Tonight I am pleased to announce to a packed room at the global CITES conference that INTERPOL and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) are expanding our long-standing partnership to more closely align INTERPOL’s Project Wisdom and IFAW’s tenBoma initiative in Kenya.

For years, INTERPOL and IFAW have collaborated on multinational operations against wildlife trafficking including Operation Worthy, Operation Wendi, Operation Worthy II, and Operation Infra Terra, which have resulted in hundreds of arrests and seizures across dozens of countries.

INTERPOL’s mission is ‘connecting police for a safer world’.  INTERPOL enables police in our 190 member countries to work together to fight international crime. We provide a range of policing expertise and capabilities as well as coordinate global and regional operations to disrupt and dismantle the transnational criminal networks behind a range of crimes. 

So why do we need non-governmental organization (NGO) partnerships?

INTERPOL—just as local and national police—depend on government and public support to be effective. IFAW is among the top NGOs in mobilizing global support for wildlife crime enforcement and in connecting local communities and national police with global intelligence and enforcement experts like INTERPOL. 

WATCH: How tenBoma works

The tenBoma initiative provides an opportunity for data sharing, communication and collaboration among enforcement agencies, NGOs, frontline rangers and individual community members on the criminals involved in illegal wildlife trafficking—from the local level all the way up the chain to the international syndicates and kingpins behind this devastating trade.

We envision our expanded partnership through tenBoma will begin with national and regional enforcement workshops to discuss information sharing under tenBoma and Project Wisdom. 

Information sharing among individuals and organizations all committed to combatting wildlife crime may seem like common sense. However, in practice, given the expansive nature of the illegal activity, the sheer number of stakeholders and people on the ground, and varying levels of technological capacity among the people involved, it can be quite difficult to ensure that our communications are secure, accurate and effective.

IFAW’s iterative approach to developing tenBoma technology and procedures enabled them to field test the system with a small group of trusted Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) staff in a few poaching hotspots, welcoming KWS input into the further development of the initiative. Several operations have demonstrated the effectiveness of the tenBoma approach, and now more regions and departments within KWS have requested to join.

From this solid base, INTERPOL can now join with IFAW and work together to include more NGOs, more enforcement agencies and more communities.

Building slowly on this solid base, we can establish a strong yet flexible network that will allow us to defeat the criminal networks that for too long have been profiting from the illegal trade in wildlife.

-DH

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Article source: IFAW

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