The supporting partners the London Summit attendees cannot overlook

The London Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade is an opportunity for the highest levels of government to come together as a united front against the illegal wildlife trade. The expertise and support of the international community can only bring us closer to achieving the shared goals of the global community.

But as HRH Prince of Wales said: “Neither governments, international organizations, nor private companies can tackle this enormous task alone. It will take action from all of us to beat back this highly organized criminal activity.”

Forging partnerships is a crucial dimension of environmental law enforcement worldwide.

Watch Prince Charles and his son Prince William in this video message supporting the campaign to stop the illegal wildlife trade.


Azzedine Downes, president of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), and I discussed this at length during the INTERPOL-UNEP Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Committee Events in Nairobi, Kenya, which brought together approximately 500 officials from some 75 countries, 13 inter-governmental organizations and 53 non-governmental organizations, academia and the private sector. I have reflected on this conversation and the importance of collaboration numerous times ever since.

As Azzedine told me that day, “Unless we are able to come together and find a common language, the money that we spend in protecting animals will be limited in its impact.”

Impact is urgently needed.

Watch the author and IFAW CEO Azzedine Downes discuss the issues surrounding wildlife crime during the INTERPOL-UNEP Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Committee Events in Nairobi, Kenya.


From a criminal perspective, environmental crime is often seen as high-profit, low-risk. There is an absence of detection procedures, which is further complicated by the lack of environmental law enforcement capacity and resources. These realities account for the presence of increasingly sophisticated criminal networks within the illegal wildlife trade.

The trade in products that are the result of elephant, rhinoceros, and tiger poaching continues to be one of the biggest challenges facing environmental law enforcement.  IFAW continues to support our work and the capacity building initiatives that are the cornerstone of INTERPOL intelligence-led enforcement.

IFAW’s assistance was crucial to the success of Operation WORTHY, Operation WENDI, and Project WEB to seize ivory, rhino horns, other animal derivatives, and dangerous weapons. It was because of this cooperation that our Environmental Crime Programme agreed to the first-ever Memorandum of Understanding with a non-governmental organization to fight wildlife crime.

I fully expect the 50-plus leaders here at the summit to immediately engage the same organizations that have been supporting the fight against wildlife crime. If we don’t continue to nurture these partnerships, we will indeed be limited in our impact.


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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. Joseph Okori
Regional Director, Southern Africa and Program Director, Landscape Conservation
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Regional Director, Russia & CIS
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
Peter LaFontaine, Campaigns Manager, IFAW Washington, D.C.
Campaigns Manager, IFAW Washington, D.C.
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
Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy