The International Conservation Chiefs Academy (ICCA) is a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service-led (Service), international training program that combines leadership competencies with the mission to combat wildlife trafficking. Its goal is to build a global conservation law enforcement network through a shared understanding of common challenges, strong professional relationships, and the ability to apply the concepts of adaptive leadership to conservation law enforcement policy and field work.
The Service’s Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) is a world leader in the fight against natural resource crime; however, it recognizes that wildlife trafficking is a global issue and that the OLE cannot fight it alone. To be effective and successful in wildlife crime investigations, the world’s conservation law enforcement officers must work as a cohesive unit even though they are legally “stove-piped” within their nation’s borders. The question became, “How best to achieve this?”
The ICCA began with a vision to create an international academy much like the already successful National Conservation Law Enforcement Leadership Academy, which builds and strengthens natural resource law enforcement within the United States by bringing together and training U.S. leaders from state conservation agencies. The OLE’s Training and Development Unit (TDU) strategized with leadership from the National Association of Conservation Law Enforcement Chiefs on the best way forward, including what training to provide and how to fund it.
With financial support from the U.S. Department of State, International Narcotics & Law Enforcement Affairs, the first ICCA was held in September of 2016 to a cohort from various African countries. Since then, hundreds of attendees from across Africa, Asia, and Central and South America have graduated from the ICCAs.
Through the ICCA platform, Service subject matter experts share their knowledge, skills, and operational methods that are used to combat wildlife trafficking in the United States. In addition, the training provides an overview of various law enforcement investigative and adaptive leadership concepts, topics, and techniques related to wildlife trafficking, which are then reinforced through small and large group exercises. Foreign language interpreters ensure all information and communication are fully understood by all.
"Strengthening Global Law Enforcement Relationships to Combat Illegal Wildlife Trafficking"