Nairobi, August 7, 2023 – A significant step towards combating transnational wildlife trafficking was taken today as the Director of Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF) and the Executive Director of the Wildlife Investigators Training Alliance (WITA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The event marked the beginning of a collaborative effort to strengthen the fight against wildlife crimes through enhanced training and resource sharing.

The Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF) has long been a pivotal force in the African region in the fight against wildlife trafficking and related offenses. Established to address the growing threats posed by wildlife criminals, LATF has championed collaborative efforts to protect Africa’s unique biodiversity and eliminate illicit trade in endangered species.

In a significant move towards achieving their shared goals, LATF has entered into this strategic partnership withWITA, a non-governmental conservation organization headquartered in the United States. With a focus and an impeccable record on comprehensive value chain investigation training, ranger preparedness, case consultations and equipment donations, WITA has demonstrably proven and distinguished itself as a potent force in tackling transnational wildlife trafficking.

The MOU signed between LATF and WITA promises a dynamic collaboration that will have a profound impact on wildlife conservation efforts. The core objectives of this agreement include providing rigorous training programs in value chain investigations and evidence collection techniques related to wildlife crimes. Additionally, the partnership will facilitate the distribution of digital forensic equipment and software to Lusaka Agreement member states and other countries committed to combatting wildlife trafficking.

One of the salient attributes of this partnership is in its commitment to fostering synergy between the two organizations. The exchange of knowledge/expertise, resources and strategies will significantly strengthen the capacities of member states in their collective endeavor to combat wildlife trafficking. By joining forces, the two organizations aim to create a formidable barrier against illegal wildlife trade and its devastating impact on biodiversity.

The collaborative efforts under the MOU will span across multiple fronts:

  • Capacity Building: The partnership will organize capacity-building programs at both regional and national levels. These initiatives will particularly benefit Lusaka Agreement member states and other African countries by equipping law enforcement agencies and conservation bodies with the skills needed to effectively combat wildlife trafficking.
  • Cooperative Enforcement Activities: LATF and WITA will lend support to cooperative wildlife enforcement activities at the LATF secretariat and national bureaus. This will bolster the implementation of coordinated efforts to curb wildlife crimes and manage wildlife resources responsibly.

The MOU entered into force today, solidifying the partnership’s commitment to working together as long as the need for collaboration remains pertinent. As the fight against wildlife trafficking requires a unified global effort, this partnership between LATF and WITA exemplifies the power of cross-border cooperation in safeguarding the world’s most vulnerable species.

The MoU between LATF and WITA sets the momentum  for knowledge transfers and upskilling on modern investigative techniques and catalysing international cooperation in the fight against wildlife trafficking as we ensure a sustainable future for our planet’s biodiversity.