The Lusaka Agreement Task Force
The Lusaka Agreement on Co-operative Enforcement Operations Directed at Illegal Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora was the brain-child of Wildlife Law Enforcement Officers from eight Eastern and Southern African countries meeting in Lusaka, Zambia in December 1992, under the auspices of Zambia’s Ministry of Tourism.
This was followed up with working group meetings involving CITES, Interpol and US Fish & Wildlife Service special agents, as well as London University lawyers of the Foundation for International Environment Law Development (FIELD). The development of this African initiative a year later led to formal inter-governmental negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). This led to the adoption of the Lusaka Agreement on Co-operative Enforcement Operations Directed at Illegal Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora on 8th September 1994 in Lusaka, Zambia. The Agreement is deposited with the Secretary General of the United Nations, New York and categorized as a UN Treaty (Environment) no. XXVII.11.
Co-operative Enforcement Operations Directed at Illegal Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora on 8th September 1994, with UN Secretary General, New York the Depositary.
The Agreement came into force on 10th December 1996 with the ratification, or formal acceptance, by four signatories. Currently, there are Seven Parties to the Agreement: The Republics of Congo (Brazzaville), Kenya, Liberia, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and the Kingdom of Lesotho. Republics of South Africa, Ethiopia and the Kingdom of Swaziland are signatories.
The Agreement provides for setting up of a permanent Task Force that would implement its objectives. Consequently, the Lusaka Agreement Task Force (Task Force) was launched on 1st June 1999, with its headquarters located in Nairobi, Kenya.
The Lusaka Agreement establishes a three-tier institutional mechanism:
A Policy and decision making organ comprising a Minister or alternate from each Party State that oversees the Task Force operations.
A permanent law enforcement institution established to facilitate co-operative activities among the National Bureaus in carrying out investigations pertaining to illegal trade in wild fauna and flora. It comprises seconded law enforcement officers from Party States and locally recruited support staff.
An established or designated governmental entity to co-ordinate with the Task Force on investigation and co-operative activities pertaining to illegal trade in wild fauna and flora. The National Bureaus to the Agreement are the Bureau National de l’Accord de Lusaka (BNAL, Congo), Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Tanzania Wildlife Division (TWD), Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA). The Kingdom of Lesotho have yet to designate a National Bureau but in the meantime the National Environment Secretariat is handling matters pertaining to the Agreement.