Fourteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, Kyoto, Japan 7-12 March 2021

October 1, 2020

Fourteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, Kyoto, Japan 7-12 March 2021


 Rethinking the ‘Boundary-arrangement’ for an Evidence-based Approach in Addressing Wildlife and Forest crime

Poaching and illegal trade in wild fauna and flora is a major threat to global biodiversity and addressing the issue remains complicated as it involves multiple countries and transnational criminal networks. The sophistication in the modus operandi of this high value crime has made it even more complex to detect. Biodiversity regions in the global south are the most affected as they are home to the most valuable fauna and flora but have meagre resources for enforcement activities to ensure protection. Addressing the issue of illegal trade in wild fauna and flora in Africa requires much more than policing and development of technological tools. The need for an integrated approach, where cooperation among various stakeholders (United Nations, governmental and non-governmental agencies including research institutions and industries) are critical. However, in reality, such cooperation works only when there exists mutual organizational benefits (primarily funding) and shared beliefs. As a result, several important initiatives, including law enforcement efforts, are often terminated prematurely or after the project phase. In this session, we will set the stage for a multi-disciplinary policy-research framework where we will bring together policy makers, scientists and technocrats working on different aspects of IWT to a common discussion platform in identifying the right mix of technology and policy for addressing one aspect of IWT – wildlife crime information management. One key question the session plan to address will be on whether research institutions can be the enablers for strengthening collection and compilation of data on illegal wildlife crime. The session will include presentations from senior policy experts, law enforcement experts and reputed researchers; where they will outline the various efforts undertaken to combat transnational wildlife crime. They will also discuss the socio-economic development patterns such as land use change, land tenure system and developmental projects that have directly contributed to poaching and illegal wildlife trade. Enforcement officials will explain about the challenges they face in addressing transnational wildlife crime and the possible support they require from academic and technical experts. Technocrats will explain the tools, such as transboundary information systems and DNA technology that are being deployed in addressing the problem. The event is especially important in the current context of transnational illegal wildlife trade and the importance of science based solutions to monitor the cause and effect of IWT. The session will also discuss the link between weather, poaching and pandemic diseases and how climate change has influenced the pattern. Policy makers from Asia and Africa will also discuss the importance of linking the information from the two continents to identify the pattern of illegal wildlife trade and poaching using the Wildlife Enforcement Monitoring System (WEMS) platform. Indications of the negative effects of IWT as seen with the pandemic zoonotic disease spread in Asia and Africa; the role of United Nations Organisations including UNODC and World meteorological Organisation will also be discussed. The session will conclude with a panel discussion, which will outline a way forward in creating a common ground where all the various sets of actors and technologies can complement each other. The 73rd UN General Assembly meeting held on 10 September 2019 (A/73/L.120) recognized that there is a need to tailor research to the specific drivers of the illegal use of a species or products and to invest in tools, data analysis and funding to address demand for illegal wildlife products based on evidence and built on best practice.

How the session applies to UN sustainable goals:
The session contributes to the following SDGs 1. SDG -15 – Protect Biodiversity and Natural Habitats – Addressing Poaching and trafficking through the lens of SDG Target 15.7 – Combat Global Poaching and Trafficking – SDG Target 15 c 2. SDG -16 – Strengthen National Institutions to Prevent Violence and Combat Terrorism and Crime SDG Target 16.A – Ensure Public Access to Information and Protect Fundamental Freedoms – SDG Target 16.10 3. SDG 17 – Promote Sustainable Technologies to Developing Countries SDG target 17.7 – Knowledge Sharing and Cooperation for Access to Science, Technology and Innovation – SDG Target 17.6 – Strengthen the Science, Technology and Innovation Capacity for Least Developed Countries – SDG 17.8