Benin: Journalists at the school in the fight against environmental crime (Benin)


AALF Benin

Date Published

Translated from French by an automated online translation service, so please excuse the roughness. See link for original. Thank you to Anne Dillon for both volunteering her time to find these French articles and doing the online translating.

See link for photos.

Media personnel and activists from the program Support the Application of Laws on Fauna and Flora of Benin (AALF), on Friday, July 15, 2016, discussed with journalists the topic “the fight against environmental crime: regulation and the role of media.” This was done under the auspices of Coffee Media No. 105’s “More,” a weekly exchange, and was held at the university, the House of Media Thomas Megnassan. It was an opportunity for journalists to become informed about the merits of fighting wildlife crime in Benin.

To reach the feelings of the journalists, a film about fifteen minutes long was screened, showing the marvels of W and Pendjari Parks and threats. The wealth of wildlife in the wildlife reserves is threatened by poaching. Not only Benin, but other African countries and the world are not immune to the slaughter of animals. “Every fifteen minutes, an elephant is killed in the world,” said Benjamin Dagbeto, an environmental lawyer and one of the panelists who wondered whether to remain inactive to this scourge. Attitudes must change because the environment is our common good, he said, adding that Benin does not have a regulatory problem. He cited the Benin Constitution in its Article 27, which entitles all Beninese to defend its environment. It has not overshadowed the framework law on environment, and Act 2002-16 of October 18, 2014, establishing the system of wildlife in the Republic of Benin. In these explanations, Benjamin Dagbeto recalled that the NGO Nature Tropicale, which works for the protection of fauna and flora in Benin, continues to raise awareness about the protection of natural resources. If the killing continues in the wildlife reserves, we must then apply these texts, he insisted.

For the jurist Homéfa Dovi Z, one of the speakers and assistant coordinator of the program, Support the Application of Laws on Fauna and Flora of Benin (AALF Benin), we have to reach the stage of awareness deterrent. According to him, the law distinguishes three levels of species protection. There are fully protected species, partially protected, and unprotected. To believe the activists, money from the commercialization of the resources of wildlife and flora goes to terrorists or criminal networks. The aim of the crackdown, he has indicated, is to discourage trafficking in wildlife. A broadcast video showed the efforts being made on the ground since 2014. Poachers were arrested and brought to justice. Many were deprived of their liberty for months or even years under the provisions of the Wildlife Act. While we know that ivory is nice to see if it’s on the elephant, we must intensify the fight against wildlife crime.

Panelists asked journalists to accompany the Beninese government, the main actor of this struggle, by providing media coverage of any action against wildlife, and to educate people to avoid undermining the life of these protected species by attacking them, running the risk of condemnation and imprisonment. Beninese fauna is a common heritage that all citizens should protect because it supports tourism, which brings revenue to the national economy.