November 30, 2015

Workshop Discusses the Use of Anti-Money Laundering Mechanisms to Fight Wildlife Trafficking

 

From November 16-20, 2015, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative’s (ABA ROLI’s) Regional Anti-Corruption Advisor Peter Ritchie co-chaired a breakout session on opportunities for detecting and investigating financial proceeds from wildlife trafficking. Attended by about 100 people, the session was part of the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering’s (APG’s) three-day capacity building workshop.

Held in Kathmandu, Nepal, the workshop was attended by almost 230 delegates from 38 jurisdictions, 10 international organizations and the private sector. The meeting focused on ways to detect and disrupt wildlife trafficking-related money laundering. It featured a keynote address by Adria De Landri, legal officer at the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, case studies from Asia and the Pacific, as well discussion about recent trends in money laundering and terrorism financing.

On November 18, a breakout session, chaired by Ritchie and Chris Batt, who advises the World Bank and the United Nations on countering money laundering and terrorism financing, addressed key opportunities to detect and investigate financial proceeds from wildlife trafficking. The session began with an overview of the dire situation of wildlife trafficking, particularly the rapid destruction of many wildlife species, including elephants, rhinoceros and tigers. Panelists discussed relevant legislation, current financial investigation procedures, the use of anti-money laundering measures and asset confiscation, the level of domestic and international cooperation, and the extent of wildlife trafficking-related corruption. Later, the co-chairs highlighted effective ways to detect and investigate money laundering, such as enhanced interagency and international cooperation, and to confiscate proceeds of crime using case studies to illustrate their points. Ritchie said, “[The discussion highlighted] clear opportunities to strengthen multi-agency cooperation in countries at source, transit and destination points, and to promote international cooperation.”

The workshop builds on the growing political will demonstrated by multilateral collaboration efforts, including the United Nations General Assembly’s Resolution on Tackling Illicit Trafficking in Wildlife, the U.S. National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking and the ABA ROLI-supported Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Pathfinder Dialogue II, which identified promising strategies to tackle corruption and associated environmental crime.

The session concluded with a review of emerging best practices and opportunities to replicate them. The discussions and ensuing recommendations will inform a set of principles to detect and combat wildlife trafficking and associated corruption, which ABA ROLI and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime will develop in 2016.

To learn more about our Regional Anti-Corruption Advisor Program, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at rol@americanbar.org.