Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF), in collaboration with Grace Farms Foundation, USAID, UNDP, US Department of Homeland Security-Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the University of Washington-Seattle USA, successfully concluded a five-day Regional Training Workshop on Reducing Maritime Trafficking of Wildlife between Africa and Asia held from 30th May – 3rd June 2022 at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Arusha, Tanzania.

The training brought together 25 participants drawn from various agencies in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda including Wildlife, Forestry, Prosecution and Revenue Authorities as well as representatives of the State Department of Wildlife of Kenya, Government Chemist Laboratory Authority of the United Republic of Tanzania and LATF.

Group photo of Training Participants and Instructors/Resource Persons

This was the second workshop in a series of capacity building programs comprising basic and advanced training geared towards combating wildlife and forest crime in the East African region and beyond, following the first one that drew the same participants held from 15th -19th March 2022 in Mombasa, Kenya. The second round of such training workshops will commence with the first phase to take place from 26th – 30th July 2022 in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.

The opening session was graced by the Chief Guest Mr. Robert Mande, Assistant Director of the Tanzania Wildlife Division and Chairperson of the National Task Force Anti-poaching (NTAP) who represented Dr. Francis Michael the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism and Dr. Maurus J. Msuha Director of Wildlife Division of the United Republic of Tanzania, Mr. Edward Phiri, Director of LATF and Mr. Rod Khattabi, the Chief Accountability Officer and Justice Initiative Director of the Grace Farms Foundation.

In his remarks, Mr. Mande reiterated the importance of bolstering capacity and collaboration amongst law enforcement agencies to effectively combat the wildlife crime scourge. “Upon completion of this training, participating agencies will be able to effectively contribute to curtailing wildlife crime, especially illegal trafficking in wildlife specimens in the region and especially elephants, rhinos and pangolins that are bearing the biggest brunt of the menace”, he added.

Mr. Edward Phiri, pointed out that the solution to effectively combating wildlife crime is anchored on best practices in cooperative law enforcement, which are critical to proactive, well-planned and more purposeful operations. He emphasized that the participants will among other things be enlightened and readily share their expertise, knowledge and experiences in the areas of criminal intelligence and investigations as well as the evolving modus operandi of wildlife and forest law offenders. He further stated that such capacity building initiatives will continue to be part of LATF’s strategic focus in the fulfilment of its core mandate.

Mr. Rod Khattabi lauded the collaborating partners for facilitating and ensuring that the program successfully comes to fruition. He averred that the program brings together participants drawn from the Governments of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda to effectively follow up on seaport and airport wildlife/timber seizures and promote international cooperation on financial environmental crime investigations. Mr. Khattabi appreciated the Regional Commissioner of Arusha region, Hon. John Mongella, for the cordial meeting held with the program facilitators/organizers at his office earlier on 30th May 2022. He affirmed the commitment of Grace Farms Foundation and the US law enforcement fraternity towards supporting such important training programs.

This initiative is part of the global coordination child project of the Global Wildlife Program (GEF Global Partnership on Wildlife Conservation and Crime Prevention for Sustainable Development; Coordinate Action and Learning to Combat Wildlife Crime Project, GEF ID 9071). The project will enhance the success of national projects in the Global Wildlife Program by supporting stronger attention and cooperation on counter wildlife trafficking. It is also aligned to and responds to international commitments developed by the United for Wildlife Transport Task Force in the Buckingham Palace Declaration. The project is aimed at strengthening wildlife law enforcement capacity and cooperation between ports in Africa and Asia and contribute to enhanced collaboration among concerned stakeholders to combat wildlife trafficking.

The training equipped participants with key investigation skills including advanced financial investigations, expertise in following illicit financial flows/money laundering and asset recovery skills and mentoring to effectively follow up on trans-boundary wildlife crime. The participants shared experiences during execution of their law enforcement work and gained useful insights, provided by the instructors, into best practices in enforcement. The training also promoted closer cooperation/collaboration and enhanced mutual trust among the law enforcement personnel in combating wildlife crime.


LATF expresses its profound gratitude to the United Republic of Tanzania, for hosting the workshop and also for gracing the opening ceremony. Further, LATF expresses its deep appreciation to the collaborating/organizing partners namely Grace Farms Foundation, US Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and University of Washington Seattle USA for the support including provision of instructors/resource persons. It is also indebted to the sponsors/funders namely Global Wildlife Program, Grace Farms Foundation, GEF, USAID and UNDP that contributed to the successful convening of this training.