The Extraordinary Meeting of the Bureau of the Governing Council of Parties to the Lusaka Agreement was successfully held from 15th to 17th March 2017 at Laico Regency Hotel in Nairobi Kenya.
The Ministerial Session of the Meeting held on 17th March 2017 was preceded by a two-day Experts/Technical Meeting that deliberated on substantive matters pertaining to implementation of the Lusaka Agreement. In attendance were delegates from Congo, Kenya, Liberia, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, LATF and the United Nations Environment.
The Members of the Governing Council that graced the Ministerial Session of the Meeting were Mr. Pierre TATY, Permanent Secretary and representative of President of the 10th Governing Council and Minister for Forest Economy and Sustainable Development of Republic of Congo; Hon. Kiwanda Godfrey Ssuubi Vice President to the Lusaka Agreement Governing Council and Minister of State in the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities of Republic of Uganda; Hon. Charles Banda (MP), Rapporteur to the Lusaka Agreement Governing Council and Zambian Minister for Tourism and Arts; the host Dr. Margaret Mwakima, Principal Secretary representing the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources of the Republic of Kenya; Major General Gaudence Milanzi, Permanent Secretary representing Tanzanian Minister for Tourism and Natural Resources and Mr. Theophilus V. Freeman, representing the Republic of Liberia. The United Nations Environment was represented by Mr. Robert Wabunoha. Also in attendance were representatives of the Embassies of Congo and Zambia to Kenya.
The meeting, among other agenda items, carried out election of Bureau Officials of the 11th Governing Council in accordance with Decision XI/7(2) of the Meeting of the Governing Council held on 3rd May 2015 in Brazzaville, Congo. In this respect, Uganda, Zambia and Kenya were newly elected as President, Vice President and Rapporteur of the 11th Governing Council respectively.
The meeting also reviewed, deliberated and made substantive decisions on LATF Progress Reports, Proposals, Programmes of Work including budgets for financial years 2016/2017 and 2017/2018, Reengineering of the institutional structures/organs under the Lusaka Agreement and Development of LATF’s second Strategic Plan towards effective implementation of the Lusaka Agreement going into the future.
The newly elected President Hon. Kiwanda Godfrey Ssuubi of the Republic of Uganda commended the outgoing President Hon. Rosalie Matondo of the Republic of Congo for the achievements made by the Agreement during her tenure and called upon Parties to support the new leadership in ensuring that the three organs of the Agreement i.e. Governing Council, National Bureaus and LATF are revitalized in executing their respective mandates.
The Parties reaffirmed their commitments and promised to redouble their efforts in realizing the objectives of the Lusaka Agreement. In the same vein, the Members of the Governing Council (Ministers)/Heads of Delegations urged the international community especially development partners/donors to enhance their support to Lusaka Agreement and its implementing organs at national and regional levels. They reiterated that the fight against transnational wildlife and forestry crime is for a noble cause to safeguard our treasured natural resources from potential depletion and thereby forestall consequences that would be detrimental to national economies and livelihoods of the people particularly in Africa.