The Secretaries of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Defra, and DFID has announced a £44.5 million boost for anti-wildlife trafficking projects around the world. The Foreign Secretary set out the Government’s ambition to reduce the illegal killing of African elephants for ivory by at least one third by 2020, and to further halve this rate by 2024.
Defra have announced £4.5 million for 14 new Challenge Fund projects to combat the illegal wildlife trade by addressing demand reduction, strengthening enforcement and criminal justice, and providing alternative livelihoods.
Environment Secretary, Michael Gove said, “Environmental challenges do not respect borders, and require coordinated international action. Our Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund is driving change to combat this despicable criminality. The 14 projects range across 27 countries and showcase measures from criminal justice to education. These priorities reflect our commitment in the 25 Year Environment Plan to work with other nations to stamp out this vile trade.”
Projects that will receive funding include supporting eco-guardians and community enforcement networks to protect elephants, a ‘payback’ scheme for the perpetrators of IWT and the development of strong room best practice guidelines for the storage of seized illegal ivory. There will also be funding provided to disrupt the poaching affecting iconic species such as Sumatran tigers and snow leopards.
DFID and Defra have also helped secure an increase of up to £40m in international efforts to protect global nature including helping to end the wildlife trade over the next four years. It will see more funding than ever before being spent on projects fighting the illegal wildlife trade across Africa and Asia, including tackling corruption, strengthening border law enforcement and promoting the development of nature-based tourism. It is through these long term solutions that this trade can be ended permanently.