TREES Project and WildLeaks Together for Fighting Illegal Logging and Trade

Combatting illegal logging and trade within the European Union is the focus of an agreement signed between the NGO Elephant Action League and the partners of the EU TREES project – organizations focused on fighting wildlife and forest crime.

The agreement, which will last until the end of the TREES Project in April 2016, will enable the TREES Project partners to make use of the Elephant Action League-funded WildLeaks whistleblower platform.

WildLeaks will receive anonymous information related to any forest crime, such as illicit timber extraction, log laundering, illegal timber transport and trade, forest products tax fraud, etc., through its secure platform, after which the information will be processed by project researchers.

According to Global Financial Integrity, a Washington watchdog group, wildlife and forest crime is the fourth largest transnational crime in the world, worth an estimate US$ 17 billion annually, after narcotics, counterfeiting and human trafficking (Transnational Crime In The Developing World, 2011). However, for most countries, combating wildlife and forest crime is not a priority and almost always remains overlooked and poorly understood. Wildlife offences enrich international criminal groups and enable corruption to flourish.

Fraud, counterfeiting, money laundering and violence are often found in combination with various forms of wildlife crime, and while the risk involved is low compared to other kinds of trafficking, the profits are nevertheless very high.

It is these priorities that formed the focus of the Partnership Agreement implementation plan containing the required actions by both parties.

The access to WildLeaks portal is assured by WildLeaks project at and by TREES project partners via the TREES website.

WildLeaks is a secure and anonymous platform for wildlife and forest crime whistleblowers. Its goal is to create a safe, secure and anonymous online platform for individuals to send information about wildlife crime. The tips are then used for on-the-ground action. The WildLeaks project is funded by the California-based NGO Elephant Action League.

The TREES project is a 20 month transnational project aiming at enforcing the EU Timber Regulation implementation as an instrument to fight corruption as facilitator of organized crime activities. The project, funded by the Internal Affairs DG of the European Commission as part of the ISEC Program (Prevention of and Fight against Crime), is developed by Conlegno, PEFC Italy, RiSSC, Risk Monitor and CNVP, and supported by a range of partners including INTERPOL, PEFC International and several PEFC National members.

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