Originally published on January 19, 2021
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has admitted the Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center (TraCCC) at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University as a member.
TraCCC will work with fellow IUCN member organizations in developing policies to combat natural resource crimes and illicit trade that endangers wildlife around the globe.
The IUCN, founded in 1948, is a Swiss-based international nonprofit with more than 1,400 government and non-governmental organizations from 170 countries working in the fields of conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. The agency represents more than 17,000 scientists, policy-makers, and business leaders promoting ecosystem protections, creating economic and social policy for species survival, and establishing environmental laws.
“This is a great honor,” said TraCCC founding director Louise Shelley. TraCCC, based in the Schar School, includes faculty from across the university, including the chair of the College of Science’s Environmental Science and Policy, Alonso Aguirre, who will participate in IUCN efforts.
"We were asked to apply because of our pioneering work on addressing corruption in natural resources and addressing the illicit wildlife trade,” Shelley said. “Our webinars during the pandemic on these issues have reached people in over 40 different countries with more than 1,000 participants. We address emerging priorities for IUCN and we have the expertise to contribute to their understanding and policy in these areas. We bring a unique perspective among their American academic partners."
“TraCCC is doing cutting edge intellectual and policy work on connecting corruption with organized crime, and combating natural resource crime,” said Scott Hajost, senior wildlife policy advisor to the National Whistleblower Center in Washington, D.C., an IUCN member. Hajost submitted a letter of endorsement to IUCN on behalf of TraCCC.
Mason is one of only three U.S. universities with research centers that are affiliated with IUCN. Other American centers are focused on science at Cornell University and the Yale Forestry School. TraCCC brings a different perspective, Hajost added. “It is excellent to have a prestigious center like TraCCC, based in a university with the quality and caliber of Mason” in the organization.