Last week, the National Whistleblower Center’s Executive Director Stephen Kohn visited the World Bank to discuss the NWC’s Global Wildlife Whistleblower Program with members of the Bank’s environmental protection program. Mr. Kohn’s presentation covered the background and specifics of the Program, which aims to educate potential wildlife whistleblowers around the world about their rights to protection and rewards under U.S. law, thereby encouraging those whistleblowers to come forward safely and effectively.  

The Global Wildlife Whistleblower Program, which will include secure technology that will allow individuals to anonymously report wildlife crimes, was recently named a prize winner by the Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge. In addition, it also won the People’s Choice Award. On top of providing a secure mechanism to report wildlife crime, the Program will ensure that information is brought to the relevant authorities in ways that entitle the whistleblower both to protection and to substantial monetary rewards. By launching the Program, the NWC seeks to significantly impact the illegal global wildlife trafficking industry; as Mr. Kohn explained, “Incentivizing the reporting of illegal wildlife trafficking is key to stopping the destruction of protected forests, the killing of endangered species and the protection of fish from illegal and unregulated fishing.”

Mr. Kohn’s presentation led to a productive conversation about potential key partnerships to deploy an effective program to protect wildlife whistleblowers around the world,  using the World Bank as an intermediary. The discussion involved several key members of the Bank’s environmental protection programs, including Valerie Hickey, Practice Manager of the World Bank Group’s Environmental and Natural Resources Global Practice, as well as Charles Di Leva, Lead Counsel in the Environmental and International Law Unit of the World Bank Legal Department. 

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