15. December 2022

New publication: Political economy analysis and illegal wildlife trade investigations

TNRC Political economy analysis

Corruption risk assessments in a law enforcement context seek to map what and how corruption risks could undermine investigations and prosecutions of serious crimes like illegal wildlife trade. But how do you answer why those corruption risks arise in the first place?

Understanding this is key to developing corruption risk mitigation measures that are not just technically sound but politically feasible.

A three-country project

As part of a collaboration with the Targeting Natural Resource Corruption (TNRC) project, the Basel Institute on Governance undertook political economy analyses in three countries in Latin America and Africa.

The purpose was to understand why corruption risks may emerge in investigations and prosecutions of illegal wildlife trade cases. The analyses complemented the findings of corruption risks assessments conducted in the three countries and focused on the law enforcement process for cases of illegal wildlife trade.

The experience showed that political economy analyses can help practitioners better understand corruption risks in a specific context. This understanding helps practitioners to design and implement corruption risk mitigation measures that take prevailing political and power dynamics into account.

In particular, it helps to identify windows of opportunity for addressing corruption risks and highlight strategically important stakeholders that may support or oppose the intervention.

Insights by practitioners for practitioners

Based on the research, our team drew up a Practice Note that:

  • summarises the value added and key insights provided by the political economy analyses;
  • explains the lessons learned from implementing the analyses;
  • offers practical guidance to practitioners.

The paper was developed by the Basel Institute's Public Governance team together with the Green Corruption programme as part of a wider research collaboration between the Basel Institute and TNRC project consortium. The insights were summarised in a webinar featuring experts from the Basel Institute, WWF South Africa and USAID in Peru. 

Find it on the TNRC knowledge hub alongside a trove of insightful, practical research on countering the corruption that threatens wildlife, forests and marine life.