LATF AND CHINA CUSTOMS BOOST STRACTEGIC PARTNERSHIPS BY COOPERATING IN THE FIGHT AGAINST WILDLFE AND FORESTRY CRIME ACROSS LUSAKA AGREEMENT COUNTRIES AND CHINA

Monday 27th March 2017, at its Nairobi Headquarters, the Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Anti-Smuggling Bureau of the General Administration of China Customs (ASB-GACC).

The event was a culmination of a series of exchange visits and technical enforcement meetings through a long time effective collaboration between the two organizations in addressing wildlife and forest products smuggling between African countries and China. LATF and ASB-GACC have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to foster close cooperation in the fight against wildlife crime. By end of this year, the two organizations will spearhead the coordination of a multiagency transcontinental enforcement operation that will involve Lusaka agreement member countries and China.

The Director General of Anti-Smuggling Bureau of General Administration of China, Mr. LIU Xiaohui said: the signing of this unique MoU with LATF is an illustration of our commitment and dedication to supporting African states in the fight against wildlife crime which is in line with China government policy to put an end to smuggling of wildlife from Africa into China and other parts of the world. The MoU will enable the two institutions plan and jointly undertake enforcement activities as we support each other on matters of common interest. The fight against wildlife crime has been prioritized by our institution and we will continue to play a pivotal role to ensure criminals involved are brought to book and prosecuted, he concluded.

The Director of Lusaka Agreement Task Force, Mr. Bonaventure Ebayi stated that LATF values the partnership and close collaboration with China Customs as both institutions share same vision, expectations, values and motivations in assisting affected countries in Africa and Asia regaining their lost international images due to frequent involvement of their citizens in smuggling of wildlife specimens into china from African countries. LATF commends the government of China for the effort put across the vast country of more than two billion people to control the crime through numerous border points including international ports and airports, he said. The signing of a MoU between LATF and ASB-GACC constitute a significant milestone in advancing south-south cooperation, bridging source and destination countries of contrabands in the fight against transnational and transcontinental organized wildlife crime, he concluded.