The Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF) on Cooperative Enforcement Operations Directed at Illegal Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora and the Regional Centre on Small Arms in the Great Lakes Region, the Horn of Africa and Bordering States (RECSA) have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding which will facilitate the effective undertaking of complementary activities of the two organization to enhance states cooperation and mutual support in combating wildlife crime and proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Africa. The signing ceremony took place on Wednesday 4th March 2015 at LATF Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, LATF Director Mr. Bonaventure Ebayi recalled the initial steps towards the initiative when he made his inaugural visit to RECSA Headquarters on 15th January, 2015 which resulted into the two organizations deciding to partner in the fight against wildlife crime and eradication of proliferation of small arms and light weapons. Mr. Ebayi stated: LATF is happy that this partnership has come to fruition recognizing that most of the poaching taking place in Africa is perpetrated by use of illicit small arms. The partnership between the two institutions will greatly accelerate and enhance the realization of the mandates of the two institutions.
RECSA Executive Secretary Mr. Théoneste Mutsindashyaka noted that wildlife is an irreplaceable asset and the impact of poaching was posing a great loss to the natural heritage of many countries in Africa. Mr. Mutsindashyaka pointed out that poaching was now a lifeline for most organized criminal gangs who are substituting piracy and terrorism in fueling conflicts in several parts of Africa. He stated: “proliferation of small arms is contributing to the increase in poaching and RECSA is happy that the signing of the MoU with LATF has come at a time when the organization embarks on a study that will give an analysis of the nexus between small arms and poaching. He stated that RECSA would look to working together with LATF in this study, of which results will help to jointly develop and implement appropriate strategies to fight the poaching and small arms proliferation in Africa.
RECSA contributes to the attainment of a safe and secure sub-region free from small arms proliferation in its 15 member countries in Africa through the development of effective institutions, effective promotion and facilitation of small arms and light weapons management and effective information provision. Similarly, LATF with the support of partners complements the efforts of Lusaka Agreement member states in carrying out effective law enforcement activities, building capacities of national agencies and promoting effective cooperation among members and with other African states towards safeguarding Africa’s much treasured wild fauna and flora against illicit trade and illegal exploitation.