Protecting and incentivizing whistleblowers is essential to combat environmental crimes
The world is facing daunting environmental challenges, many exacerbated by corruption. A number of the planet’s protected species are disappearing rapidly, due in part to the illegal trade in flora and fauna, and corruption comes into play as traffickers often rely on fraudulent paperwork to move parts from endangered species and illegal timber across borders.
Preventing and combating corruption requires a comprehensive approach, but only in a climate of transparency, accountability and participation by all members of society is this possible.
The National Whistleblower Center (NWC), through its Global Wildlife Whistleblower Program, has used technology to create a confidential and secure transnational online reporting platform to encourage reports of wildlife trafficking and other environmental crimes. This platform provides a secure and completely confidential online platform where individuals across the world can report wildlife crime. According to the NWC incentivizing whistleblowers is essential to increasing the detection of these crimes. Whistleblowers worldwide may be eligible for financial rewards, under applicable U.S. laws, for reporting violations of laws that safeguard the planet’s protected species and sustainability.
“Whistleblowers remain the key source of information on fraud and corruption at home and abroad. However, they still face retaliation in many countries around the world. We need to rally our efforts to ensure that whistleblowers are protected and empowered. The first step toward making that happen is to make sure whistleblowers and anti-corruption groups understand the tools they have available to them” said Stephen M. Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center.
Learn more about how incentivizing whistleblowers can combat wildlife crime:
- Stephen Kohn, Environmental Law Review (46 ELR 10056, 2016), “Monetary Rewards for Wildlife Whistleblowers: A Game-Changer in Wildlife Trafficking Detection and Deterrence.”
- Beth Allgood, US Country Director for International Fund for Animal Welfare, September 4, 2018, The Role of Whistleblower Protections in Wildlife Conservation
- Scott Hajost, Managing Director of the Global Wildlife Whistleblower Program at the National Whistleblower Center, August 24, 2018, Empowering whistleblowers is the key to combating wildlife crime.
- Richard Schiffman, Environmental Journalist, December 4, 2018, Missed Opportunity: Is the vaquita’s plight linked to the US government’s failure to take advantage of one of its most powerful wildlife crime-fighting tools?
- Global Wildlife Whistleblower Program
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The NWC’s Global Wildlife Whistleblower Program, was named a Grand Prize Winner of the Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge, an initiative of USAID in partnership with the National Geographic Society, the Smithsonian Institution and TRAFFIC.