Wildlife Conservation Society is currently implementing: Engagements with Chinese Enterprises to Reduce Ivory Demand and Consumption of other Endangered Wildlife Species Products. This initiative by WCS follows the rising demand for key wildlife and species products by Chinese communities which has pushed poaching rates to unsustainable levels across Africa, threatening the survival of species. Whilst WCS acknowledges the recent announcement by the China government to phase out ivory trade as contributing to the depressing market price of ivory and illustrates the potential within the Chinese government to address ivory trade and consumption, the expansion of Chinese investments in Africa, as part of China’s “Going Out” policy, has rapidly increased to over $120 billion annually and is creating new channels and opportunities for illegal ivory trade. WCS’ implementation framework for engagements with Chinese is intended to address the gaps created by these networks, modeled on previous direct working experiences and successful efforts with stakeholders.
Despite several initiatives by governments of Uganda and China, there are still gaps in wildlife Protection that make trafficking and illegal trade of wildlife products a low-risk business in Uganda:
o Weaknesses in law enforcement, prosecution and light sentences
o The ease of movement of poachers, brokers/ middlemen and wildlife traffickers with wildlife products across market destinations
o Increasing human settlement and expanding development s around key wildlife habitats.
o Rising demand and illegal market prices for wildlife products
o The proliferation of weapons across borders
We believe that a strategy of direct engagement with Chinese corporations will provide an effective mechanism in addressing IWT pressures on wildlife species. We have therefore developed a set of strategies to ensure attainment of the goal:
o Investigate linkages between the Chinese people in Uganda and their involvement in trafficking ivory and other wildlife products
o Engage high-risk Chinese businesses operating in Uganda to change the behavior of their staff and associates that will result in decreased engagement in wildlife trafficking.
o Engage participation of influential Chinese Company Leaders (CEOs preferable) to promote leadership and leading commitment on anti-ivory trafficking and play the role of Chinese overseas investment responsibilities
o Via engagement with the media, create disincentives for engaging in trafficking of ivory and other wildlife products that leads to behavior change in target audiences (both individuals and businesses). Media makes people take action (needs work).
o Develop policy recommendations for relevant Chinese government ministries on the inclusion of anti-wildlife trafficking into environmental sustainability
To develop a scalable and replicable model that achieves demand reduction for ivory products via behavior change in high-risk Chinese businesses operating in East Africa.
WCS is currently undertaking specific strategic actions for Engagements with Chinese enterprises to reduce demand for Wildlife Products from Uganda:
o Develop essential information insights into Chinese involvement in wildlife consumption, trade and trafficking of products
o Wildlife action-based education materials for Chinese enterprises with investments in major economic sectors of Uganda
o Develop high profile networks with media companies in Uganda and China
o High profile partnerships targeting Government agencies/ key sectors, influential actors e.g. donors, relevant and umbrella organizations.
o Conduct Behavior change communication campaigns
o Support appropriate policy recommendations for wildlife law enforcement
Under Engagement with Chinese Enterprises to Reduce Demand and Consumption of Ivory and Other Wildlife Products, WCS is currently implementing a framework strategic initiatives with several accomplishments so far made:
o Mapped and profiled Chinese Enterprises operating in major sectors with high potential risk on biodiversity (Infrastructure/Roads, Energy/ Hydro- Power dams, Mining, Manufacturing, Agriculture, Telecommunication, Forestry, etc.). The profiling and databasing of Chinese Enterprises for risk ranking is dependent on the population of Chinese staff, distance from biodiversity hot spots, nature of operations and potential risk on biodiversity-The database is helping in identifying potential enterprises for risk assessment on wildlife and subsequent engagements for education and awareness to change behavior and perception of Chinese enterprise staff on wildlife conservation
o Developed data records of wildlife seizure involving Chinese nationals. This includes data on seizures gathered from law enforcement agencies, particularly Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), customs and immigration, and CITES focal point persons responsible for approval of export permits and certificate of origin for materials destined for research or export - WCS China Team is helping to follow up on Chinese Wildlife offenders and establishing linkages with some enterprises operation in Africa
o Working with other partners to identify and Map Known IWT hotspots and Trafficking routes from available data and consultations with key persons in relevant agencies as part of baseline to facilitate law enforcement in those areas
o Conducted the Knowledge Attitude and Perception (KAP) Survey targeting Chinese Enterprise Staff and Ugandans in areas with higher susceptibility to engage in illegal wildlife trade facilitated by Chinese nationals.
o Education and awareness campaigns for the Chinese Enterprise Staff to Change their Perceptions and Behavior on Wildlife Conservation and discourage their involvement in IWT.
o Reviewed National Legislation and Make appropriate recommendation for combating IWT
o Conducted the Policy review of High-risk Chinese Enterprises to ensure they incorporate requirements for wildlife consumption and trafficking risk mitigation in their operations with a view to discourage the involvement of staff in IWT
o Developed Best Practices for Mitigating risks of Chinese enterprise Staff involvement in IWT