First ever NGO, INTERPOL agreement establishes partnership to fight wildlife crime

In the video above, IFAW CEO & President Azzedine Downes speaks with INTERPOL at their headquarters in Lyon, France.

Yesterday, the International Fund for Animal Welfare cemented its long relationship with INTERPOL, signing a Memorandum of Understanding at INTERPOL international headquarters in Lyon, France. This is the first-ever MoU signed by INTERPOL’s Environmental Crime Programme with a non-governmental organization.

This MoU establishes a cooperative framework to combat global wildlife crime, especially crime related to the illegal killing of and trafficking in elephant, rhinoceros and tiger parts.

Given the global scale of illegal wildlife trafficking, INTERPOL, through its international reach, can undertake enforcement operations in source, transit and end-user countries, which complements our strategy to combat wildlife crime.

IFAW President and CEO Azzedine Downes with Interpol's Executive Director of Police Services, Jean-Michel Louboutin signing an MoU at Interpol's headquarters in Lyon, France yesterday.Since 2006, IFAW’s Prevention of Wildlife Trafficking trainings have been attended by about 1,745 participants in 59 training workshops in approximately 36 countries. Many of these have been conducted in partnership with INTERPOL.

In March and April in 2012 across 14 African countries, IFAW funded INTERPOL’s Operation WORTHY. Many of the law enforcers from those countries participated in our training workshops that prepared them to target the illegal elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn trade. As a result of the operation, INTERPOL made 214 arrests and seized 2 tons of contraband ivory, 20 kilos of horn and 30 illegal firearms.

That operation is just one phase in IFAW and INTERPOL’s long-term vision and plan for reducing the trafficking of ivory and rhino horn in Africa and beyond.

Utilizing the trust that's been built up over the years to formalize our relationship with INTERPOL, we can now work more closely, and better cooperate to plan for the future.

The partnership also provides a template for other NGOs to follow. No one government or NGO is big enough, or well-resourced enough, to stop wildlife trafficking alone; through joining forces we will be much more effective in saving animals.


For more information about our efforts with INTERPOL, visit our campaign page.

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Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
President and Chief Executive Officer
Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
Dr. Elsayed Ahmed Mohamed, Regional Director, Middle East and North Africa
Regional Director, Middle East and North Africa
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation
Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation Program
Faye Cuevas, Esq.
Senior Vice President
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
Executive Vice President
Executive Vice President
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
Director, International Policy
Pauline Verheij, Program Manager, Wildlife Crime
Program Manager, Wildlife Crime
Rikkert Reijnen, Program Director, Wildlife Crime
Program Director, Wildlife Crime
Country Representative, Germany
Country Representative, Germany
Staci McLennan, Director, EU Office
Director, EU Office
Tania McCrea-Steele, Project Lead, Global Wildlife Cybercrime
Project Lead, Global Wildlife Cybercrime
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Consulting Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy