Aerial photo of deforested land, Sebangau National Park, Indonesia

Time to get serious in fighting the corruption enabling wildlife and forest crime

EIA will be in Vienna this week, attending the 7th Conference of the State Parties (CoSP7) to the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), the only legally binding global anti-corruption instrument.

Corruption is widely accepted as a critical factor enabling illicit wildlife trafficking. Studies show that wildlife crime is exacerbated in countries where corruption is widespread.

Tackling corruption is essential to effectively combat wildlife trafficking and crime, a sentiment which was reiterated in the far reaching UN General Assembly resolution “Tackling illicit trafficking in wildlife” adopted by 193 Member States this year.

There is a growing acceptance of the integral role of corruption in the illegal wildlife trade yet there are pitifully few examples of implementation of UNCAC supporting international cooperation in forest and wildlife crime investigations. This is despite the repeated calls for its use.

At the last UNCAC Conference of the Parties in St Petersburg, EIA presented on the first ever high-level side event at a CoSP addressing the issue of corruption and its role in wildlife and forest crime and released this video which includes EIA undercover footage of corruption.

This year we hope to see the conference go further, with the adoption of commitments that directly address wildlife and forest crime, and to further strengthen the use of UNCAC to combat such crimes.

UNCAC provides us the tools to fight wildlife crime – now it is time for the Conference of State Parties to UNCAC to employ these tools to combat corruption associated with wildlife and forest crime.