Wildlife Crime and Corruption
This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from a U4 Partner Agency. The U4 Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International in collaboration with the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre based at the Chr. Michelsen Institute.
In which way does corruption exacerbate the problem of poaching and illegal wildlife trade in Southern Africa and how can anti-corruption contribute to the fight against it?
Support wildlife experts in the field in their fight against illegal wildlife trade.
1. Wildlife Crime and Corruption
2. Anti-corruption instruments that could support the fight against wildlife poaching and trade
There is little research on the relationship between wildlife crime and corruption. The majority of papers discussing wildlife crimes acknowledge corruption often facilitates poaching and wildlife trafficking, but do not analyse in great detail the main corruption risks and anti-corruption approaches that could contribute to the fight against wildlife crimes.
Corruption is seen as one of the most critical factors enabling illicit wildlife trafficking, as a facilitator of poaching as well as transactions between supply, transit, and demand countries, and an important source of resilience for organised criminal groups involved in such crimes. Corruption may facilitate many of the crimes along the wildlife trade route, from poaching (e.g. illegal payments to issue hunting licenses, bribery of forest patrol officers), to trafficking (e.g. bribery of customs officials, illegal payments to issue export certificates, etc), to law enforcement (e.g. bribery of police officers and prosecutors to avoid investigations; illegal payments to manipulate court decisions). In addition, corruption and weak regulatory frameworks may offer several opportunities to criminal organisations to launder the proceeds of crime. Against this backdrop, there are several corruption instruments and approaches that could help in the fight against illicit trade in wildlife, including establishing a strong legal framework against both corruption and wildlife trafficking, human resources management reforms in the public sector, capacity building on both.
AuthorsMaira Martini, Transparency International, [email protected]