Participating agencies giving speech during the opening ceremony
The Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF) together with the United Nations University (UNU), Japan convened a conference dubbed “Tokyo Conference on Combating Wildlife Crime” held from 3rd to 5th March 2014, at the UNU Headquarters in Tokyo-Japan as part of the UN World Wildlife Day celebrations. The event brought together experts and practitioners from UN agencies, research institutions, and African governments currently involved in the Wildlife Enforcement Monitoring System (WEMS) initiative to share and discuss the progress and challenges with regard to trans-boundary enforcement information sharing. Supporting NGOs such as IFAW were also represented.
Among the dignitaries who graced the occasion was the Minister for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities of the Republic of Uganda and Vice President of the Lusaka Agreement Governing Council (LAGC) Hon. Dr. Maria Mutagamba representing the President (LAGC), the Vice-Rector of UNU-Tokyo Prof. Govindan Parayil, the Secretary General of WCO Dr. Kunio Mikuriya and senior officials from the Government of Japan, UNEP, UNU- Tokyo, INTERPOL Lyon, and Remote Sensing Technology Centre of Japan (RESTEC). The Secretary General of CITES, Mr. John Scanlon and the Under-Secretary General of the United Nations and Rector of the UNU-Tokyo, Dr. David Malone delivered their speeches via video, where they expressed their total commitment in supporting the course of the wildlife law enforcement agencies in combating wildlife crime and related activities all over the world. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) was represented by Mr. Vivek Menon the Regional Director for South Asia and Advisor to the President of IFAW.
Her Excellency Hon. Maria Mutagamba participated in all the sessions of the conference during which she encouraged the law enforcement officers from the Lusaka Agreement member states and the participating agencies to continue with their spirited fight and zeal in combating wildlife crime in Africa. She reaffirmed her commitment and unwavering support in addressing the needs of the law enforcers.
The WEMS workshop which was a key component of the events brought together participants from LATF led by the Director and WEMS implementing Agencies’ in Africa namely Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), Tanzania Wildlife Division (TWD), Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA), Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) and Congo National Bureau (BNAL-Congo), as well as Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) which will be commencing WEMS implementation in due course. Other participating agencies included CITES, INTERPOL, WCO and RESTEC. The Workshop deliberated on the salient issues in the implementation of WEMS and pointed out areas for further development of the System.
The events offered a platform to further strengthen multilateral cooperation among various agencies working on enforcement information sharing at both national and international levels. The deliberations of the conference and workshop culminated in the recommendations on trans-boundary enforcement information sharing on wildlife crime with specific measures including information technology solutions aimed at curtailing wildlife crime. The review workshop appreciated Lusaka Agreement members’ states and LATF’s achievement in piloting the implementation of the system and encouraged them to continue with the initiative.
Hon. Dr. Maria Mutagamba (front raw- right) during the conference.
Group photo of the participants