Bank. “We hope that this partnership will preserve wildlife and increase the resilience of communities whose livelihoods depend on these natural resources.Participating countries include Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Congo Republic, Gabon, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, India, and Indonesia. The GEF agencies contributing to the partnership include the Asian Development Bank, International Union for Conservation of Nature, United Nations Development Program, United Nations Environment Program, the World Bank and World Wildlife Fund. In addition to the GEF grant funds, the partnership will leverage US$513 million in co-financing from other sources including, IBRD and IDA. The World Bank, as lead agency of the new program, will coordinate the partnership and ensure a cross-fertilization of the lessons learned across projects and countries.“UNDP is fully committed to work with our partner countries in addressing the illegal wildlife trade which is pushing endangered species toward extinction, fueling corruption and conflict, destroying lives and deepening poverty and inequality. We believe that addressing the current crisis involves three key strategies: generating sustainable livelihoods for communities, strengthening law enforcement, and reducing the demand for illegally traded wildlife, strategies which are employed by the recently approved program,” said Adriana Dinu, Executive Coordinator, Environmental Finance, UNDP.The country projects will focus on designing and implementing national strategies to improve wildlife and protected areas management, enhance community livelihood benefits, reduce poaching, and eliminate illegal wildlife trade. The activities will use an approach that create stronger incentives for local communities to engage in protecting wildlife and for public-private partnerships to invest in sustainable local development.“Industrial scale poaching is violently upending pathways out of poverty for thousands of rural families across Africa,” said Paula Caballero, Senior Director, Environment & Natural Resources Global Practice, World Bank. “This program will build on national efforts to stop the slaughter and will once more make a country's wildlife wealth available to support pro-poor decision-making.”"This program aims to raise the scale of what the GEF can do to stop the bleeding across Africa and lay the foundation for wildlife to become a positive force for economic development across the continent," said Gustavo Fonseca, Director of Programs in the GEF.Illegal wildlife trade is a multifaceted global threat that is gaining increased international attention. The problem is particularly acute in Africa, where species such as the African elephant, white and black rhinos, and several other species are being poached to the brink of extinction. In 2014, over 25,000 elephants were slaughtered for their ivory. Presently, the global wildlife market is estimated at $8 billion - $10 billion annually, with wildlife crime becoming more international and better connected to organized crime and insurgency. (Chatham House)Crime affecting natural resources and the environment inflict damage on developing countries worth more than US$70 billion a year (World Bank 2014). This means that when natural resources and wildlife are extracted illegally, private and public income is effectively lost. This World Bank-led partnership will support international efforts to stop the environmental and social crises generated by the poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking between Africa and Asia.“Vulnerability to environmental crimes, and the underlying demand driving the related trade, is often deepened by overarching problems of governance, corruption, and weaknesses in accountability at the national level,” said Leonard McCarthy, WBG Vice-President for Integrity. “This cancer of corruption can only be excised through hard-nosed prosecution, transparency and partnership”.The multilateral treaty known as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of species. CITES parties banned trade in ivory in 1990. Building on CITES decisions and work done to operationalize those decisions, the London Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade in 2014 and the follow-up Kasane Conference in 2015 resulted in a declaration signed by 46 countries to restate support for the ban under CITES and stop illegal wildlife trade around the world. The World Bank is a member of the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC), an effort led by CITES to bring coordinated support to national wildlife law enforcement agencies, and will work with partners to ensure a successful implementation of the new Global Partnership on Wildlife Conservation and Crime Prevention for Sustainable Development. Show Less -