Battling the Illegal Wildlife Trade Through Regulatory Finance: The Southeast Asian Context




Illegal Wildlife Trade, Sustainable Development Goals, Southeast Asia, Artificial Intelligence, Regulatory Finance


The illegal wildlife trade (IWT) is a US$20 billion global industry, with significant environmental, economic, and sociopolitical harms. Fueled by a complex interplay of drivers and enabling factors, IWT poses concrete stumbling blocks for several UN Sustainable Development Goals. There is an urgent need for comprehensive reforms to address its multifaceted consequences around the world. In Southeast Asia, IWT is rampant as the region serves as a global hub for this black market. However, because of its characterization as an invisible threat, many aspects of IWT in the region remains understudied, particularly its relationship with illicit financial flows. In this paper, I look at the different economic and legal interventions to address IWT, focusing on regulatory finance. Adapting legal mechanisms from comparative jurisdictions, I propose three measures to be spearheaded by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Community: first, to strengthen the implementation of existing financial crime instruments through specialized training and the utilization of emerging technology such as AI and blockchain; second, to append wildlife crimes as predicate offences to financial felonies, and; third, to utilize financial regulation instruments to fight poverty and support inclusive community development, encouraging communities to be proactive partners in long-term wildlife conservation.

Author Biography

Chad Patrick Osorio, School of Environmental Science and Management, Department of Economics, University of the Philippines Los Banos


Chad Patrick Osorio is Adjunct Assistant Professor at the School of Environmental Science and Management and Senior Lecturer for the Department of Economics at the University of the Philippines Los Banos. He is PhD candidate for Environmental Economics and Law at Wageningen University and Research. The views expressed in this paper do not necessarily reflect those of the author’s institutions. He declares no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship and/or publication of this article. He thanks Carl Kristoffer Hugo for the research support, and his advisers Dr. Nadia Bernaz, Dr. Anna Abatayo, Dr. Andries Richter, and Dr. Jefferson Arapoc for the guidance.


Award information

This paper was awarded 2nd place in the 10. Annual Amartya Sen Essay Prize Competition 2023. Amartya Sen Prize is awarded to the best original essays examining one particular component of illicit financial flows, the resulting harms, and possible avenues of reform. Awarded by Academics Stand Against Poverty in partnership with Global Financial Integrity and Yale's Global Justice Program. The paper presentation can be found on the official Yale Global Justice Program YouTube channel:




How to Cite

Osorio, C. P. (2024). Battling the Illegal Wildlife Trade Through Regulatory Finance: The Southeast Asian Context. Journal of Academics Stand Against Poverty, 5(1), 44–74.