About Us

IWT Challenge Fund: About Us

The Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) Challenge Fund is a UK government grants scheme that provides support to innovative and scalable projects to reduce pressure on wildlife from illegal trade and, in doing so, reduce poverty in developing countries. It is one of the Biodiversity Challenge Funds, which also includes the Darwin Initiative and Darwin Plus, aimed at conserving biodiversity and safeguarding the environment for local people.

All projects address one or more of the following themes:

  • reducing demand for IWT products
  • ensuring effective legal frameworks and deterrents
  • strengthening law enforcement
  • developing sustainable livelihoods to benefit people directly affected by IWT

The illegal wildlife trade is a criminal industry worth more than £17 billion each year threatening both wildlife and people.*


Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund has awarded over

Funding Amounts
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Since 2014, the IWT Challenge Fund has supported 157 projects in over 60 countries to a value of over £51 million.

More information can be found here Frequently Asked Questions.

For further information on the Biodiversity Challenge Funds, please follow the links provided below:

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* UNEP - INTERPOL (2016). This estimate refers to the predicted value of the illegal trade in CITES listed species ($7-23bn). If you include the value of the illegal fishing (value of catch) and illegal timber trade, the estimate climbs to c.$170-200bn. Furthermore, if you include the ecosystem service values associated with these activities, the illegal logging, fishing, and wildlife trade has an estimated full global economic value of about $1 trillion to $2 trillion per year (World Bank, 2019).