Spotlight EU: agencies, states must join forces in fight against wildlife crime
Cooperation is imperative to tackle big global problems.
I was reminded of this while at the International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE) and Flemish High Council of Environmental Enforcement’s (VHRM) international conference on Environmental Enforcement Networks: Concepts, Implementation and Effectiveness in Brussels last week.
The conference brought together experts from around the world to speak about working in and creating enforcement networks.
The conference was also a great opportunity for me to learn from people who had created enforcement networks in a variety of seemingly unrelated fields affected by crime, ranging from pollution to waste.
Despite the different aims and focus of these disparate enforcement organisations, one thing was clear: In a globalised world with criminals acting within networks of their own, it is impossible for any single country or agency to go it alone. By joining forces, we can match the criminals in sheer numbers, while sharing the burden of resources and learning best practices from each other.
Enforcement is key to protecting the world’s wildlife from poaching and trafficking. Stand-alone efforts by ministries responsible for the protection of wildlife lack the capacity, resources, and resolve to combat threats from aggressive, well-organised, sophisticated and heavily armed criminals and criminal organisations, such as the Lizard King Anson Wong, Al Shabab and the Lords Resistance Army
IFAW strongly believes that a coordinated inter-agency response by a region’s governments is critical to effectively deal with the rising tide of wildlife crime.
I know wildlife crime is in the thoughts of some of Europe’s leaders, but to date no significant action has taken place. I am more determined than ever to persuade the European Union and EU Member States to devote more to this fight.
Networks such as those IFAW is helping to establish in the Horn of Africa can help stem the killing, but they need resources and assistance from us all to help protect our shared natural heritage.