Focused Conservation

Nature, Guns & Money

Nature, Guns and Money (NGM) is a cross-sectoral policy forum for cutting-edge analysis of environmental crime as a foreign policy and national security issue. NGM’s starting point is that environmental crime demands a holistic response, beyond a conservationist lens. NGM is managed by RUSI and Focused Conservation.


Understanding the Female Wildlife Offender: Lessons from the Case Files

6 Sep, 2023
Anne-Marie Weeden

Closed case reviews indicate that gender norms might be as harmful as they are helpful in understanding female involvement in wildlife crime, with better evidence needed to inform enforcement strategies. The role of women in relation to wildlife crime is viewed through a lens of localised gender norms, social conventions…

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Conservation NGOs can Boost Financial Investigations into Illegal Wildlife Trade – An Opportunity for Cross-Sector Collaboration

17 Jan, 2022
Fred Ellis

In recent years, academic research on the frequency of financial investigations into illegal wildlife trade (IWT) has been growing, both in volume and in strength of voice. The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) regularly publishes reports on the movements of profits from IWT, and the Financial Action Taskforce (FATF) – the…

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The UNCAC’s Role in Tackling Corruption related to Environmental Crimes

5 Jan, 2022
The UNCAC Coalition Environmental Crime and Corruption Working Group

The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) can make a significant contribution to tackling environmental crimes. As the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) warns of the loss of one million species in the coming decade, crimes affecting the environment and ecosystems need to be urgently addressed.…

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Achieving Effective Biodiversity Protection During War and Armed Conflict

10 Dec, 2021
Adrian Garside

Often, the post-conflict ‘peacebuilding’ phase comes too late to prevent biodiversity loss caused by war and armed conflict. A new policy approach is required. Following the publication of the UK’s 2021 Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, it is clear that the UK Government is now looking to…

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Illegal Wildlife Trade’s ‘Frenemy’: Navigating the implications of China’s BRI Expansion in West Africa

7 Dec, 2021
Elijah Glantz

Can China become an asset in the fight against illegal wildlife trade (IWT)? With the construction of the Chinese-financed and built Lekki Deep Sea Port in Nigeria, China continues to expand into West Africa as part of its Blue Economic Passage project, an aspect of the larger Belt and Road…

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Moving Beyond the Slogan: Operationalising ‘Follow the Money’ Approaches to Illegal Wildlife Trade in Uganda 

6 Oct, 2021
Cathy Haenlein

The illicit finance dimensions of illegal wildlife trade (IWT) have gained unprecedented global attention. In-depth country case studies are required to tailor external support and assess how far ‘follow the money’ approaches are being effectively operationalised. In recent years, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) – the global anti-money laundering…

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Cheating the System: Where Permits Come as Freely as the Wildlife

28 Sep, 2021
Lauren Young

Urgent action is needed to modernise the operation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), to prevent the systematic ‘laundering’ of threatened species such as cheetahs. The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime (GI-TOC) published in September 2021 a stark reminder of…

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Authoritarianism is a Trap: How China Undermines its own Promises on the Environment

14 Sep, 2021
Dr Tim Wittig

A recent spat about China’s environmental impact in Africa reveals how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) wishes to control its image on environmental issues. What happens when rhetoric meets reality?  A divisive – and perhaps healthy – debate came to a head recently when the Chinese Embassy in South Africa…

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Without Wi-Fi it’s Worthless: Will Virtualisation of Courts Prevent or Aid the Backlog of Wildlife Court Cases in Uganda?

25 Aug, 2021
Iisa Kosonen

Courts have gone online during Covid-19. Is this the answer to Uganda’s backlog of wildlife crime cases? The Covid-19 pandemic has obstructed global access to key government provisions, including criminal justice services. A recent United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime report from 2020 showcased that many countries were struggling…

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Laundering Shark Species in the Pacific: The Trail of the Fin

5 Jun, 2021
Dr Alejandro Lerch

Illegal fishing has turned predator into prey, yet little is known about how shark species are laundered through legitimate supply chain. According to a landmark new study by Nature magazine, sharks are vanishing from the oceans. For every ten sharks in the open sea in the 1970s, today there is only…

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