New ELC initiative on WILDLEX to expand partnership and joint efforts towards combatting wildlife crime

The ELC conducted a technical meeting at the IUCN-Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO) in Nairobi, Kenya from the 26th-27th March 2018. The main agenda of the meeting was to identify potential partners from various organisations in Africa who are involved in wildlife crime case collection and who are willing to share these cases with the ELC for purposes of expanding the WILDLEX database. WILDLEX (www.wildlex.org)  is an online portal on wildlife related law developed by IUCN; whose purpose is to inter alia build capacity worldwide by providing  free and easy access to wildlife related legislation and case law, through employing modern technology.

WILDLEX Nairobi workshop

There were over 20 participants in attendance majority of them being legal experts in the field of wildlife crime from various countries in Africa including Namibia, Zambia, Malawi, Cameroon, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya. GIZ which greatly supports our wildlife crime work also had one of its representatives present in the meeting. The following are some of the major organisations that are involved in wildlife crime case collection from various courts in Africa that participated in the meeting:

  • African Wildlife Foundation (Kenya)                        
  • Legal Assistance Center (Namibia)                                     
  • Lilongwe Wildlife Trust (Malawi)                            
  • Natural Resource Conservation Network (Uganda)                                               
  • Space for Giants (Kenya)
  • TRAFFIC East Africa (Tanzania)
  • United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
  • Wildlife Crime Prevention (Zambia)
  • Wildlife Direct (Kenya)
  • WWF West Africa (Cameroon)                                                                    

The ELC commenced the meeting with a presentation on Wildlex which was then followed by presentations from the other organisations. The meeting was very engaging and informative with different organisations getting to learn from each other and appreciate the nature of wildlife crime work that was being undertaken in various jurisdictions in Africa. All the participating organisations had the opportunity to present to the rest of the participants the nature and type of work that they are involved with in relation to wildlife crime. This was followed by interactive Q & A sessions.
The following are some of the key objectives that formed the basis of the thematic discussions of the meeting:

  • Lessons learnt and challenges experienced in collection of wildlife crime cases from various countries in Africa.
  • Opportunities for collaboration in collecting and sharing wildlife crime cases.
  • Potential use of Wildlex as a platform for case sharing.
  • How wildlife cases and legislation can be shared through Wildlex?
  • Format and structure of wildlife crime cases to be adopted on Wildlex.

Some major highlights of the meeting are as follows:
a)    There was general consensus for using the Wildlex online portal as a key tool for sharing wildlife crime cases from the region and globally as well.
b)    Most organisations were willing to share their wildlife crime database with the ELC on a mutual basis.

Next Steps:

  • Continuous follow up with the regional organisations from various countries in Africa to get additional cases in the Wildlex database.
  • Identify and meet with partners at the global level such as UNODC, INTERPOL, and ICCWC to progress international efforts to combat wildlife crime and other forms of environmental crime.

[the IUCN World Conservation Congress adopted Resolution 70 on Crimes against the Environment in Hawaii in 2016 which calls on the IUCN to work with such partners].The meeting is scheduled to take place in Bonn, July 2018.

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