Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge

The Whistleblower Protection Blog’s most popular posts of 2016 covered a wide range of topics including Supreme Court case coverage, the National Whistleblower Center’s new program for wildlife whistleblowers, and crucial agency-related and legislative victories that improved whistleblower rights.

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Today marks the start of the third Our Ocean conference hosted by Secretary of State John F. Kerry.  The conference, which is being held in Washington, DC from September 15-16, 2016, will focus on marine protected areas, sustainable fisheries, and marine pollution, among other pressing concerns.

As Secretary Kerry acknowledged, “The richness and diversity of our marine resources are being decimated by reckless and illicit fishing practices.” Under Secretary of State Catherine Novelli stressed the importance of using technology to improve enforcement efforts at ports, noting that, “…[with robust enforcement] it becomes much more difficult to actually make a living selling illegally caught fish and that’s going to deter people from illegal fishing.”


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Washington, D.C. September 1, 2016. Today, the Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge announced the National Whistleblower Center (NWC) as a Grand Prize Winner. The Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge, an initiative of USAID in partnership with the National Geographic Society, the Smithsonian Institution, and TRAFFIC, is finding new, innovative solutions to the most intractable issues in the fight against wildlife trafficking.
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Washington, D.C. August 29, 2016. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recently approved the National Whistleblower Center’s application for membership. The IUCN is the world’s largest and most diverse environmental network.

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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.  
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Protections for wildlife whistleblowers greatly enhanced

Washington, D.C. February 10, 2016.  The Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge announced that the National Whistleblower Center won its People’s Choice competition.  The National Whistleblower Center’s “Secured Internet Wildlife Crime Reporting System” received the most votes in the worldwide competition.

The NWC’s project was one of 44 projects from around the world eligible for the People’s Choice competition. NWC was also recently named one of 16 Challenge Prize Winners.

“Winning this vote is a huge victory for whistleblowers and wildlife protection.  It demonstrates that people from around the world strongly support whistleblowers, and understand that 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,” said Stephen M. Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center.
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