The data set used for this analysis includes project-level detail from 24 international donors (see Table 1), which collectively committed over US $2.35 billion to combat IWT in Africa and Asia from 2010–2018. The percentage of total project funding directed to combat IWT for each respective project ranged from 5% to 100%. IWT commitments by project ranged in size from US $2,000 to US $68 million, with the average IWT funding per project valued at US $1.32 million. In total, 1,784 projects were included in the analysis. The number of projects by donor ranged from 1 to 941, with an average donor portfolio size of 74 projects. From fiscal year 2012 to 2017, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) alone awarded grants, cooperative agreements, and matching funds to 544 projects.

In addition to the 24 donors that provided project-level data, there are a growing number of donors support efforts to combat illegal wildlife trade. For example, Novamedia Charity Lotteries, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, the Wyss Foundation, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation,, Wildlife Conservation Network, Walton Family Foundation, Rufford Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Maliasili Initiatives, and many others commit significant resources to various IWT and conservation programs. Funding data from these donors were not included in this analysis but also complement national government resources devoted to combating IWT and towards conservation.

TABLE 1. Donors Included in the Portfolio Analysis (Bilateral Agencies Grouped by Country

Bilaterals Multilaterals Foundations
1. Canada 1. Asian Development Bank 1. Vulcan Philanthropy
2. France 2. European Commission 2. Wildcat Foundation
3. Germany (BMZ/BMUB) 3. Global Environment Facility 3. Oak Foundation
4. Japan 4. World Bank Group
5. Netherlands (Economic/Foreign Affairs) United Nations Programs International NGOs
7. Spain 1. United Nations Development Program 1. Fauna & Flora International
8. Sweden 2. United Nations Environment Program 2. Wildlife Conservation Society
9. United Kingdom 3. WWF
10. United States (USAID/USDOS/USFWS) 4. WildAID
5. Zoological Society of London
Additional Implementing Partners
1. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora 1. International Fund for Animal Welfare
2. International Union for Conservation of Nature 2. TRAFFIC International
3. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

Annual Commitments

Figure 1 shows the annual amounts committed to combat IWT. The total funding amount committed by the 24 international donors between 2010 and September 2018 fluctuated, peaking at US $474 million in 2017. Average yearly IWT commitments were US $261 million.

FIGURE 1. Annual IWT Commitment Amounts, 2010–2018 (US $ million)

Bilaterals and multilaterals accounted for most of the funding across all years. Multilaterals (see Table 1 for a list of organizations included in this donor type) contributed 80% of the funding in 2011, 43% in 2014, and in 2017 accounted for 58% of the committed funding. Bilaterals contributed 78% of the total donor funding in 2012, 63% in 2015, and 41% in 2017. Foundations contributed 8% of the total funding committed in 2015. United Nations Programs accounted for 5% in 2014 and 1% for the cumulative period of analysis. It is important to note that the total funding captured for all other donor types for 2018 is underrepresented, as many donors did not have these data available.

Donor Overview

Figure 2 shows the 10 largest international donors investing in combating IWT. As this figure highlights, the top five donors are Germany, European Commission (EC), United States, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the World Bank Group, accounting for US $2.11 billion of total funding (90%). These five donors are also the only donors that committed over US $100 million in IWT funding during this period. Ten donors committed less than US $10 million. Eighteen different donors contributed less than 2% of the total funding each. Collectively, this accounts for 4% of the total donor portfolio analyzed.

Multilaterals account for three of the top five donors and represent 46% of total funding (US $1,073 million). Bilaterals account for the other two of the top five, and they represent 44% (US $1,037 million). Two of the three foundations included in the analysis, The Wildcat Foundation and Vulcan Foundation, were among the top 10 donors. The three foundations collectively account for 4% of the entire portfolio (US $96 million). International NGOs provide 2% (US $47 million) of the total funding.

FIGURE 2. Cumulative IWT Commitment Amounts by Donor, 2010–2018.

Figure 3 compares each donor portfolio in terms of the total number of projects relative to total funding. All but six of the donors have fewer than 50 projects in their portfolio, and 12 donors have fewer than 15 projects. The United States has 941 projects, including many smaller-sized grants that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service awards each year. From 2012–2017, USFWS International Affairs Office awarded grants, cooperative agreements, and matching funds to 544 wildlife trafficking-related projects. The average IWT funding per project ranged from US $108,000 to US $8.2 million. Projects averaged less than US $500,000 per project for 11 of the 24 donors, but more than US $3 million for five donors, four of which are among the top five donors. The concentration of projects in the bottom left side of Figure 3 indicates where most donors fall in the analysis. The two top donors with the highest portfolio values are Germany with 147 projects valued at US $579 million and the EC with 157 projects valued at US $479 million (see top left quadrant of Figure 3). With 941 projects valued at US $458 million, the United States has the third largest portfolio and the highest number of projects (see right quadrant of Figure 3).

FIGURE 3. Number of Projects per Donor Relative to Portfolio Size, 2010–2018.

IWT Amounts Committed to Countries

Donor funding was allocated to projects in 68 different countries in Africa and Asia and to various regional/multi-country and global projects. As shown in Figure 4, 63% of the funds directed to specific countries and to regional projects was committed to Africa (US $1,475 million), 26% went to Asia (US $621million), 6% to projects covering both Africa and Asia (US $135 million), and 5% to global programs and initiatives (US $119 million).

FIGURE 4. Total Donor Commitments Across Regions, 2010–2018.

Figure 5 highlights the countries that are the largest recipients of international donor IWT funding. The 48 countries that received the least amount of funding combined account for 13% of total funding, each having received less than 1% of the total funding.

FIGURE 5. Cumulative IWT Commitment Amounts by Recipient Country or Region, 2010–2018.

The top five recipient countries, receiving a total investment of US $550 million (representing approximately 19% of the total IWT funding), are:

  • Tanzania (7%)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) (7%)
  • Mozambique (4%)
  • Madagascar (3%)
  • Indonesia (3%)

Figure 6 shows the composition of the regional/multi-country investments that combined account for 31% of total IWT funding (US $740 million). Of these investments, 63% went to Africa (US $467 million), 19% went to Asia (US $138 million), and the remaining 18% (US $135 million) went to projects that invested in both regions. Within the subset of regional/multi-country funds allocated to Africa (63% in the larger pie chart), funds went to:

  • Central Africa (24%)
  • Africa: Multiregional programs (18%)
  • Southern Africa (14%)
  • East Africa (4%)
  • West Africa (4%)

A detailed overview of country-level and regional investments by donor types is included in the maps shown in Annex B. The largest recipient of multilateral funding was Tanzania (US $84 million). The largest recipient of funding from bilaterals was the DRC (US $73 million). Bilaterals also are a large donor type in the DRC, contributing 46% of the $158 million total funding. The largest recipient of foundation funding were regional projects categorized as “Africa: Multi-Country” (US $12 million; 13% of foundation commitments). The largest recipient of international NGO funding was Mozambique (US $8 million; 17% of international NGO commitments).

FIGURE 6. Breakdown of Regional and Multi-Country Investments, 2010–2018.

Figure 7 shows the regional profile of the investments across donor types. This geographical analysis shows that bilateral agencies allocated 71% of their IWT investments to Africa, while foundations allocated 83%. Multilaterals allocated 61% of their IWT funding to Africa, while United Nations programs invested 84% of their funds in Asia (with a single large project in Myanmar representing 59% of their IWT portfolio). International NGOs had a more balanced distribution between Africa and Asia.

FIGURE 7. Geographic Overview of IWT Investments across Donor Types, 2010–2018.

IWT Allocations by Recipient Type

Figure 8 shows the total funding amounts by recipient type. Most of the funding is allocated to national governments (52%; US $1,230 million), international NGOs (21%; US $489 million), intergovernmental organizations (12%; US $292 million), national or local NGOs (4%; US $96 million). The remainder was allocated to researchers and research groups, private sector, subnational or local government or a combination of the donor types (10%; US $243 million).

FIGURE 8. Cumulative IWT Commitment Amounts by Recipient Type, 2010–2018.

Figure 9 shows the recipients by donor types. Multilaterals, bilaterals, and United Nations programs allocate the large majority of their IWT investments to national governments (54%, 56%, and 98%, respectively). Bilaterals allocate 19% of their funding to international NGOs, while multilaterals allocate 19% to intergovernmental organizations. These efforts include EC, GEF, and WBG investments to support the CITES Minimizing the Illegal Killing of Elephants and other Endangered Species (MIKES) program, BIOPAMA (IUCN component), and the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime initiatives. Foundations allocated 68% of their IWT funding to international NGOs, although in some cases this included pass-through support to other NGOs or funding for national government efforts. The major recipients are the Ministry Natural Resources and Tourism of Tanzania, the Central African Forest Commission, and the Southern African Development Community Secretariat.

FIGURE 9. Commitments across Recipient and Donor Types, 2010–2018.

IWT Allocations across IWT Intervention Categories

There are many drivers related to wildlife trade and other development issues that must be addressed to decrease the current levels of poaching and trafficking, including:

  • Lack of ownership and value of wildlife by local communities
  • Ineffective land use planning, intensive production, and infrastructure development
  • Weak legal systems
  • Lack of enforcement capacity
  • High corruption levels
  • Insufficient coordination, knowledge, and capacity
  • Lack of awareness of impact of wildlife and wildlife product consumption in species populations

International donors have supported programs and projects that tackle the root cause of the above issues through direct and indirect interventions aimed at reducing poaching, trafficking, and demand for wildlife products. For this analysis, the types of activities or categories illustrated in Table 2 were considered.

TABLE 2. IWT Intervention Categories

IWT Intervention Category Description
Policy and legislation (PL) Inter-sectoral policies and regulatory frameworks that incorporate wildlife conservation and management considerations; strengthening laws and customs/trade facilitation processes
Law enforcement (LE) Coordination mechanisms and establishment of operational units, intelligence-led operations, and transnational law enforcement coordination to tackle higher-level operatives; increased capacity of customs officials, transportation, and detection technologies
Protected areas (PA) management to prevent poaching Protection of natural habitats for species; on-the-ground support to PAs to address poaching (i.e., rangers, equipment etc.); investments to increase community, private, and state reserves and areas surrounding protected forests under land use policies that mitigate wildlife poaching and promote wildlife management best practices
Communications and awareness (CA) Outreach and communications efforts to raise awareness and reduce demand across range, transit, and end-use countries; demand reduction efforts and campaigns to increase awareness, change consumer behavior toward consumption of illegal wildlife products, and reduce market participants in the illegal trade
Promoting sustainable use and alternative livelihoods (SL) Incentives for communities to live with and manage wildlife and to avoid human-wildlife conflict; income derived from wildlife management in support of sustainable development and integrated natural resource management practices; alternative legal livelihoods to those involved in the illegal supply chain
Research and assessments (RA) Decision support tools, research, analysis, databases, stakeholder coordination, knowledge management, and monitoring and evaluation efforts

Figure 10 shows the total allocations across IWT categories. Approximately 40% of the funding supported protected area management to prevent poaching (US $948 million). This category includes on-the-ground investments in PAs to support rangers, equipment, and other similar investments. Donor-funded projects also supported law enforcement (21%), sustainable use and alternative livelihoods (19%), policy and legislation development (8%), research and assessment (7%), and communication and awareness (4%).

FIGURE 10. Cumulative IWT Commitment Amounts by IWT Intervention Category, 2010–2018.

Figure 11 shows the allocations across IWT intervention categories by donor type. PA management to combat poaching received the largest share of investments for all donor types. The large share of the investments in traditional PA management reflects the higher costs associated with trying to protect PAs that cover vast areas and that typically require a significant number of staff, equipment, and capacity building. It may also reflect the theory that by investing to protect the habitat where many threatened and endangered species live, it helps address the ecological, social, security, and economic drivers tied to poaching.

FIGURE 11. IWT Intervention Categories across Donor Types, 2010–2018.

In terms of how donor types allocate funding, bilaterals had the highest relative investments in sustainable use and alternative livelihoods (SL), with 21% of their investments in that category (dark blue bar in graphic). Foundations had the highest relative investments in law enforcement (light blue bar) and research and assessments (brown bar) at 37% and 11%, respectively. International NGOs had the highest relative share of investments in communications and awareness (dark green bar) and policy and legislation (light green) at 24% and 10%, respectively. Although investments across all donor types in communications and awareness received the least amount of combined funding (4%; US $104 million), efforts to reduce demand for illegal wildlife and wildlife products are an important consideration in combating IWT. Demand reduction activities complement anti-poaching and anti-trafficking interventions.