The Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF) in collaboration with Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), delivered a two-day Inter Agency workshop consisting of 24 law enforcement officials from Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Revenue Authority (Customs), NCB INTERPOL, National Police Service, Kenya Forestry Service, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, Immigration, Kenya Plant Health and Inspectorate Services, Kenya Airports Authority, Kenya Ports Authority as well as the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and Lusaka Agreement Task Force. The workshop which was held in Mombasa, Kenya, from 12 to 13 February 2015 resulted into enhanced commitment by national agencies through actionable recommendations made to enhance cooperation and collaboration in the fight against wildlife crime.
During the workshop, officers shared their experiences and challenges which hinder collaboration and cooperation among them. As a result, the workshop achieved a shared and common understanding of wildlife crime in Kenya and the region by law enforcement officers. The officers enhanced their resolve to combat organized wildlife crime in the country and developed a set of recommendations which included the use of multidisciplinary law enforcement responses targeting the sophisticated criminal networks behind organized wildlife crime. They also recommended for developing a secured web based forum to be used for sharing of law enforcement information among the agencies nationally.
The workshop was graced by the Deputy Count Commissioner for Kisauni Mr. Julius Kavita on behalf of the Mombasa County Commissioner, as the Chief Guest. In his remarks, Mr. Kavita stated that the workshop has brought together experienced and senior officers from various government institutions in Kenya to discuss and share their expertise and experiences in the fight against wildlife crime.
The High Commissioner to Canada in Kenya, His Excellence David Angell stated that “illicit trade has serious consequences for international security, good governance and livelihoods. He indicated that from the figures released by KWS, indications were that there was a sharp decline in numbers of elephant and rhino killed in Kenya in 2014. The High Commissioner stated that in as much as the declining trends were welcome, the figures still remained high; hence he called for additional urgent and decisive action to tackle this trade and address the current poaching crisis. He stated that the High Commission of Canada to Kenya has joined hands with the Lusaka Agreement Task Force as it demonstrates continued leadership within the region on enforcement and compliance with CITES and other biodiversity related conventions.
Mr. Bonaventure Ebayi, Director of Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF) implored participants at the workshop to reinforce collaborative mechanisms, building common understanding and mutual trust among themselves to enhance operational links and information sharing to address wildlife crime in Kenya and beyond. He urged agencies to streamline the fight against illegal wildlife trade and exploitation within their organizational chain of command and operations so as to facilitate resource mobilization for the purpose. Mr. Ebayi renewed LATF’s commitment to continue spearheading this initiative and also encouraged the donor community to consider extending their support to the initiative. He expressed LATF’s gratitude to the government of Canada for her continued support of such undertakings in the region.
The event was made possible through funds generously provided to Lusaka Agreement Task Force by the Canada Fund for Local Initiative under the auspices of the High Commission of Canada to Kenya.