Table of Contents

Handbook of Transnational Environmental Crime

Handbook of Transnational Environmental Crime

Edited by Lorraine Elliott and William H. Schaedla

Crimes associated with the illegal trade in wildlife, timber and fish stocks, pollutants and waste have become increasingly transnational, organized and serious. They warrant attention because of their environmental consequences, their human toll, their impacts on the rule of law and good governance, and their links with violence, corruption and a range of crossover crimes. This ground-breaking, multi-disciplinary Handbook brings together leading scholars and practitioners to examine key sectors in transnational environmental crime and to explore its most significant conceptual, operational and enforcement challenges.

Chapter 17: Reducing demand for illicit wildlife products: crafting a ‘whole-of-society’ response

Julie Ayling

Subjects: environment, environmental law, law - academic, environmental law, politics and public policy, international relations


It is now being recognized at the highest levels of governance that preventing the illicit wildlife trade requires more than dealing with the illegal supply of wildlife products; it also requires measures to reduce the demand for those products. For example, demand reduction is one of the three planks of the United States’ 2014 National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking (United States 2014). At the London Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade held in February 2014, states committed to ‘[s]upport, and where appropriate undertake, effectively targeted actions to eradicate demand and supply for illegal wildlife products, including but not limited to, raising awareness and changing behaviour’ (London Conference 2014, paragraph 15.I, emphasis in original). And in November 2014, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation grouping highlighted the importance of demand reduction in the joint ministerial statement issued at its Beijing ministerial meeting and committed members to strengthening their efforts in that direction (see Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation 2014, paragraph 57). Nevertheless, ideas for effectively decreasing demand for illicit wildlife are still in short supply. The executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Yury Fedotov, contrasting supply limitation and demand reduction, has said that curbing demand is the ‘harder task’ (WWF 2013). Most of the academic literature on the illicit wildlife trade has addressed the supply end of the trade, and the bulk of the literature that deals with the consumer end has not been specifically concerned with demand reduction. Schneider’s (2008, 2012) work on a market reduction approach to the trade, for example, highlights the importance of consumer demand but primarily focuses on law enforcement interventions at stages prior to consumption.

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