New collection of publications on community engagement to tackle illegal wildlife trade

News, 9 May 2018
IIED and IUCN have published case studies, a policy briefing and a toolkit to help practitioners and stakeholders build community engagement in combatting illegal wildlife trade.

An elephant in Uganda's Murchison Falls National Park. Efforts to combat illegal trade in high-value commodities such as tusks depend largely on the support of local communities.(Photo: Jurriaan Persyn, Creative Commons via Flickr)

Successfully fighting wildlife crime depends on engaging with local communities. IIED has been working in partnership with International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on the First Line of Defence against Illegal Wildlife Trade (FLoD) initiative to find out how actions that support communities living alongside wildlife can reduce poaching and promote conservation. The background and theory of change of the FLoD programme can be found on the IUCN website.

The FLoD initiative uses a learning process to help local communities, project designers and implementers to understand the context-specific motivations behind the legal and illegal activities of local communities. It explores the extent to which communities align (or not) with the perspectives of those who design and implement illegal wildlife trade (IWT) projects and those who set policy.

Early experiences have highlighted the critical insights that communities can provide, and how these insights can help improve the future design and focus of initiatives and policies to protect species from the IWT.

Together with IUCN we have published new case studies from Kenya, a policy briefing with discussion of the FLoD approach and a toolkit to help practitioners on the ground to deliver the FLoD methodology (also available in French and Portuguese).

The FLoD programme is one aspect of IIED’s wider work on wildlife crime. Other linked areas of work include the ‘Community-based wildlife management as a tool to tackle illegal wildlife trade’ project, which aims to identify, profile and promote examples of successful community management models, and to explore key ingredients for success. We are also working with the Uganda Wildlife Authority and partners at Murchison Falls National Park on a project to build the capacity of the UWA community programme, increase skills and collect data to address the issues of human-wildlife conflict and lack of income earning opportunities.


For more information, contact Dilys Roe (, Principal researcher in IIED's Natural Resources research group 

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