Despite a global pandemic and the inherent challenges to tackling transnational environmental crime, USAID Wildlife Asia made notable strides towards reducing both the demand for and the supply of wildlife and wildlife products in Southeast Asia and China during its five-year lifespan. With the project’s end in January 2022, a new project, USAID Reducing Demand for Wildlife (RDW), will continue the fight against wildlife trafficking in Southeast Asia, while also incorporating lessons learned from the last five years of implementation.
An Approach to Biodiversity Protection on a Macro and Micro Level
At the societal level, the biodiversity protection project will carry forward an emphasis on behavior change, continuing to focus on demand reduction for products derived from elephants, pangolins, rhinoceroses, and tigers. At the enforcement level, USAID RDW implements sustainable wildlife conservation solutions to address gaps in countering wildlife trafficking (CWT). It also strengthens polices and legislation, and the enforcement of laws prohibiting the wildlife trade. USAID Reducing Demand for Wildlife builds international cooperation and fosters public-private partnerships, all with the goal of reducing the supply side of wildlife trafficking.
Countering Wildlife Trafficking Amidst Global Changes and Challenges
In light of the enormous and ever-changing impacts of COVID-19 and climate change, as well as substantial changes in the context of countering wildlife crime that occurred over the course of the last five years, USAID RDW’s approach is as adaptable as it is strategic and methodical. Acutely aware of the impact of social, cultural, and gender norms within this space, the project will identify mechanisms for greater engagement of civil society and marginalized groups, in addition to measuring the effectiveness of social and behavior change communication (SBCC) campaign messaging on consumer behavior. With the goal of promoting both an inclusive and a sustainable regional movement, the work to combat wildlife trafficking and promote biodiversity prioritizes gender balance and social inclusion across all aspects of implementation, promoting female leadership whenever possible.