Rachel is committed to sustaining natural resources for the future of people and wildlife. To achieve this, she’s working with partners to build anti-corruption knowledge in conservation and natural resource management. Before joining the Targeting Natural Resource Corruption project, Rachel’s work with TRAFFIC, the global wildlife trade monitoring network, focused on strategies to stop wildlife crime. She also played a vital role in advancing technology for conservation, through WWF’s Google-funded Wildlife Crime Technology Project and WILDLABS.NET.
Raised in Africa in the U.S. Foreign Service, Rachel served three years in the Peace Corps in Madagascar where she worked on community-based conservation and development initiatives in the Makira and Marojejy landscapes. Her research at the Yale School of Forestry & Environment Studies focused on evaluating the impacts of conservation sector investments on forest-bordering communities and mapping rural household economies.
“I have experienced first-hand the real and positive impacts on communities and wild species when conservation priorities and markets are successfully wedded. Sustainable use of resources is vital to a living planet.”
Evidence shows that women and other groups that face power inequity have an essential role to play in achieving conservation and natural resource management results. Many corrupt actions are only feasible for those with money and power, and corruption often perpetuates and deepens power networks. When programs and reforms are developed to prevent and address the corruption behind negative environmental and social outcomes, how can a gender lens help? Asking the right questions at the program or policy design stage and following the basic principles outlined in this paper can help to achieve desired objectives.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that corruption threatens the future of forests, forest-dependent communities and our global response to climate change. A 2016 INTERPOL study estimated that the annual cost of corruption in forestry is USD 29 billion. Important progress has been made by the conservation and natural resource management communities to uncover red flags that signal where corruption may facilitate illicit timber trade and undermine wider conservation efforts. But exposing illegal activity and associated corruption isn’t enough—a necessary next step is establishing an anti-corruption agenda. What should this agenda look like? Practitioners in two sessions at Forest Legality Week presented case studies, tools, responses and pathways to consider. This blog outlines ten anti-corruption take-aways.