The event took place at the 2nd INTERPOL-United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Conference being held in Singapore this week.
“In 2013 IFAW became the first ever NGO for the environment to sign an agreement with INTERPOL’s Environmental Security Sub-Directorate to support law enforcement efforts to combat transnational organised wildlife crime,” said Azzedine Downes, IFAW President and CEO.
“Having worked together informally since 1996, and formally since 2013, this new collaboration will focus particularly on combating crime related to the illegal killing and trafficking of elephants, rhinoceroses and tigers through regional and global operations”.
The agreement was signed by Downes and Noboru Nakatani, Executive Director of the INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation (IGCI).
INTERPOL and IFAW have collaborated on numerous projects during the last 10 years, most notably Project WISDOM focused on combating elephant and rhinoceros crimes across Africa and transnational law enforcement operations such as Worthy, INTERPOL’s largest-ever anti-ivory operation in 2012. These joint initiatives have led the way in support of Operation Infra Terra, a project begun last year to track down environmental crime fugitives around the world. Last December, Operation Infra Terra successfully tracked down the Kenyan head of an international ivory smuggling ring in Tanzania.
Other projects have included Project Web, an investigation into the illegal online trade in ivory.
To date, more than 2,800 participants have attended IFAW’s Prevention of Wildlife Trafficking trainings across 81 training workshops in approximately 38 countries. Many of these have been conducted in partnership with INTERPOL.
Downes said the further cooperation between INTERPOL and IFAW, and the larger scale of cooperation between organisations on particular initiatives will better protect animals around the world from wildlife crime’s scourge of killing.
The 2013 IFAW report, Criminal Nature: The Global Security Implications of the Illegal Wildlife Trade, documents the threat the illegal wildlife trade poses to elephants, rhinos and people.
Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues and protects animals around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org.