Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF) joined senior investigators from 13 countries across Asia and Africa at a Wildlife Inter-Regional Enforcement (WIRE) group meeting co-hosted by UNODC and Royal Thai Police in Bangkok Thailand from 28th November to 2nd December 2016. The meeting that was also attended by INTERPOL and WCO was aimed at promoting bilateral and multilateral cooperation among countries in investigating transnational wildlife trafficking cases. Further, the meeting created a forum to discuss and exchange information amongst wildlife investigators with an objective of mapping out targeted criminal syndicates and facilitating joint intelligence-led operations.
During the meeting, LATF seized the opportunity to discuss some of the pending transnational wildlife trafficking cases involving Africa and other regions particularly with transit and destination countries in South East Asia, and pursued the need for countries in Africa, Asia and South East Asia to work together in identifying and locating the key mid and upper-level individuals, traffickers, dealers and business entities involved in transnational organized wildlife trafficking and bring them to book. The fight against wildlife crime cannot be fought and won in isolation.
With cross-border mandate to support the member states and collaborating partners, LATF works closely with national enforcement agencies, regional and international partners on matters of mutual interests and in taking action to fight wildlife crime. LATF has concluded MoUs, among others with ICCWC’s enforcement partners namely CITES, INTERPOL, WCO and UNODC. LATF continues to spearhead the initiation of bilateral cooperation among countries in Africa and, through partnerships, bridging them with countries in other regions to prevent, combat and eventually eradicate trafficking in wild fauna and flora.
LATF considers WIRE meeting timely and useful to Africa as it continues to witness increasing trends in illegal exploitation of the region’s wild fauna and flora. The need for increased co-operation among countries especially source, transit and destination of wildlife contraband has become more critical today than it was in the past. As the fight against wildlife crime cannot be fought and won in isolation, Africa, Asia and South East Asia need to work together in identifying, profiling and locating the key poachers, traffickers and dealers and bring them to book.
We wish to reiterate our call urging all members of the donor community to consider extending their financial support to Lusaka Agreement Task Force to enhance its capacities and efficiency in discharging our unique regional mandate in support of countries enforcement efforts.