East Africa: Region Keen On Combating Poaching


By Hazla Omar, Tanzania Daily News

Date Published
Arusha — PRIME Minister Mizengo Pinda has lauded the Multilateral and Bilateral Agreement signed during the just ended Regional Summit to stop Wildlife Crime and Advance Wildlife Conservation, which has just been concluded in Arusha.
The premier said the deliberations reached during the two-day conference here would supplement ongoing initiatives against wildlife poaching and illegal trading in horns and ivory or its related artifacts through cross-border cooperation. “Despite several regional initiatives in the fight against poaching.
The objective of the strategy, among others, is to strengthen policy and legislation framework in combating poaching and trafficking of wildlife and wildlife products.
The strategy is also tailored to develop and enhance human resource capacity in wildlife conservation and wildlife laws enforcement and strengthen the regional and international collaboration in combating poaching and trafficking of wildlife resources.
The Regional Summit was attended by, among others, the US Undersecretary of State, Economic Growth, Energy and Environment, Ms Catherine Novelli; Ministers and Cabinet Secretary of Natural Resources, Wildlife, Tourism, Water, Environment, Trade and Investment, Lands, Urban Planning, Information and culture from EAC and other African countries.
There were also Members of Parliament; Diplomatic Corps, Development Partners, Directors of Wildlife, Anti-Poaching, National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Areas, Regional Business Leaders and Representatives of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).
The two-day event focused on actions that Tanzania and its neighbouring countries may take to combat wildlife crime and advance wildlife conservation in the region. Deliberations were on three major areas – wildlife crimes, migratory wildlife and shared ecosystems and will result in key agreements and actions to combat poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking.
Partner states recognise that restoration and protection of the environment and natural resources opens the door to sustainable socioeconomic development in the region.
As a step toward maximising benefits and ensuring sustainable exploitation of natural resources, EAC Secretariat initiated the development of the Protocol on Tourism and Wildlife Management to enhance regional collaboration in wildlife management and illegal trafficking of wildlife made under the umbrella of the South African Development Community (SADC), the Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF) and the East African Community (EAC), I still believe that the outcome of this conference will complement the afore mentioned efforts,” stated Pinda who was officially closing the meeting.
Among the resolutions reached by the summit, as read by Dr Kaush Arha, the Vice-Chairman of the International Conservation Caucus Foundation (ICCF), was to ensure that all countries that have wildlife and recipients of such products must hatch cooperation to curb illegal trafficking of wildlife goods.
The Summit took place at the East African Community (EAC) whose Secretary General Dr Richard Sezibera earlier on pointed out that poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking robs EAC partner states of their natural capital and cultural heritage with serious economic and social consequences.
“It undermines the livelihoods of dependent communities and damages the health of the ecosystems they depend on.” Other delegates were of the view that the high levels of poverty, weak governance (measured by law enforcement capacity and corruption) together with demand for ivory in developed nations were the factors said to be linked with higher poaching levels.
Dr Sezibera said, there is need to put in place robust policies to curb the menace. The EAC official affirmed to the delegates that, as a region, a draft strategy to combat poaching and illicit trade in wildlife had been put in place.