Africa-twix | Hermes

THE PLANET

Africa-twix,
protecting endangered species

Year after year, the forests of central Africa are emptying of their elephants, pangolins, large primates, lions, leopards and Congo Grey parrots, as well as of their tropical wood. Two of the main causes of this depletion are poaching and illegal trade. With the support of the Fondation d’Entreprise Hermès, the Africa-TWIX online platform, set up by the NGO WWF, helps to fight this scourge.
Traffickers in pangolin scales or elephant ivory – both of which are much sought after in central Africa – care little for borders. It is consequently impossible to dismantle these international networks without cooperation between all those who are responsible for fighting fraud, whatever their country of origin.
This observation gave rise to the Africa-TWIX Internet platform, a veritable toolbox for strengthening the exchange of information in the fight against illegal trade in wild fauna and flora. Behind this initiative is the WWF and its Traffic programme. The NGO drew inspiration from a similar project between European countries to develop Africa-TWIX in 2016, with the support of the Fondation d’Entreprise Hermès.
The police, the judiciary and forestry and waterways authorities in five countries (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Gabon, the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo) use the platform daily. A customs officer in Cameroon, for example, can quickly contact their Congolese counterpart regarding a seizure or to share their experience on a case, as well as to access a wealth of information to help them in their investigations (identification guides, legislation, laboratories, etc.).
Between April 2016 and February 2018, a total of 710 messages were exchanged via the online platform, and six investigations were launched. This offers a significant incentive to other countries on the continent that are also affected by trafficking to join the project.
“The important thing about this sort of project is the collective intelligence that can be mobilised in the field: we need to persuade, to train, to chase up, to monitor progress... When Africa-TWIX was starting up, the Fondation d’Entreprise Hermès helped to implement many of the platform’s activities and to consolidate our team for this long-term project. Today, a dozen people are involved at different levels in developing and implementing the project.”
Stéphane Ringuet,
 "Trade in endangered wild species" programme officer at WWF France


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