TNRC About the countering environmental corruption practitioners forum
A new community for practitioners
The Countering Environmental Corruption Practitioners Forum has been launched by WWF, the Basel Institute on Governance, Transparency International, and TRAFFIC, to encourage and provide connections for conservationists and anti-corruption actors to work across disciplines to address corruption as a key driver of environmental degradation, biodiversity loss, and climate change.
Environmental degradation and biodiversity loss is deeply linked to climate change and human security, eroding the earth’s carbon absorption capacity, destroying vital resources for human survival, driving conflict, and in turn further aggravating these threats to biodiversity, our economies, and societies.
To address these challenges, we must understand and effectively respond to the drivers of these losses. Corruption - from petty bribery to systemic schemes of political influence - facilitates complex, at times transnational and criminalized, activities and supply chains that result in illegal wildlife trade; illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing; and illegal logging, along with other destructive practices that threaten our planet and its people. Corruption also hampers efforts to protect and regenerate nature, justly share the benefits that nature provides, and effectively use funding for climate solutions.
Innovation and interest to counter these trends is emerging (e.g., through the USAID-funded Targeting Natural Resource Corruption [TNRC] project), but coordinated action in practice among conservation and anti-corruption practitioners does not yet match the scale of this existential threat. More effort is needed to build capacity, agree priorities, shift norms, and join up to implement collaborative action across these communities.
Comprised of a cohort of global conservation and anti-corruption practitioners and organizations working together toward a common purpose, the Forum is focusing on:
Strengthening capabilities and advancing programming to prevent and address corruption that harms the natural environment, undermines effective climate and environment investments, and threatens people who live near and rely on natural resources.
Specifically, the Forum is aiming to:
The Forum is bridging the anti-corruption and conservation communities, including funders, and providing a practice-oriented complement to fora like the UNCAC Coalition Working Group on Environmental Crime and Corruption, Nature Crime Alliance, and United for Wildlife Task Forces (see FAQs below).
|This network is made up of interested individual members, who are welcome if they wish to be focal points for their organizations, tapping into the broader capability of their institutions by bringing in others they work with on relevant topics.|
|The main forum for exchange and collaboration for this network will be a regularly convened virtual Plenary.|
|Organizational needs will be supported by a Core Team, made up of representatives from founding organizations alongside two part-time Coordinators.|
|Organizations are welcome to propose and lead longer-term Working Groups or short-term Task Forces on a specific topic or approach. For instance, a group is already emerging, led by the Basel Institute on Governance, on enforcement responses to the financial element of environmental corruption.|
|If there is sufficient capacity and interest, the Core Team will support a Mentor/Technical Assistance Network to match capacity offers with specific requests for support and advice.|
|Finally, we welcome interest from organizations working in this space to join a short-term Strategic Engagement Group that will help us with early mobilization of this growing network.|
We will be hosting our second plenary discussion virtually on Tuesday, 30 May 2023!
To register your interest in joining the Forum, getting involved in the Strategic Engagement Group, or just keeping up to date with what we’re up to, please fill out an expression of interest form:
We’ll use your information to email information and updates about the Forum. We may share your information with the other Forum partners (the Basel Institute on Governance, Transparency International, and TRAFFIC) to better communicate to you and administer the Forum.
Frequently asked questions
How is this different from related networks and groups?
This Forum is distinct in two important ways. First, we are focused on expanding practice. There are excellent and well-established fora dedicated to policy and advocacy work, but only a handful of projects are working on countering corruption in this space at source. We believe part of this is because the mandate to operationally address environmental corruption is falling through the cracks between conservation and anti-corruption groups and experts.
Second, this community will center specifically on issues of corruption. While excellent networks have evidenced a track record in delivering on environmental crime, corruption has often been “lumped in.” A result can be an insufficient focus on the difficult realities where actors involved in or benefiting from corruption are those we partner with to combat environmental crime.
At the same time, we recognize these issues - practice and policy, corruption and environmental crime - are deeply linked, and we will are already working closely to coordinate with the FACT and UNCAC Coalitions and Nature Crime Alliance, for example, including distilling messages from practice and collaborating on shared fora and other initiatives.
What do we mean by anti-corruption?
Anti-corruption is often assumed to involve detection, investigation, and prosecution of corrupt actions. The “anti-corruption toolbox” includes many more approaches, however, that can help address the negative impact of corruption on environmental outcomes. Promoting transparency around resource access and supply chains; protecting and expanding space for community management, civil action, and environmental and human rights defenders; strengthening management of finances for protecting wildlife and other treasured natural resources; and building norms of integrity are just few additional examples of anti-corruption efforts in this space.
What efforts are being made to ensure the Forum is inclusive and represents local communities?
The working groups, in particular, are specifically designed to meet the needs of partners in specific locales who are trying to address the role of corruption in the environmental challenges their communities face. The Forum core group is reaching out through their networks and gauging needs. For example, the working group on financial investigations will exclusively focus on the needs of investigators starting to “follow the money” and provide a support network to address the challenges they might face. Investigative and prosecutorial tools that have proven effective in one location will be shared, facilitating peer-to-peer learning. Other working groups have been proposed and will be set up provided there is sufficient demand and capacity.
Image attribution: © naturepl.com / Jen Guyton / WWF; © Brian J. Skerry / National Geographic Stock / WWF; © Georgina Goodwin / Shoot The Earth / WWF-UK; © Hkun Lat / WWF-Aus