GEF Steps Up Efforts to Combat Wildlife Crime with Additional $40 Million to Expand Program
Washington DC, June 9, 2016 – The Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council today approved an additional $40 million for the Global Wildlife Program (GWP) expanding its support in the fight against illegal trafficking to 19 countries in Africa and Asia.
The GWP is a global partnership established to address the growing poaching crisis and an international call to action. The value of illegal trade has been estimated at between $10 and $23 billion per year, making wildlife crime the fourth most lucrative illegal business after narcotics, human trafficking and weapons.
The $131 million program is expected to leverage $704 million in additional co-financing over seven years. The national projects aim to promote wildlife conservation, wildlife crime prevention, and sustainable development in order to reduce adverse impacts to known threatened species from poaching and illegal trade. Additionally, a global coordination grant from the GEF will strengthen cooperation and facilitate knowledge exchange between national governments, development agency partners, and leading practitioners.
“Poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking are reaching unprecedented levels, robbing the livelihoods of local communities and eroding the global commons,” said Naoko Ishii, GEF CEO and Chairperson. “In response, the GEF has launched a major international effort to help tackle the supply, trade and demand for wildlife products. Importantly, the project is not only about stopping the slaughter of animals in the forests and savannas of Africa; it also aims at reducing the demand in Asia.”
Combating the illegal trade in wildlife is a high priority for the GEF. Last month, at the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, GEF joined other partners to support the launch of the Wild for Life campaign. This new UN-led campaign urges politicians, celebrities and business leaders to help bring global attention to the fight against the illegal wildlife trade.
“The GWP is a direct response to the rampant wildlife poaching and trafficking that are destroying countries’ natural capital, eroding the foundation of important economic sectors such as nature-based tourism, diminishing the rights of local communities and their access to livelihood options, and fueling criminal activities. The World Bank, as lead implementing agency of the GWP, is collaborating with countries and partner agencies to increase capacity and knowledge sharing, and collectively ensure the real value of wildlife is realized” said Ms. Paula Caballero, Senior Director, Environment & Natural Resources Global Practice, World Bank.
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