The Principles of Wildlife Conservation Funds and Restitution – Additional Remedy to Wildlife and Forest Offences

15 March 2018

The Principles of Wildlife Conservation Funds and Restitution – Additional remedy to wildlife and forest offences

In East Asia and the Pacific alone, the estimated value of the illegal trade in wildlife is US$2.5 billion a year[1] (excluding illegal timber and off-shore fishing). Wildlife and forest crimes have transformed into one of the largest transnational organized criminal activities alongside the trafficking in drugs, arms and humans.

Yet one of the biggest issues faced by many wildlife law enforcement agencies in the region is the lack of prioritization and funding by their governments. This is a fundamental issue for the training of staff, setting up of enforcement networks, monitoring and evaluation systems, as these all require funding.

This monograph introduces the concept of establishing a wildlife conservation fund and the principles of restitution as a method of funding wildlife enforcement efforts. The paper includes discussions on the purpose of a wildlife conservation fund, how it can be funded, examples of such conservation funds, the status in the ASEAN region and recommendations. It was prepared as part of USAID Wildlife Asia’s Thailand Counter Wildlife Trafficking (CWT) Legislative Frameworks and Policy Reform Recommendations Package* being developed for the National Legislative Assembly of Thailand and the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA)**.

*USAID Wildlife Asia activity’s Objective 3 (Freeland being the implementing partner), aims to increase political will of decision makers and commitment of focal countries for countering wildlife crime including through national legislative, policy, and regulatory reform.

**AIPA convened specialized Wildlife Protection Working Groups under their AIPA Caucus platform, working towards harmonized and strengthen legislative response to combat wildlife trafficking in the region.

[1] UNDOC (2013). "UNODC Transnational Organized Crime Threat Assessment Chapter 7: The illegal wildlife trade in East Asia and Pacific." p86. 

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