In recent years, big game poaching in sub-Saharan Africa, largely controlled by organized crime, has seen growing professionalization. According to the latest report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), elephant (30.6%), rhino (11.8%) and pangolin (13.9%) are among the most illegally trafficked wildlife worldwide (according to aggregate value of illegal goods seized 2014-2018). In 2018 alone, more than 10,000 elephants and over 800 rhinos were poached in Africa.
The demand for ivory, rhino horn and pangolin scales is driven by economic growth, particularly in Asian countries like China, Vietnam and Thailand. The poaching crisis has implications for the conservation of these endangered species and for the economic basis and security of the affected countries. High profit margins and weak governance provide a breeding ground for corruption along the entire illegal trade chain.
Objective and impact assessment
Given the complexity and cross-cutting nature of the issue, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV) commissioned GIZ with the implementation of the Partnership against Wildlife Crime. The project builds on the results and experiences of the previous projects “Partnership against Poaching and Illegal Wildlife Trade in Africa and Asia” (2017-2021) and “Combating Poaching and Illegal Wildlife Trade in Africa and Asia” (2013-2017). The objective is to improve and broaden the implementation of proven approaches by key stakeholders to curbing transnationally organized wildlife crime in various affected countries, with a focus on illegal wildlife trade of rhino horn, ivory, and pangolin products from the source countries mainly in Africa to consumer countries in Asia. The project addresses the whole illegal trade chain, supporting improved protection in the source regions, strengthened law enforcement and cross-country cooperation and demand reduction through behavior change of consumers.
Country: global, with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa and Asia
Overall term: 2021 to 2025
Partners in China: Chinese National Forestry & Grassland Administration, CITES Management Authority (MA), China Customs, Shanghai Customs College, China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA), Chinese Chamber of Commerce, The Centre for Chinese Studies, Yunnan Forest Police, TRAFFIC, WCS, WWF, private sector (online sector, tourism sector, logistic sector etc.)
Cooperation with China
The project supports diverse measures to enhance law enforcement in order to tackle wildlife crime in source and transit countries and to reduce demand by changing behaviors among the mainly Asian consumers.
Those approaches include activities in China such as awareness raising, and behavioral change campaigns targeted towards consumer groups and the business sector. Chinese companies operating in art, e-commerce, tourism or transport / logistics are supported in drawing up and disseminating codes of conduct and zero tolerance guidelines. As illegal trade is increasingly organized in social networks, the project cooperates with internet-based companies, e.g. through the Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online. These businesses have committed to deleting sales offers of illegal wildlife products continuously on their online platforms.
Furthermore, the project supports China’s enforcement community to tackle illegal wildlife trade, provides trainings on CITES implementation and facilitates China-Africa as well as inner Asia cooperation. Information and data on consumption trends are compiled through market monitoring and surveys and shared with the law enforcement agencies.
The project supported to put the issue on the agenda of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), which included tackling poaching and illegal wildlife trade for the first time in 2015 in its decisions and provides a platform for fostering the cooperation between African source and Asian destination countries. As a result, China and the African Union Commission agreed to further strengthen the capacity of wildlife conservation professionals, cooperation between customs authorities as well as establish an anti-smuggling cooperation mechanism in the future.