The 11th Governing Council Meeting of the Parties to the Lusaka Agreement from 2nd to 3rd May 2015 was successfully held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Headquarters in Brazzaville, Congo, immediately after the International Conference on Illegal Trade and Exploitation of Africa’s Wild Flora and Fauna which was held from 27th to 30th April 2015 at the same city.
The Ministerial session of the Governing Council Meeting held on 3rd May 2015 was preceded by a one-day Experts Meeting that deliberated on substantive technical matters pertaining to implementation of the Lusaka Agreement. The Meeting was led by Hon. Henri DJOMBO (MP) President of the 10thGoverning Council and Minister for Forest Economy and Sustainable Development of the Republic of Congo, the host country. Mr. James Milanzi representing Hon. Jean Kapata Rapporteur of the 10th Governing Council and Minister for Tourism and Arts of the Republic of Zambia, Hon. Mahmoud Hassan Mgimwa (MP) Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism of the United Republic of Tanzania, and Mr. Gideon Gathaara representing Hon. Judi Wakhungu, Member of the Governing Council and Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources of the Republic of Kenya, graced the ministerial session. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) was represented by Mr. Robert Wabunoha. Mr. Wabunoha reiterated UNEP’s continued steadfast support to the implementation of the Lusaka Agreement and encouraged Lusaka Agreement Parties to adopt more innovative techniques in fighting wildlife and forestry crimes in view of the increasing sophistication and current escalation of the menace.
The meeting commended the notable achievements of LATF in implementing the Lusaka Agreement and especially for its efforts in coordinating regional and global enforcement action towards curtailing wildlife crime. The Parties reaffirmed their commitment to the Lusaka Agreement and in fostering closer cooperation towards addressing the spiraling wildlife crime and its negative impacts on biodiversity, national economies and livelihoods of people in Africa. The Parties welcomed the global commitments and interventions calling for a more pragmatic approach in addressing the vice. They also embraced the outcome of the International Conference on Illegal Trade and Exploitation of Africa’s Wild Flora and Fauna, held earlier in April 2015 Brazzaville, which came up with a common strategy to address wildlife crime in Africa and appreciated LATF’s leading role in its implementation.
The Meeting’s deliberations crystalized in a number of decisions and resolutions. These included: i) Adoption of LATF Progress Reports, LATF Programmes of Work and Budgets, Proposals, LATF’s financial sustainability as well as Extension of the tenure of the Bureau of the 10th Governing Council until September 2015 when they will hand over to new Bureau officials of the 11th Governing Council.