Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge

Photo Credit: USAID
The Challenge Blog

At Kasane Conference, Progress on Combating Wildlife Trafficking But Much Yet to Do


Hippos on the Nile Photo credit: USAID FLICKR

On March 25, 2015 the government of Botswana hosted the Conference the Illegal Wildlife Trade in the town of Kasane. Governments from 31 countries from around the globe, as well as several multilateral organizations and NGOs, attended the conference in response to what has become an alarming loss of already endangered wildlife from trafficking by organized criminal networks and gangs.

The conference was designed as a follow-up meeting to the London Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade, hosted by the Government of the United Kingdom in February 2014. That conference was groundbreaking in that for the first time it brought together governments at the level of head of state, president, and foreign minister to discuss wildlife crime and its threat to regional stability and global security. It was also important because it gathered a broad range of experts from across government agencies – those charged not only with wildlife conservation, but also experts in law enforcement, national security, and finance.

In Kasane, the participating countries made a series of commitments to address several issues, including stemming the demand fueling the illegal wildlife trade, improving legal frameworks and law enforcement, and promoting sustainable livelihoods in areas affected by the trade. The countries also reviewed commitments previously made at the London Conference to determine what progress has been made and what work remains to be done.

The Kasane Conference continued the high level attention to wildlife crime. Presidents and ministers attended the meeting and vowed to continue the battle to end what many referred to as a "scourge." At the end of the conference, the governments in attendance issued a statement calling for, among other things:

  • strengthening partnerships with the private sector to stem the demand for wildlife and wildlife products;
  • improving the understanding of what effective demand reduction strategies are needed;
  • "following the money" connected to wildlife crime, so that the organized criminals currently profiting from it are brought to justice.
  • putting the issue of wildlife crime and related crimes such as money laundering on the agenda of international bodies dealing with law enforcement and financial crimes;
  • strengthening law enforcement by increasing international cooperation and the creation of regional wildlife enforcement networks; and
  • promoting the retention of benefits from wildlife resources by local people.

During the meeting, several ministers discussed the need to deploy sophisticated equipment, weaponry and technology to fight wildlife crime. They also called for countries to share intelligence through centralized databases. At the end of the meeting, Botswana's Minister of Environment and Tourism urged the governments to go back to their homes and "show the world that we are committed to end this dire threat to wildlife."

The next Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade, which will be hosted by the Government of Vietnam, is scheduled to take place in late 2016.

Claudia McMurray,
Senior Counsellor, Prince of Wales' International Sustainability Unit, and WCTC Adviser



* denotes required field


Get Updates

To your inbox

@Wildlife_Tech on Twitter