Wildlife crime has reached unprecedented levels. Poaching of elephants and rhinos has spiked in recent years due to the high demand for ivory, rhino horn, and other products in Asian black markets.
Organized criminal syndicates and terrorist groups are increasingly involved, arming poachers and using the wildlife trade to fund their activities. The slaughter and trade in African wildlife is creating instability, threatening national security, and undermining the foundations of economic development.
The Call for Political Will
The ICCF Group has identified governance as an under-addressed aspect in conservation and thus the limiting factor when it comes to creating positive and sustainable solutions to issues involving natural resources.
We facilitate a collaborative environment where governments, businesses, and the NGO community can come together and develop market-based approaches that incorporate the value of nature and sustainable management practices into the use of natural resources.
The most significant limiting factor in stemming the poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking crisis is political will. The ICCF Group is at the forefront of building political will to improve governance on wildlife by facilitating the work of caucuses in Botswana, Malawi, Kenya, Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe to toughen policies, coordinate across borders, and access international support. The ICCF Group facilitated the signing of the 2014 Arusha Declaration on Regional Conservation and Combating Wildlife/Environmental Crime by eight countries in East and Southern Africa. The ICCF Group is poised to expand its support for the formation and growth of conservation caucuses, as well as regional collaboration, throughout eastern and southern Africa over the next several years.
THE ICCF GROUP IN AFRICA
Engaging Policymakers and the Judiciary to Address the Illegal Wildlife Trade
The ICCF Group’s Conservation Council of Nations (CCN) is working to build political will, improve policies, and enhance judicial frameworks for conserving wildlife and combating wildlife crime across ten countries in central, east, and southern Africa as part of the GEF-financed, UNEP-implemented project: Engaging Policymakers and the Judiciary to Address Poaching and the Illegal Wildlife Trade in Africa. Targeted countries include: Botswana, Gabon, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
The project is building effective policy-making infrastructures and creating political will by developing the “architecture” needed for policy change, specifically the required mechanisms, relationships, and willingness among policymakers to take steps to mitigate illegal wildlife trade. The intended outcome is to create new and strengthen existing “conservation caucuses” with increased capacity and willingness to assess and address poaching and illegal wildlife trade at high levels of government. The project will further improve policy and judicial action to address poaching and illegal wildlife trade by leveraging CCN’s experience, ICCF’s relationships, and the expertise of partners and stakeholders to focus caucus attention and energy on putting in place the laws, policies, and regulations needed to mitigate illegal wildlife trade and on building the capacity of the judiciary to effectively enforce those laws.