This assessment provides a high-level estimate of international donor funding that combats poaching and wildlife trafficking and supports demand reduction strategies in key range, transit, and end-use countries. To complete this IWT donor funding analysis, the WBG periodically brought donors together to discuss issues related to the portfolio analysis. These regularly scheduled meetings and the project data exchanged served as an initial effort to be leveraged in the future to facilitate donor coordination and enhance strategic donor programs and project activities.

Prior to conducting this portfolio review, a terms of reference (TOR) was drafted by the WBG to detail the taxonomy and data collection approach for the portfolio review. In January 2016 the draft TOR was shared with international donors at the 66th meeting of the CITES Standing Committee. Donor comments were received and incorporated, enhancing the approach and guiding the creation of tools to gather project data. Representatives from each donor organization were identified as a point of contact for this portfolio review to assist in data collection and analysis. The technical approach and data collection methodology were reviewed with donors during a meeting on February 10, 2016. This same methodology was followed for both the original analysis and the updates completed in 2018. Key definitions and data collection considerations are described in this section.


Time frame: The analysis focused on projects that were approved from 2010 to 2018. While some donors included data for 2018, many did not. Therefore, the total funding for 2018 is underrepresented, as it only accounts for a portion of the year and does not include data for all donor projects. Cumulative project funds were accounted for in the first commitment year and include the total project amount in US dollars reported in the approved project documents. It does not represent actual annual disbursements.

Geographic focus: The portfolio analysis focused on range, transit, and end-use countries in Africa and Asia. In addition, regional or global programs that combat IWT were also considered. Projects in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, and other regions were excluded. Exceptions included projects that specifically target an IWT component (such as demand reduction efforts or national policy and legislation to combat IWT) in a major consuming country that has a direct link to range states.

IWT:Wildlife trade is defined as any sale or exchange by people of wild animal and plant resources. This can involve live animals and plants for the pet and horticultural trades or trade in a diverse range of wild animal and plant products needed or prized by people—including skins, medicinal ingredients, tourist curios, timber, fish, and other food products (TRAFFIC 2008). Wildlife trafficking is defined as the illegal cross-border trade in biological resources taken from the wild (European Union 2015). Flora, marine and timber products that are not integrated into broader fauna-focused interventions were excluded from this portfolio review. IWT includes both poaching and illicit trade.

IWT intervention categories: Investments were allocated to one or more IWT intervention categories:

  • Policy and legislation (PL) development
  • Law enforcement (LE)
  • Protected area (PA) management to prevent poaching
  • Communications and awareness (CA) to raise IWT awareness and reduce demand for illegal wildlife products
  • Promotion of sustainable use and alternative livelihoods (SL) to increase community benefits and avoid human-wildlife conflict
  • Research and assessment (RA)

Donor types: Donors were grouped into one of the following categories:

  • Multilaterals
  • Bilaterals
  • Foundations
  • United Nations Programs
  • International NGOs 8

Recipient types: Recipients were put into one of the following categories:

  • Academic institutions
  • Intergovernmental organizations
  • International NGOs
  • National governments
  • National or local NGO
  • Private sector
  • Researchers or research groups
  • Subnational or local government

Data Collection Methods

Methods to obtain and analyze donor data varied slightly from donor to donor and included a questionnaire/survey, online research, and interviews with representatives from each donor organization. Bimonthly conference calls were held with donors to provide an update on progress and to seek guidance on next steps.

To facilitate and standardize data collection, a questionnaire and an Excel template were created by the WBG team and disseminated to the donors identified in Annex A. The donors then participated in a telephone interview to discuss the portfolio review, data collection tools, and information on their IWT program. Donors that agreed to participate in the portfolio review and collect data in the format requested completed the Excel template and provided project-level data using a predefined IWT definition and investment categories. Data collection, review, and analysis for the initial analysis occurred from March 2016 to June 2016. From July through September 2016, data validation was completed and additional feedback was incorporated into donor-specific portfolios. The updates were mostly completed from July 2018 to September 2018.

The Excel template was used by the donors to provide detailed information on their projects, including information on recipients, dates, countries, protected areas, and total funding amounts. In addition, donors estimated the percentage of total funding going toward combating IWT within each project and allocated the IWT funding amount into six IWT intervention categories defined above. Email communications and follow-up meetings with donors were then conducted to validate data and address specific issues. For the portfolio updates, donors were sent the project files completed in 2016 and asked to update with latest data available.

The IWT data included in the analysis are estimates, were not audited, and do not supersede any data provided through formal reporting mechanisms. For donors that did not specify the IWT percentage and allocation for the six IWT categories, the WBG used data provided by implementation partners, publicly available reports, project profiles, and online research to estimate values. In most cases, estimates were reviewed and agreed to by the donors. The WBG team also completed a quality assurance effort to verify estimations made for IWT percentages and IWT categories, and follow-up meetings were carried out to address any discrepancies in the analysis. It is important to note that estimates are based on technical input received from various specialists and donors and are subject to interpretation.

For donors that reported data in a currency other than U.S. dollars, statistical historical data from the Federal Reserve System was used to calculate the foreign exchange rate to convert the currency provided into US dollars. The foreign exchange rate for the day, month, and year funds were committed was used to calculate the dollar equivalent.

The donor portfolio data were reviewed, and a PowerPoint presentation was developed to summarize key aspects of each donor’s investments. Donors were then asked to review their data, which upon validation were consolidated into a single database. This database was used to store and analyze data from 1,784 projects that combat IWT. This information served as the basis for analysis and to derive high-level results and recommendations.

Data were collected from 24 international donors9, including the major funders of efforts to combat IWT in Africa and Asia, allowing the dataset to serve as a representative sample to conduct analysis and determine funding trends and geographic investments. Additional data are unlikely to alter the outcome of the trends in funding, as the majority of funding for this period was included. In addition, data from implementing partners, including CITES, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and UNODC, were collected and used in the analysis to assist with checking against double counting and to validate IWT allocations.

Data Analysis and Assumptions

IWT percentage: Several donors collaborated with the project managers or country mission representatives to determine the IWT percentage for each individual project. Where this was not possible due to the large number of projects in the donor portfolio and constraints in time and resources to obtain and validate this information, the program managers estimated the IWT percentage for the projects. The WBG team excluded the following types of projects from the consolidated analysis unless there was a direct reference to anti-poaching or anti-trafficking:

  • Forest/timber
  • Marine and/or coastal management
  • Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+)
  • Payment for ecosystem services
  • Green economy
  • Food security
  • Waste reduction
  • Recycling
  • Pollution management
  • Climate change mitigation/adaptation
  • Industrial greening
  • Construction/building

Projects that did not contain information directly linked to IWT were generally allocated a relatively smaller percentage. For programs or projects that included a country or region outside of Africa or Asia, a reduction in allocation was made to account for project funding outside the target regions. In some cases, information obtained from implementation partners or other similar programs/projects implemented by the same recipient was used to inform the allocation of funding across IWT categories.

Double counting: Double counting can be a significant bias if the same funds are reported by multiple donors and included in the analysis. Risk of double counting was mitigated by requesting donors to report only on those projects for which they were the “original donors,” by conducting follow-up interviews with donors to discuss projects that were reported more than once and clarify data discrepancies, by accounting for funding provided by international NGOs that was obtained from donors not included in the analysis or directly raised from individuals or corporations, and by excluding national investments in the analysis as it would be challenging to determine the original sources of these funds.

Project timeline: Project approval dates and the committed amounts when projects were approved were used to allocate IWT funding across the years under consideration. Actual disbursement of funds may vary, as projects span multiple years and may encounter delays. In some cases, the committed amounts are not fully disbursed or projects may be cancelled. Therefore, in some cases committed funds at the time of approval may result in an overestimation when compared with actual spending levels.

Co-financing: Co-financing for projects was not included in the analysis unless it was reported by another “original donor” that participated in the portfolio review. In many cases, there is significant co-financing, which may represent additional funding to combat IWT in the regions. Additionally, in-kind contributions were also excluded.

Data consistency: TThe WBG analyzed the consolidated portfolio to identify potential data discrepancies due to variations in interpretation of IWT allocations and intervention categories. In cases of discrepancies, additional discussions were held with the donor or the technical team supporting the portfolio analysis.

8. International NGOs were included as donors in this analysis to serve as a proxy to represent funding from memberships, foundation grants not already included in the analysis, online donations, and individual contributions and bequests.
9. Note not all 24 donors provided updated data in 2018. Updated project level data was received from 18 donors, including Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, UK, US, ADB, EC, GEF, WBG, UNDP, UN Environment, Wildlife Foundation, Oak Foundation, FFI, WCS, and ZSL. Implementing partners CITES, IUCN, UNODC, and IFAW also provided updated data. Canada provided an updated reference document for recent IWT-related activities.