Now a US $213 billion industry, environmental and natural resource crimes such as poaching, illegal logging and wildlife trafficking are growing every year, putting natural resources and biodiversity at risk. This is not just a tragedy for people who love animals or care about the environment. When elephants are slaughtered for their ivory and trees are illegally logged, ecosystems break down. The world's poorest often bear the brunt of the fallout. That is where and why the World Bank comes into the picture.
THE LEADING FINANCIER IN THE FIGHT AGAINST WILDLIFE CRIME
"75 per cent of the world's poor live in rural areas, and rely on healthy ecosystems for food, shelter and livelihoods," says Valerie Hickey, Practice Manager of the World Bank Group's Environment and Natural Resources Global Practice. "The World Bank's goals are to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity in a sustainable manner, which is why we're committed to fighting wildlife crime, and protecting the animals, plants and marine life people depend on for survival."
The World Bank's fight against wildlife crime is unfolding on many fronts. As the largest provider of development assistance for fighting environmental and natural resource crime around the globe, the World Bank has invested US $300 million in 39 ongoing projects related to forestry, fisheries and wildlife law enforcement. The Bank is also a leading voice against money laundering, which keeps wildlife crime networks running. In addition, the World Bank partners with national agencies and global organizations engaged in law enforcement, finances research and intelligence around natural resource crime prevention, and funds organizations such as the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC).
PROTECTING A GLOBAL PUBLIC GOOD WITH INFORMATION AND INNOVATION
"Natural resource law enforcement is a global public good and not enough is being done in this area," says William Magrath, Lead Natural Resource Economist at the World Bank. "Many of the most damaging environmental crimes involve transnational activities, such as smuggling, where the effectiveness of the authorities in any one country is inherently limited. There are big gaps when it comes to financing, policy and capacity, which is why the environmental sector in developing countries is more vulnerable to crime than other areas and international cooperation is essential."
The World Bank actively identifies investment and policy reform needs...