Lusaka Agreement on Co-operative Enforcement Operations
Directed at Illegal Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora “Fostering cooperation to support conservation of wild fauna and flora”
Parties to the Lusaka Agreement resolve to expand membership to the Treaty
Livingstone, Zambia; 14th March 2022: The Governing Council of Parties to the Lusaka Agreement on Cooperative Enforcement Operations Directed at Illegal Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora successfully concluded its 13th ordinary session on 11th March 2022. The Council made a call for more African states to enlist as members of the Agreement for purposes of strengthening it and fostering synergies for safeguarding the continent’s rich environmental resources against illicit exploitation. The event which was held from 9th – 11th March 2022 at the David Livingstone Safari Lodge and Spa in Livingstone, under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Zambia. The Governing Council meeting was preceded by a two-day Experts meeting held from 9th to 10th March, 2022 at the same venue that, among other salient matters, reviewed the progress in the implementation of the Lusaka Agreement and made recommendations for consideration by the Governing Council.
At least 75 delegates participated in the 13th Governing Council meeting representing member states from the Republics of Congo, Liberia, Uganda, Zambia and the United Republic of Tanzania. The Republic of Kenya and South Africa were absent with apologies. Appreciating the presence at this meeting of representatives from other African states namely Benin, Cote d’ Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo and their interest to accede/ratify the treaty, the Governing Council called on the Lusaka Agreement Task Force to continue pursuing the goal on expansion of membership to the Agreement by promoting awareness of non-party states at the sub-regional level through other fora such as the East African Community, SADC, CEAC (Central African States Economic Community) and ECOWAS. The Governing Council also encouraged the Republic of Malawi that had confirmed to begin the process of accession to the Lusaka Agreement, to do so with the support of the Task Force.
Other key outcomes of the meeting included a decision by the Council to develop a regional information command and control center as envisioned in the outcomes of the Pan African Conference on “Strengthening Information Sharing Infrastructure and Governance Framework to Address Human-Nature Conflicts” held in June 2019 in Arusha, Tanzania and the TICAD-7 Side Event held in August 2019, in Yokohama, Japan under the same theme convened by the Task Force in conjunction with partners. To this effect, the Governing Council issued a statement in support of the LATF plans to establish a regional information command and control center and directed the Director of the Task Force to work with RESTEC Japan and other stakeholders to convene a side event on the sidelines of TICAD 8 scheduled for August 2022 in Tunis, Tunisia to drive this agenda.
In attendance were Ministers from Member states of the Lusaka Agreement namely Hon. Rodney Sikumba (MP), Minister for Tourism of the Republic of Zambia and President of the 12th Governing Council of the Lusaka Agreement, Hon. Mary Francis Masanja, Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism of the United Republic of Tanzania and Rapporteur of Governing Council, Hon. Rosalie Matondo, Minister for Forest Economy of the Republic of Congo and Member of the Governing Council and Hon. Bahinduka Martin Mugarra, State Minister for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities of the Republic of Uganda and Member of the Governing Council and Zambia’s Southern Province Minister, Hon. Cornelius Mweetwa (MP).
Other dignitaries from observer African States included Hon. Dr. Michael Usi, Minister for Tourism, Wildlife and Culture of the Republic of Malawi, the Japanese High Commission to Zambia His Excellency Ryuta Mizuuchi, Mozambican High Commissioner to Zambia Her Excellency Monica Patricio Clemente, Tanzanian High Commissioner to Zambia His Excellency Hassan Simba Yahya, Zambian High Commissioner to Kenya Her Excellency Joyce Kampampa Kasosa, and The Head of Division of West African Economic and Monetary Union Mr. Cheikh Tidiane Kane.
Also in attendance were representatives of LATF partners namely Grace Farms Foundation (USA), KAZA-TFCA, University of Maryland (USA) and ESRI who pledged continued support to the LATF programs.
LATF expresses its profound gratitude to the Government of Zambia for the facilitation as well as member states, other African states and partners that actively participated at this unprecedentedly well-attended meeting in the history of the Lusaka Agreement.
Indeed, the Lusaka Agreement offers a unique opportunity for enhancing cooperation and bolstering capacity among all stakeholders in curtailing wildlife and forest crime in Africa.