CITES MIKE and UNODC team up to advance wildlife crime scene management in Ghana

Updated on 11 June 2024


© CITES Secretariat

Accra, 11 June 2024 — Wildlife crime presents complex challenges to global conservation efforts. Illicit activities such as rosewood timber trafficking and the illegal killing of elephants can not only threaten the survival of the species in the wild, but also contribute to wider biodiversity loss and ecosystem instability. Addressing wildlife crime effectively requires bolstering the capabilities of wildlife protection personnel through advanced practical training and innovative enforcement strategies. 

In April, a landmark training workshop on wildlife crime scene management successfully concluded at the Mole National Park in Accra, Ghana. Organized by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) Programme in partnership with the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the workshop gathered 26 park rangers and judicial authorities from Nigeria, Ghana and Liberia with the goal of enhancing their capacity to combat wildlife crime in elephant range States effectively.

© Sura Nualpradid / Adobe Stock

CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero said: “Our mission to conserve biodiversity is not only about ensuring the sustainability of international wildlife trade, but also about understanding and dismantling the criminal activities that threaten the survival of species such as African elephant (Loxodonta africana) in the wild. This requires strategic coordination across borders and sectors that supports our rangers, customs and border control officials as well as others on the frontlines, with the latest information, skills and methodologies they need to combat wildlife crime.”

Experts from UNODC and the Garoua Wildlife School of Cameroon curated a robust training environment for fostering knowledge-sharing and best practices. Participants integrated theoretical knowledge with hands-on practical exercises on preserving crime scenes, forensic examination, evidence collection, and maintaining the chain of custody to ensure the integrity of legal proceedings. They learned advanced techniques in informant management and surveillance, and enhanced skills for supporting legal actions against wildlife crimes. 

This workshop forms part of a series of similar trainings held across West and Central Africa, generously funded by the European Union and delivered by the CITES MIKE Programme in partnership with UNODC. The partnership aims to contribute to the shared global goal of improving investigative and prosecutorial processes among local authorities to ultimately support biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in the region. 

More information about the CITES MIKE-UNODC partnership on wildlife crime response training here.


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About CITES 

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was signed on 3 March 1973 and entered into force on 1 July 1975. With 184 Parties (183 countries + the European Union), it remains one of the world's most powerful tools for wildlife conservation through the regulation of international trade in over 40,900 species of wild animals and plants. CITES-listed species are used by people around the world in their daily lives for food, health care, furniture, housing, tourist souvenirs, cosmetics or fashion. CITES seeks to ensure that international trade in such species is sustainable, legal and traceable and contributes to both the livelihoods of the communities that live closest to them and to national economies for a healthy planet and the prosperity of the people in support of UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

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The CITES Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (or MIKE) Programme is a site-based system designed to monitor trends in levels of illegal killing of elephants and build capacity in sites spread across the range of African and Asian elephants. Information from MIKE is used by CITES Parties to inform decision making on elephant conservation and management.

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The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is a global leader in the fight against illicit drugs and international crime. Established in 1997, UNODC operates in all regions of the world through an extensive network of field offices. The organization’s mandate includes addressing transnational organized crime, corruption, terrorism, and crimes that affect the environment.

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About the UNODC Global Programme on Crimes that Affect the Environment 

The Global Programme on Crimes that Affect the Environment assists Member States to prevent and respond to crimes that affect the environment such as wildlife and forest crime, crimes in the fisheries sector, illegal mining, and trafficking in precious metals and waste. Crimes that affect the environment are serious organized crime with far-reaching impacts for the economy, security, the environment, and human health, contributing to biodiversity loss and climate change. UNODC supports Member States to strengthen their responses to crimes that affect the environment through an approach that focuses on crime prevention and criminal justice.

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