Main Image Credit United for Wildlife Financial Taskforce
In 2018, HRH the Duke of Cambridge signed a public declaration in conjunction with a number of banks and financial institutions such as Standard Chartered, HSBC, RBS and JP Morgan, committing these institutions to identifying specific actions that the financial sector could take to disrupt the illegal wildlife trade (IWT).
RUSI was part of the team that established the IWT Financial Taskforce. The Taskforce works to leverage the existing global anti-financial crime architecture, as well as specific work already done by key financial institutions, to support efforts to combat IWT. Work to support the efforts of the Taskforce members has achieved considerable success to date, with the United for Wildlife Taskforce Information Sharing System underpinning much of this action.
United for Wildlife
Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
Aims and objectives
At its heart, IWT is criminality that exists for the enrichment of its perpetrators, with the global banking system serving as a crucial medium for the transfer of illicit proceeds. The Taskforce was formed in recognition of the fact that, without assessing risks linked to IWT, financial institutions face the danger of acting as unwitting facilitators of the trade, with associated illicit finance continuing to move through legitimate banking channels.
The IWT Financial Taskforce was established in light of the crucial role that financial institutions can play in the fight against IWT. RUSI was contracted to convene early discussions and agree the terms of reference of the IWT Financial Taskforce, which was subsequently launched by the Duke of Cambridge in October 2018. At the launch, key financial institutions signed the Mansion House Declaration, which holds them to six commitments, including the sharing of resources and intelligence in a bid to disrupt the illicit financial flows generated by illegal trade in elephant tusks, rhino horns and pangolin scales.
Since its formation, considerable success has been achieved, facilitated by the Taskforce’s central information-sharing system, an innovative international public-private sector intelligence-sharing partnership that helps signatories to work effectively with law enforcement against IWT.
Project outputs and impact
Together, the Financial and Transport Taskforces have supported over 150 law-enforcement investigations, facilitated the search of over 120 suspicious shipments, enabled 49 arrests and trained over 80,000 industry employees in counter-IWT practices.