International Wildlife Law Enforcement Bodies


Wildlife law enforcement is key because it ensures that the various laws enacted by the states and the international agreements are properly implemented.  There are some international bodies that do a lot of work in supporting wildlife law enforcement nationally and internationally.

The Lusaka Agreement Task Force

Wildlife Enforcement - LATF LogoThe Lusaka Agreement on Cooperative Enforcement Operations Directed at Illegal Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora (LATF) is an initiative by African countries after attending a poaching crisis meeting in Lusaka, Zambia in 1992.  The Agreement was negotiated with technical support and inputs from UNEP and the donor community.  Founder countries then ratified membership in 1994 and cooperative enforcement operations commenced in 1999.  Membership is open to all African countries.  Currently the member states include Congo (Brazzaville), Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.  Signatories are Ethiopia, South Africa and Swaziland.

LATF promotes effective cooperative enforcement of national and regional wildlife laws as well as Multilateral Environmental Agreements.  Its long-term goal is reducing and ultimately eliminating illegal trade in wild fauna and flora.    To this end, LATF’s core functions are to deliver specific support to strengthen the capacity of Member States to prevent, investigate, prosecute and adjudicate crimes against species of wild flora and fauna and to create stronger regional approaches and collaborative platforms to combat wildlife poaching and trafficking.

Initiatives include:

  • Enforcement operations geared towards gathering, analysing and disseminating intelligence about wildlife security to member states and partners.
  • Joint trans-national and multi-regional wildlife law enforcement operations.
  • Law enforcement training including strengthening law enforcement response in combating wildlife crime at the regional level.
  • Inter-agency workshops to enhance cooperation among law enforcement agencies.
  • Joint investigations with are complex and inter-regional and involve transnational organized crime.
  • Repatriation of wildlife contraband back to the country of origin for prosecution purposes
  • Mapping out international smuggling routes.
  • Cross border wildlife law enforcement initiatives between countries.
  • Vital intelligence exchange.
  • Hot pursuit across national borders.
  • Wildlife Enforcement Monitoring System (WEMS) database which is a platform for monitoring wildlife trafficking and wildlife crime.

International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol)Wildlife Enforcement - INTERPOL Logo

Interpol’s mission is to enhance existing police resources around the world by assisting all organizations, authorities and services whose mission is to prevent or combat international crime.  Interpol is headquartered in Lyon France and has a global presence.  It has Regional Bureaus and National Central Bureaus (NCBs) in all the 194 member countries.

Initiatives include:

  • Interpol’s Environmental Crime Programme – there are two projects under the biodiversity category of this programme; Project Predator which is designed to support and enhance the government and law enforcement capacity for the conservation of wild tigers and Project Wisdom  which is designed to combat crimes against elephants and rhinoceros.
  • Ecomessages – this system provides a uniform intelligence data reporting system for environmental crimes.
  • Secure Global Police Communications System (I-24/7) – this is a platform for sharing criminal information among law enforcement entities and all member countries are connected.
  • Interpol Databases – these are operational services and databases for police through I-24/7 communication system. The databases contain essential information on nominal data, fingerprints, DNA profiles, child sexual abuse, stolen or lost travel documents, stolen motor vehicles and stolen works of art.
  • Interpol Notices – this is a request for international cooperation, or a specific and identifiable international alert published by Interpol.
  • Training and support of law enforcement agencies on information and intelligence management.
  • Training on investigative skills and identification of security threats.
  • Support in investigations following major criminal events.
  • Assisting in forensic expertise.
  • Support in criminal intelligence analysis.
  • Interpol Illicit Firearms Records and Tracing Management System (IARMS).
  • Specialised Enforcement Trainings.
  • National Environmental Security Task Force (NEST).

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

Wildlife Enforcement - UNODC LogoUNODC was established in 1997 through a merger between the United Nations Drug Control Programme and the Centre for International Crime Prevention.  It operates in all regions of the world through an extensive network of field offices. UNODC mandate includes assisting Member States in their struggle against illicit drugs, crime and terrorism.  In the Millennium Declaration, Member States also resolved to intensify efforts to fight transnational crime in all its dimensions, to redouble the efforts to implement the commitment to counter the world drug problem and to take concerted action against international terrorism.

Initiatives include:

  • UNODC Global Programme for Combating Wildlife and Forest Crime – launched in May 2014 and covers wildlife, timber and fisheries crimes.
  • Wildlife and Forest Crime Analytic Toolkit – this is a technical resource for Member States to undertake a national analysis of wildlife and forest crimes. The toolkit has five parts namely legislation, enforcement, judiciary and prosecution drivers and prevention and data and analysis.
  • Container Control Program (CCP)
  • Fighting Corruption – survey on corruption in illegal wildlife trade.
  • SHERLOC Knowledge Management Portal – SHERLOC (Sharing Electronic Resources and Laws on Crime) is an initiative to facilitate the dissemination of information regarding the implementation of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNCTOC).

The International Consortium On Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) Wildlife Enforcement - ICCWC Logo

ICCWC is a partnership between the CITES Secretariat, Interpol, UNODC, the World Bank and the World Customs Organization (WCO) and is a unique pool of technical and programming expertise to address wildlife and forest crime.

Author: DidiWamukoya

1 thought on “International Wildlife Law Enforcement Bodies

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