P403 million for SADC wildlife conservation


Goitseodimo Kaelo, Mmegi Online

Date Published

Head of European Union (EU) delegation to Botswana Alexander Baum yesterday said that the EU is in the process of finalising a £30 million (P403 million) regional programme on wildlife conservation for Southern african Development Community (SADC) region.

Speaking at a two-day Trade in Wildlife Information eXchange (TWIX) workshop in Gaborone, Baum explained that the overall objective of the programme is to combat illegal killing and trafficking of protected wildlife species in Southern and Eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean through improved management of shared ecosystems.

“To this end, support will be provided to strengthen wildlife law enforcement capacity and cross-border collaboration in the SADC region,” Baum said.

He said this as part of response to poaching crisis in SADC region; the EU is currently providing technical assistance to the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism for the establishment of Wildlife Enforcement Network of Southern Africa (WENSA) and the implementation of the recently approved SADC implementation of Law Enforcement and Anti-Poaching (LEAP) strategy.

He further said that the establishment of SADC-TWIX would help combat illegal wildlife trafficking through facilitation of cross-border information exchange and international cooperation between wildlife law enforcement officers.

He said that TWIX has proven to be an efficient tool in the fight against illegal wildlife trade after the success of Africa TWIX.

Deputy permanent secretary in the ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism Felix Monngae said that while Botswana has focused resources to apprehend poachers, it is clear the war against poaching will not be won if criminal syndicates are also not apprehended.

However, he said that the war could only be won through development of information exchange networks between countries.

Monngae who was speaking on behalf of minister Tshekedi Khama stated that government has fostered enhanced cooperation and linkages within and among law enforcement agencies in the country through the formation of the National Anti-Poaching Coordination Committee.

“Through this structure we are working to implement the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) Wildlife and Forest Crime Analytical Toolkit assessment which identified a need to strengthen inter-agency collaboration and information sharing,” he said.

He said that the establishment of SADC TWIX would be a good initiative as it has been demonstrated elsewhere that a simple exchange of information among law enforcement agencies can improve understanding of the extent of the operations of the wildlife criminal syndicates.