Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF) organized and delivered four (4) day training for wildlife law enforcement officers from 9th to 13th February, 2015at Fairway Hotel in Kampala, Uganda. The training was organized in close collaboration with Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) through support received from the High Commission of Canada to Kenya which also covers the Republic of Uganda. The funds were disbursed under the Canada Fund for Local Initiative. Sixteen (16) wildlife law enforcement officers from Conservation Areas in Uganda were trained in specialized intelligence and investigative techniques
In his remarks during the opening ceremony, Dr. Andrew G. Seguya, Executive Director of Uganda Wildlife Authority underscored the importance of protecting Uganda’s wildlife which remains the top-most foreign exchange earner for Uganda. He further emphasized the need to embrace ethics and team work among staff in order to promote the image of Uganda Wildlife Authority.
The Director of Lusaka Agreement Task Force, Mr. Bonaventure Ebayi, in his brief remarks pointed out that LATF continues to support and closely work with wildlife agencies within the Member States to Lusaka Agreement in an effort to stop poaching and trafficking in wildlife products. Noting that illicit wildlife crime generates over USD 19 billion to the global criminal networks, the Director went on to emphasize the importance of upgrading the skills and knowledge of wildlife law enforcement officers through training in order to not only match but defeat criminals.
In her key note address, the Chief Guest Ms. Grace Mbabazi Awulo, representing the PS Ministry of Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities, applauded LATF and Canadian High Commission for financially supporting the training workshop. She indicated that the skills acquired by participants will go a long way in helping Uganda fight wildlife crime. She informed the audience that her Ministry is working hard to have the Wildlife Act amended in order to provide for stiffer penalties for wildlife-related offences. She further mentioned that Uganda’s Wildlife Policy of 2014 is already in place to provide a framework for wildlife conservation in Uganda.
Resource persons were drawn from law enforcement agencies which include Uganda Wildlife Authority, Internal Security Organization (ISO), Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP), Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Directorate (CIID), Interpol-National Central Bureau (NCB), and Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) as well as the Directorate of Public Prosecutions in Uganda and Lusaka Agreement Task Force.
Mr. James Christoff, the Political Counselor at the Canadian High Commission to Kenya was in Kampala and found time to observe and greet the trainess at Fairway Hotel, Kampala on 11th February, 2015.