The Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF) has been instrumental in ensuring that the newly established Congo Agency for Fauna and Protected Areas (CAFPA) enters into Partnership with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). The Republic of Congo is part of the Congo basin forest with about 70% cover of the entire country and very rich in biodiversity. Therefore the newly created Agency has a huge responsibility to conserve this biodiversity using the best practices to contribute to the sustenance of the environment and the economic development of Congo. Consequently, CAFPA has decided to enter into partnership with KWS to tap on the experiences and expertise of KWS to establish her agency that will effectively manage and conserve its wild fauna and flora in Congo-Brazzaville. The partnership seeks to operationalize and build capacity of CAFPA into a fully-fledged wildlife conservation organization that will contribute to the economic development of the Republic of Congo.
KWS Director Mr. William Kiprono (left) presenting a gift to His Excellency Jean Pierre OSSEY the Ambassador of the Republic of Congo
LATF plays a catalytic role of fostering cooperation among states in fighting illegal trade in wild fauna and flora. In this respect, it has been at the fore front in organizing meetings with KWS to ensure that this partnership is formalized as soon as possible. To this effect, over the past few months LATF has acted as a link between CAFPA, the Embassy of Congo in Kenya and KWS in facilitating meetings with KWS and the Counselor responsible for Environment at the Congo Embassy in Kenya to lay ground work for this partnership. The consultations have culminated in a meeting by the Ambassador of the Republic of Congo to Kenya and Permanent Representative to UNEP and UN Habitat, His Excellency Jean Pierre OSSEY and the KWS Director Mr. William Kiprono held on 9th May 2013 at the KWS Headquarters in Nairobi. The Ambassador was accompanied by Mr. Alain Nonouk GOMAT, a counselor at the embassy responsible for Environment, Wildlife and Forestry, and Mr. Bonaventure Ebayi, the Director of LATF. The Ambassador stated that Kenya was recognized by the Republic of Congo as a role model in wildlife conservation in Africa. Cognizant of this fact, he intimated that the newly established Agency (CAPFA) wishes to enter into partnership with KWS to support development of among other things its wildlife management, ecotourism development, commercialization (ensuring that the agency plays a key role in economic development) security and promotion of Congo as a tourism destination.
Mr. Gomat pointed out that the new wildlife agency in Congo was created in October 2012 by an Act of Parliament through support by the European Union and is in the process of developing functional structures to Conserve wildlife and ensure that wildlife contributes to the economic development of Congo. He said that KWS will add more value to the huge responsibility that Congo has to conserve wildlife and play a key role in ensuring that the structure is operationalized and managed by competent personnel. He reiterated that Kenya plays n integral role in Wildlife Conservation in Africa and hence the Government of Congo’s choice to be the first partner in operationalizing the wildlife agency. Other areas of expertise which are being sought from KWS include developing effective partnerships with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), private sector, civil society and local communities.
The KWS Director Mr. William Kiprono welcomed the initiative and agreed to take the matter to the attention of the Board of Trustees for formal initiation and approval of the process to conclude the partnership arrangement and a possibility of signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two agencies. He said that KWS through its Legal Office will initiate the drafting of the MoU and share it with the partner.
The Embassy of Congo and the Lusaka Agreement Task Force will continue coordinating/facilitating the process including making arrangements for a courtesy call between the two Ministers/Cabinet Secretaries responsible for wildlife in Congo and Kenya to facilitate conclusion of this cooperative arrangement at the Government level as soon as the new Cabinet Secretary of Kenya is in office. It is envisaged that, subject to approvals, the MoU will be ready for signing by the two countries before end of June 2013
CAFPA, LATF and KWS representatives during the meeting
Kenya and Congo-Brazzaville are both active members of the Lusaka Agreement on Cooperative Enforcement Operations Directed at Illegal Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora bound to support each other in developing their wildlife conservation sectors for sustainable economic development and the environment safety.