Wildlife and habitats
The illegal wildlife trade in live species or their parts – including everything from rhino horn and elephant ivory, to pangolin scales, live parrots, lion bones, shark fins, medicinal plants and timber - is an urgent global conservation challenge that has escalated dramatically in recent decades. Wildlife trafficking is a multifaceted, global threat that erodes biodiversity and ecosystem integrity, leading to massive organized poaching criminalizing local communities for small returns. This, in turn, strips countries of their national assets, deprives local communities of income-earning possibilities from tourism and sustainable use, and often fuels corruption and conflict.
To meet the challenges posed by wildlife trafficking and poaching, stronger policy frameworks, institutions and law enforcement are needed. Equally important is taking action to simultaneously reduce poverty through expanded livelihood opportunities and the involvement of indigenous and local communities in decision-making, as well as general awareness-raising.
UNDP supports an integrated approach to address wildlife trafficking. We support countries to diversify rural livelihoods, manage human-wildlife conflict, strengthen protected area management, share the benefits from sustainable wildlife management with local communities, and strengthen site-based and national enforcement responses. We currently support 19 countries under the GEF-financed Global Wildlife Program, a global partnership that aims to reduce poaching, trafficking, and demand for illegal wildlife products.
UNDP facilitates south-south and triangular co-operation between source, transit, and consumer countries, and hosts the Secretariat for the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on Illicit Trade in Wildlife and Forest Products and the Jaguar 2030 Coordination Committee working with jaguar range countries and supporting organizations including Panthera, WCS, and WWF.
UNDP also hosts the Secretariat for the Lion’s Share Fund, harnessing the power of advertising and businesses to conserve wildlife and habitats worldwide.
Partnerships in this field include national and local governments, CITES, sister UN agencies such as UNEP and UNODC, the World Bank, the Global Environment Facility, the United for Wildlife coalition, and other civil society and private sector partners.