The Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the World Bank report that illegal wildlife trade has taken a major toll on the world's threatened species. Globally, illegal wildlife trade is estimated to be a multi-billion per year industry and the fourth largest illegal trade after drugs, humans and weapons. The difference, highlighted by the finance institutions, is that global illegal wildlife trade involves a finite and rapidly diminishing amount of resources.
According to the GEF, collaboration and cooperation are the only ways to combat illegal wildlife trade. Since 1991, the GEF has directly contributed over US$78 million and leveraged over US$206 million in co-financing in the funding of 28 projects promoting wildlife conservation, combating poaching and illegal wildlife trade, and preventing the extinction of threatened species. Most recently, the GEF Council approved a project titled 'Engaging Policy Makers and the Judiciary to Address Poaching and Illegal Wildlife Trade in Africa,' meant to create the enabling environment to effectively address poaching and illegal wildlife trade through new and enhanced laws, regulations and policies.
The World Bank reports that it is the largest provider of development assistance to the fight against environment and natural resources crime globally, with US$300 million invested in 39 ongoing projects related to forestry, fisheries and wildlife law enforcement. It has also partnered with national agencies and global organizations engaged in law enforcement, finance, research and intelligence around natural resource crime prevention and law enforcement; and funds organizations such as the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC).