Luc Hoffmann Institute collaboration explores anti-corruption responses in conservation

From 26 to 28 October, the Luc Hoffmann Institute held the ‘Exploring Responses to Corruption in Natural Resource Management and Conservation Practice’ virtual symposium in partnership with the Targeting Natural Resource Corruption project, led by the WWF-US in consortium with U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, TRAFFIC and TraCCC.

This key milestone in the wider project collaboration brought together thought and action leaders originating from 27 countries to incubate new responses to the impact of corruption on nature and people through shared knowledge and collective action.

Sense making across Six Arenas

To facilitate shared learning, moderated breakout sessions were held around six arenas where corruption’s impact can be addressed: law enforcement and judiciary; supply chains and illegal trade; international finance and illicit financial flows; local and community-based conservation; national policies and politics in source countries; and conservation organisations and funders.

Several overarching themes emerged through these discussions, together with dialogue around how to engage in effective anti-corruption work. 

A corruption lens highlights the role of global structures and demand as well as local drivers. Offenses on the front lines are often driven by higher networks of power and money. Conservation and natural resource management are also linked to climate change, water and energy systems, among others. Engagement on multiple levels is needed to broaden global discussions around transparency and accountability to include actors with different access points and knowledge.

There is also the challenge of prioritisation. In many regions, environmental conservation is perceived as a barrier to development, rather than as the key to sustainable economic and social development. 

Rights and inclusivity emerged as a strong theme. Remaining open to collaboration includes understanding the internal governance and dynamics of local communities; and some approaches to conservation were questioned with regards to protecting communities’ livelihoods, human rights, and rights of access to, among others, opportunities and information.

Working for change

“On the final day, five innovators hosted sessions in an ideas marketplace, to begin ideation of possible actionable pathways,” commented Melanie Ryan, director of the Luc Hoffmann Institute. “These were Pathways to action, Governance and conservation in Africa, Anti-corruption in community-based conservation, Wildlife and drug trafficking: crime convergence in the Americas, and Communications: corruption in natural resources.

“The symposium provided an opportunity for people from different backgrounds and organisations to come together and openly explore, question and find ways to move forward at the intersection of corruption and conservation issues. This exploration catalysed potential new pathways toward the incubation of innovative action.”

Related reading

Spurring new cross-sectoral connections towards anti-corruption responses in conservation
A thought piece by Elizabeth Hart, Chief of Party, Targeting Natural Resource Corruption (TNRC), World Wildlife Fund (WWF-US) and Aled Williams, Senior Advisor at U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Center – Chr. Michelsen Institute, Research Coordinator for TNRC.

Tackling corruption in the Indonesian natural resources sector
A thought piece by Laode M. Syarif, Executive Director of Partnership for Governance Reform (KEMITRAAN) in Indonesia and Senior Lecturer at Hasanuddin University, Faculty of Law.

Fostering anti-corruption approaches in the Colombian conservation sector
A thought piece by Isis Alvarez, former Livestock Campaign Coordinator and Senior Gender Advisor at the Global Forest Coalition, and Natalia Muñoz Cassolis, Consultant on Illegal Wildlife Trade at WWF and to the Transparent Governance of Natural Resources (TGNR) project.