Bila watu hufiki popote. “Without people or connections you won’t reach anywhere,” said a Tanzanian businessman participating in our recently completed research project on informal networks and corruption.

His words encapsulate something we see time and again in our research on corruption: that bribery is far more than just a brute monetary transaction.

Often more important, and far less studied, are the informal social networks that connect private individuals and public officials.

Illegal wildlife trade (IWT) poses a threat to many countries in Africa, Asia, South and Central America. While the role of informal networks in sustaining wildlife trafficking is ever more on the radar of scholars and practitioners, their modus operandi remains largely understudied. The literature tells us that these informal networks play a role in sustaining this illicit cross-border trade.

Behaviour change interventions aimed at reducing the social acceptability of wildlife trafficking are an important part of efforts to prevent wildlife crime. But how can practitioners craft messages that will be effective in changing attitudes and behaviours?

Our latest policy brief aims to support policymakers and practitioners seeking to improve conservation outcomes through behaviour change interventions.

Behaviour change interventions aimed at reducing the social acceptability of wildlife trafficking are an important part of efforts to prevent wildlife crime. This policy brief summarises lessons learned about how to develop and frame effective messages in the context of these interventions, based on field work conducted in Uganda. 

At a Basel Institute-hosted webinar on illicit enrichment on 30 June 2021, practitioners from Uganda, Kenya and Mauritius agreed that illicit enrichment laws have significant potential to help their countries – and others – target corruption and recover stolen assets. But, they say, significant hurdles still need to be overcome, especially in transnational cases.