Regional Wildlife Enforcement Networks (WENs) have gained increasing prominence over the past decade as mechanisms for addressing transnational wildlife crime. These initiatives vary somewhat in scope, function and structure, but are consistent in their stated objectives. All are founded on the idea that single agency, single country approaches are insufficient in an age when illicit wildlife supply chains span the globe. WENs aspire to create mechanisms for better enforcement cooperation between nations. They also include provisions for improved inter-agency cooperation within their participating countries. Because of their focus on conservation issues, most WENs are heavily invested with input from non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Engagement by international conservation groups has been important to their creation, functionality and funding. Many WENs would not exist, or would fail to function, in the absence of civil society inputs. Less evident is the fact that the WENs’ development has also been influenced by a set of American foreign policy and aid delivery objectives. Their conceptual and practical origins can be linked to US government promotion of networking as a strategy against wildlife crime.
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