Evidence Based Policy-Making in Addressing Wildlife Crime

This story map addresses the importance of sharing information related to trans-boundary wildlife crime for law enforcement, scientists and policy makers working on governance, international relations, and public policy to combat illegal trade.


Combating Wildlife Crime (a World Wildlife Day Event)

DATE/TIME : 2014/03/03  09:15 - 18:00


World Wildlife Day

In December 2013, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 3 March as World Wildlife Day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild fauna and flora.

In its resolution, the General Assembly reaffirmed the intrinsic value of wildlife and its various contributions — including ecological, genetic, social, economic, scientific, educational, cultural, recreational and aesthetic — to sustainable development and human well-being, and recognized the important role of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in ensuring that international trade does not threaten species’ survival.

The resolution calls for all UN Member States, organizations of the United Nations system, and other relevant stakeholders (including global, regional and sub-regional organizations,non-governmental organizations, civil society and individuals) to observe and raise awareness of World Wildlife Day.

As its contribution, the United Nations University will host a World Wildlife Day conference on 3 March 2014 at UNU Headquarters in Tokyo.

The Tokyo Conference on Combating Wildlife Crime will include a series of panel discussions in which experts will discuss such topics as:

  • Evidence-based policy making in addressing wildlife crime 
  • The role of the United Nations in during environmental crisis  (in the context of poaching)
  • Lessons that can be learned from the experience of Japan in combating wildlife crime.

The purpose of the panel discussions is to raise awareness of and bring insight to current issues regarding policymaking in wildlife conservation.

This event is open to the public. 

Simultaneous Japanese–English interpretation will be provided.

For more information, see the event programme.

Related Files for Tokyo Conference on Combating Wildlife Crime

Summary of Tokyo Conference on Combating Wildfile Crime

Programme - 3 March Public Event: Tokyo Conference on Combating Wildlife Crime

Programme - 4 & 5 March Nonpublic Events: Tokyo Conference on Combating Wildlife Crime

Short biography of invited speakers and chairs


WEMS Day 3

Group photo with Hon. Dr. Maria Mutagamba (Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Republic of Uganda)


CITES COP16 Side Event Report

United Nations University-Institute for Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS) in partnership with Lusaka Agreement Task Force, ASEAN-Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN) and ITC-University of Twente, presented the Wildlife Enforcement Monitoring System (WEMS) initiative on 6th March 2013 during the sidelines of the 16th Conference of Parties of the CITES Convention held in Bangkok.

The event was presided by the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism of the United Republic of Tanzania Hon. Ambassador Khamis Juma Suedi Kagasheki and Minister for Forest Economy and Sustainable Development of the Republic of Congo, Hon. Henri DJOMBO, (MP) (who is also the President of the Governing Council of the Lusaka Agreement) along with the Vice Rector of United Nations University, Prof Govindan Parayil; Dr. Theerapat Prayurasiddhi, Deputy Director General, Department of National Parks, Thailand and, the Director of Lusaka Agreement Task Force, Mr. Bonaventure Ebayi. The event was supported by International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). 

Read the full report


Bytes beyond Borders: Strengthening Transboundary Information Sharing on Wildlife Crime through the Wildlife Enforcement Monitoring System (WEMS) initiative

Scholars, practitioners, government officials and UN agencies will convene at a CITES COP16 side event to address the problem of transboundary wildlife crime, and ways of combating such crimes with advanced technology. In particular, the event will highlight the WEMS initiative, a collaborative project based at UNU with the objective of monitoring wildlife crime, sharing selected information online, and providing analysed information to partnering national enforcement agencies and international policymakers. The side event will bring together experts to discuss (1) how WEMS can act as a common information sharing platform between ASEAN and Lusaka Agreement member countries, and (2) the different governance frameworks to be considered within WEMS in managing such a trans-regional platform. 

Policy Brief
Press Release
Event Report

Date: 6th March 2013

18:00 - 20:00 Hrs - Technical Session
20:00 - 22:00 Hrs - Cocktail Reception
Venue: Plenary room 2&3 - Queen Sirikit National Convention Center

Session Chair: Hon. Ambassador Khamis Juma Suedi Kagasheki, Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism of the United Republic of Tanzania, Member of the Lusaka Agreement Gorvening Council
Session Vice-Chair: Prof. Govindan Parayil, Vice Rector, United Nations University and Director, UNU-IAS


Mr. Carlos Martin Novella, Senior Advisor MEAs,
Ms. Klairoong Poonpon, Chair Person, Interpol Wildlife Working Group and Senior Technical Officer, Department of National Parks, Thailand
Dr. William Clark, Project Manager, Project WISDOM, Environmental Crime Programme, INTERPOL
Ms. Marceil Yeater, Legal Officer of CITES Secretariat


Introduction to WEMS InitiativeMr. Remi Chandran, Doctoral Fellow, UNU-IAS Japan & PhD Fellow Researcher, ITC -University of Twente, Netherlands
ICT Framework within WEMS, Dr. Ng S. T. Chong, Director of UNU Campus Computing Centre, Japan
Research and Analysis of WEMS Data, Dr. Lisa Lee,  JSPS Research Fellow, UNU-IAS, Japan
Combating Wildlife Crime using WEMS Research, Dr. Thomas H. Snitch, College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences, University of Maryland, United States and Visiting Professor of UNU-IAS, Japan
WEMS and Worldmap, Dr. Wendy Guan, Director, Center for Geographic Analysis, Harvard University (via video link).
Overview on LATF and WEMS Implementation in Lusaka Agreement Member States, Mr. Bonaventure EBAYI, Director Lusaka Agreement Task Force
Overview on ASEAN - WEN Enforcement Scenario and Prospects on WEMS Implementation in ASEAN-WEN, Mr. Manop Lauprasert, Senior Officer of ASEAN-WEN PCU


Report on WEMS Africa

Download a summary of the project activities carried out in Africa from inception to present.


WEMS highlighted on Harvard Gazzette 

Read how UNU-IAS's Wildlife Enforcement Monitoring System  (WEMS) will be enhanced through its partnership with Harvard University's open-source online application, WorldMap, in the Harvard Gazette.  WEMS is an environmental governance and policy tool that aims to monitor and protect wild fauna and flora from illegal wildlife trade. The project began in 2011 as a joint effort carried out by UNU, the Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) at the University of Twente and the Lusaka Agreement Task Force.


UNU-IAS and Lusaka Agreement to present WEMS-Africa at the 23rd INTERPOL Wildlife Crime Working Group Meeting

Date: 13th -17th February 2012

Venue: Dusit Thani Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand

Title Poaching-ivory
Enhancement of wildlife-enforcement information sharing, governance and policy research through the Wildlife Enforcement Monitoring System – WEMS-Africa: A case study.

Mr. Karl Karugaba (Lusaka Agreement Task Force, Nairobi, Kenya)
Mr. Remi Chandran (Visiting Research Fellow (UNU-IAS) & PhD Researcher, ITC-University of Twente, Netherlands)

On 18th July 2011, Dr. Noah Wekesa, the Minister for Forestry and Wildlife of Kenya officially launched the Wildlife Enforcement Monitoring System (WEMS) in Africa to enable coordinated information sharing between the member states of the Lusaka Agreement. This was also for the first time East African wildlife enforcement units were connected digitally and across national borders through a common Geospatial information sharing platform. This joint presentation from the project partners will cover the various aspects which lead to the success of the implementation process and will touch upon important steps taken in governance of such a system which enables law enforcement agencies to come together.

In the first part of the presentation, Mr. Karl Karugaba of Lusaka Agreement will introduce the important policy steps taken to bridge African countries together through WEMS-Africa. This will be followed by a briefing by Remi Chandran on the various models on governance tested to find the best mechanism for sharing information between countries. Here the integration of ICT requirements into the various governance paradigms will also be explained. The importance of research using wildlife crime data generated through WEMS Africa will also be highlighted and will demonstrate how it aids our understanding on the driving factors that influence illegal trade. The presentation will conclude with a short demonstration of WEMS-Africa.


Harvard’s Center for Geographic Analysis and UNU-IAS collaborate to enhance spatial dimensions of Wildlife Enforcement Monitoring System 

The United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS) and the Center for Geographic Analysis (CGA) at Harvard University have signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at cooperation and collaboration on advancing technologies for online spatial data sharing and web mapping services regarding the Wildlife Enforcement Monitoring System (WEMS). WEMS, a database of wildlife crime developed by UNU, is now being used to support the Lusaka Agreement on Cooperative Enforcement operations directed at illegal trade in flora and fauna.  

Effective from 1 October 2011, the agreement facilitates the incorporation of Harvard CGA’s WorldMap online database and mapping portal into WEMS. The integration of this rich source of spatial data into the cloud-based information-sharing platform developed by United Nations University Campus Computing Centre will give the users of WEMS unprecedented analytical power to understand patterns in wildlife crime, not just in terms of location but in concert with the range of socio-economic data present in WorldMap.

Read Press Release




(NAIROBI, 13th - 14th OCTOBER 2011)


LATF in collaboration with UNU-Japan and the ITC – University – Twente (the Netherlands) held the first training workshop on WEMS in May 2011 as a first step in implementation of the WEMS at the Lusaka Agreement Task Force and the Lusaka Agreement Member States.

The objective of the workshop organized by LATF at the seat of the Task Force on 13th and 14th      October 2011 was to review as well as share expereinces in implementation of WEMS and to train new officers nominated by the Member States.

The workshop was opened by the Director LATF Mr. Bonaventure Ebayi. Present at the opening session was UNEP Director’s representative Dr. Margaret M. Oduk who in her few remarks recognized the importance of the WEMS initiative.



Participants, with Dr. Margaret Oduk-UNEP representative and Mr. Bonaventure Ebayi. Director LATF

Read more


Africa's War Against Wildlife Crime Continues

WEMS Inauguration

The fight against illicit wildlife trade in Africa received a significant boost on 18 July, with the launch of the region’s first-ever transboundary information system on wildlife crime, known as Wildlife Enforcement Monitoring System (WEMS), in Nairobi, Kenya. Developed by the United Nations University (UNU), WEMS will strengthen participating countries’ capacity to track, apprehend  and deter smugglers by establishing a regional information-sharing platform.

Speaking at the inauguration event, Kenya’s Minister for Forestry and Wildlife, Dr. Noah Wekesa, said WEMS will “mark a new beginning in the history of Africa, where we show the world an example of good governance in Africa”.

A flagship project of UNU Institute of Advance Studies (UNU-IAS), WEMS is the culmination of seven years of interdisciplinary field research. It provides a comprehensive system for monitoring, analysing and reporting illicit wildlife seizures, identifying transit routes and tracing contraband back to its source-point.

Read the full article


News on Inauguration of Wildlife Enforcement Monitoring System (WEMS) and African Elephant Day

Environment News Agency



Radio Netherlands


Kenyan Broadcasting Corporation (KBC)

Capital FM -Kenya - (Including photos of the WEMS launching)


News in French


University of Twente News




The United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS), in partnership WEMS Mapwith the Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF) and the University of Twente, will launch the Wildlife Enforcement Monitoring System (WEMS) on 18 July in Nairobi, Kenya. The aim is to help participating African countries fight transnational illicit wildlife trade by strengthening their information-sharing capacity. The detailed proramme for the event is as follows:


VENUE: Laico Regency Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya

Date: 18th July 2011
Time: 17:45hrs  Arrival of Guests

1800hrs  Remarks

  • Welcoming  by the Director,  Lusaka Agreement Task Force,  Mr. Bonaventure Ebayi
  • Director, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Dr. Julius Kipng’etich
  • Representative of ITC- University of Twente- Netherlands, Dr Paul Van Dijk
  • Vice Rector United Nations University-Japan, Prof. G. Parayil

Tea break

  • Presentation of  Books to KWS Field Training School , Manyani
  • Remarks by Hon. Dr. Noah Wekesa MP Minister for Forestry and Wildlife of the Republic of Kenya
  • Remarks by Hon. Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu MP Minister for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities of the Republic of Uganda,  Rapporteur of the Lusaka Agreement Governing Council
  • Speech by Hon. Ezekiel  Maige MP, Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism of the United Republic of Tanzania and President of the Lusaka Agreement Governing Council 

Launching Ceremony:

  • Wildlife Enforcement Monitoring System (WEMS-Africa)
  • African Elephant Law Enforcement Special Account (AELESA) and presentation of Donations and Pledges.


WEMS (Wildlife Enforcement Monitoring System)

WEMS is an application of ICT to support the combat of transboundary wildlife trafficking, WEMS logousing both non-spatial and spatial data gathered through a national data compilation and analysis architecture.  The operational framework aims to enhance the information sharing, gathering and analysis capabilities of wildlife trade monitoring networks. 

More information is available in the WEMS handbook, which explains the conceptual framework and lays out the implementation directions.

The Wildlife Enforcement Monitoring System (WEMS) is developed by the United Nations University - Campus Computing Centre under the auspices of the United Nations University - Institute of Advanced Studies, and supported by ESRI Corporation


Lusaka Agreement Task Force Logo

WEMS Training Workshop

The Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF) in collaboration with the United Nations University and the Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) of the University of Twente organized a regional training on Wildlife Enforcement Monitoring System (WEMS).  The training drew participants from Parties to the Lusaka Agreement at the headquarters of Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) in Nairobi, Kenya from May 23 to May 25, 2011. The regional training was designed to equip nominated trainees with skills, techniques and knowledge required for implementing WEMS in the member countries.   Photo archive and more details here