The current surge in poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking by well-organized criminal syndicates continues to threaten Africa’s wild fauna and flora species with extinction and having devastating economic, social and environmental impacts. The crime is increasingly becoming more sophisticated and high-level criminals continue to benefit from weak capacity and ill-equipped law enforcement, lack of technology/equipment, corruption and inadequate knowledge and skills among others.
As part of its enforcement and partnership activities, Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF) collaborates and maintains good working relationship with national and international partners in supporting the efforts by countries in Africa, especially the Lusaka Agreement member states in combating wildlife and forest crime. Early this month (May 2016), the Director of Lusaka Agreement Task Force Mr. Bonaventure EBAYI and the Director of Corpo Forestale Dello Stato (CFS) of Italy Dr. Raffaele MANICONE met at LATF HQs in Nairobi to discuss how to deepen collaboration to assist countries to combat poaching, illegal logging and trafficking in wild animal and plant species.
During the meeting, the two Directors accompanied by senior wildlife and forest conservation officers highlighted the importance of strengthening law enforcement and capacity to enhance effectiveness in safeguarding the resources against the vices. The two institutions agreed, among others, to formalize and continue enhancing their long time collaboration through concluding a cooperation agreement, develop and implement short, medium and long term joint programmes towards supporting efforts of the countries in fighting wildlife and forest crime. Subsequently, in 2016 , LATF and CFS will embark on a joint capacity building pilot project focusing on advanced training courses of wildlife and forest law enforcement officers and provision of specialized equipment for the United Republic of Tanzania to be later extended to all Lusaka Agreement member states and other affected countries in the region and beyond.
The Government of Italy has, through CFS, pledged her support to the initiative, which is fully welcomed by governments in the entire Lusaka Agreement fraternity and Africa at large.
LATF remains confident that, with increased cooperation and focused interventions by agencies and countries, the continent will overcome the myriad of challenges we are facing today in the effective conservation of wildlife and forest resources. Working together is key to our success.