Lusaka Agreement Task Force convenes a successful Bureau Meeting of the 13th Governing Council


  • Lusaka Agreement Task Force Convenes Pivotal Bureau Meeting in Nairobi
  • Alfred Mutua Calls for Urgent Collaboration to Combat Wildlife Crime
  • LATF Celebrates Significant Achievements in Curbing Illegal Wildlife Trade
  • Experts’ Meeting Sets the Stage for Strategic Decisions in Ministerial Session
  • Enhanced cooperation among Member States within the Lusaka Agreement is essential for Biodiversity Conservation
  • Plans Announced for Regional Command and Control Centre to Fight Wildlife Crime
  • UNEP Highlights Need for Strengthened Governance to Combat Wildlife Trafficking
  • Bureau Meeting Concludes with Renewed Commitment to Lusaka Agreement’s Objective
  • Edward Phiri lauded LATF’s impactful strides in wildlife protection, spotlighting major arrests, robust partnerships, and pivotal resource mobilization efforts

The Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF) convened a significant Bureau Meeting of the 13th Governing Council of Parties to the Lusaka Agreement on Cooperative Enforcement Operations Directed at Illegal Trade in wild fauna and flora. Held from 27th to 28th June 2024 at Emara Ole Sereni Hotel, in Nairobi, Kenya, the focus of the meeting was to address the pressing issue of illegal trade in wild fauna and flora. It successfully brought together over 40 key participants from member states to the Lusaka Agreement, including Congo Brazzaville, Kenya, Liberia, Tanzania, and Zambia. Additionally, Malawi participated as an observer, with partners such as UNEP and IFAW providing essential support and expertise.

Photo: CS Alfred Mutua, giving his keynote address during the Bureau Meeting

The event commenced on 27th June 2024, with a one-day Experts meeting to evaluate LATFs’ reports and program of work, and to address critical aspects of the Agreement’s implementation. The outcomes of this meeting were shaped by the decisions taken during the Ministerial Session held on 28th June, 2024. Key representatives from the Member States attended the Bureau Meeting, including Hon. Dr Alfred Mutua, Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife of Kenya and President of the 13th Governing Council; Hon. Dunstan Kitandula, Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism of the United Republic of Tanzania and Vice President of the Lusaka Agreement Governing Council; Mr Jean Christian Kegnolot, Representative of the High Commissioner of Congo to Kenya; Hon. Victor W. Kpaiseh, Deputy Managing Director of the Forest Development Authority of Liberia; Ms Silvia Museiya, Principal Secretary of the State Department for Wildlife, Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage of Kenya; His Excellency Alfred Musemuna, Charge d’Affaires and Acting Zambian High Commissioner to Kenya; and Her Excellency Calister Mutharika, Malawian High Commissioner to Kenya (Observer). Partners were represented by Prof. Patricia Kameri-Mbote, Director of UNEP Law Division, and Mr. Chris Kiarie, Representative of the Regional Director IFAW.

Addressing the conference delegates, Dr. Alfred Mutua, President of the 13th Governing Council, emphasized the critical need to support the historic treaty and the urgency for member states to collaborate in combating wildlife crime. “The Lusaka Agreement, an African initiative, has significantly enhanced regional cooperation in protecting biodiversity and pooling resources, knowledge, and expertise,” he said.

Dr. Mutua, in his address, underscored the pressing urgency of the issue of wildlife crime, which is escalating and posing a severe threat to endangered species and our communities. He emphasized the need for Member States to bolster national legislation, law enforcement, and partnerships while addressing root causes such as poverty and lack of awareness. He commended the Task Force and experts for their efforts and urged the meeting to devise practical solutions for the Agreement’s sustainability. He applauded the United Republic of Tanzania for seconding its Field Officer and appreciated the support from member states, partners and UNEP, urging them to continue meeting their obligations and expand membership to strengthen collective efforts.

Photo: Director LATF, Edward Phiri giving his remarks at the Event

Mr. Edward Phiri, Director of the Lusaka Agreement Task Force, proudly highlighted the significant achievements of LATF in curbing illegal trafficking, strengthening partnerships, resource mobilization, and membership expansion. He cited notable successes such as enhanced cooperative activities leading to significant arrests and confiscations of illicit wildlife products, robust collaborations with member states, and strategic MoUs with partners.

Mr. Phiri also highlighted the successful joint fundraising activities with partners that supported training and capacity development for enforcement agencies in Member States. He also mentioned the engagements with non-member states to encourage African states to accede to the Lusaka Agreement, with Malawi, DR Congo, Gabon, and South Sudan at the centre of these efforts.

Mr. Phiri also unveiled plans for the establishment of a regional command and control centre and a digital public infrastructure, which will include a data fusion centre at LATF. These initiatives are designed to bolster capacity in combating transnational wildlife and forest crime.

Ms Silvia Museiya, Principal Secretary of the State Department for Wildlife in Kenya, highlighted the significance of collectively addressing illegal wildlife trade. She emphasized the critical timing of the meeting amidst global efforts to combat wildlife crime and encouraged delegates to explore Kenya’s rich socio-cultural diversity.

Photo: Principal Secretary, Silvia Museiya giving her remarks at the Event

Prof. Patricia Kameri-Mbote, representing the Executive Director of UNEP, underscored the continued global prevalence of wildlife trafficking despite ongoing efforts. She stressed the need for strengthened governance frameworks and highlighted the detrimental economic impacts of illegal wildlife trade on African countries.

The Bureau Meeting concluded with a strong reaffirmation of the delegates’ commitment to the objectives of the Lusaka Agreement. They pledged to continue their dedicated efforts to curb illegal trade in wild fauna and flora through enhanced cooperation and strategic initiatives. The Task Force stands as a shield, protecting Africa’s natural heritage against illicit exploitation.

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