New Report on Controlling Flow of Arms to Wildlife Poachers

Orphaned elephants receive care at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya.

Orphaned elephants receive care at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya.

This fall I published a policy brief with Control Arms, which explores the potential for the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) to be applied to curb the supply of weapons to wildlife poaching and trafficking networks in East Africa. There is a disturbing trend of militarization in anti-poaching efforts that threatens to exacerbate conflict by increasing arms flows to already destabilized contexts, marginalizing local capacities for peacebuilding and sustainable development. This paper advocates for a human security and sustainable development-centered approach to wildlife crime, while taking care not to formulate generalizations of the many complex contexts of wildlife poaching in East Africa. While there are no “one-size-fits-all” solutions, it argues that the ATT can be used by East African (and arms exporting) States as one of many tools to strengthen rule of law, encourage respect for human rights in countering wildlife crime, curb the proliferation of weapons to poachers, monitor trafficking networks and empower local civil society advocacy for peace and environmental sustainability.

It ends with recommendations that East African States accede to the ATT, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and and establish systems for its effective implementation, in coordination with other relevant international instruments (such as the Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (PoA) and the Conventions on Transnational Organized Crime and Corruption). In particular, States should enact measures to safeguard against the risk of certain kinds of shipments of arms, ammunition and relevant parts and components – such as high-calibre hunting rifles (and associated ammunition) and silencers – being used by or diverted to wildlife poaching and trafficking networks. Regional civil society civil society and media should consider ways to encourage governments to use the ATT to engage in monitoring and advocacy on wildlife crime, calling the attention of civil society in arms exporting States to the use of weapons in poaching. Finally, it calls on the UN General Assembly and ECOSOC to make reference to the ATT in any future resolutions regarding the poaching and/or the illicit trade in wildlife and references to poaching in ATT resolutions. States should also consider potential linkages to the UN Environment Assembly and ongoing debates on conflict and the environment in the International Law Commission.

To read the full report, click here.

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~ by Matthew Bolton on 13 March 2016.

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