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”
The First-Ever Practical Training on Controlled Delivery for Sleuths underway in Dar es Salaam
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: 1st May 2023: A one-week specialized training on controlled delivery is currently underway, with seventeen (17) participants in attendance. The individuals are drawn from various agencies such as Wildlife, Forestry, Customs, Police and Drug Enforcement/Anti-narcotics in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
The program, which is the first of its kind in Africa, is designed to provide practical training and is part of a series of capacity building events organized and facilitated by Lusaka Agreement Task Force, Grace Farms Foundation and University of Washington and funded by UNDP, USAID, Global Wildlife Program and Global Environment Facility (GEF).
The aim of these programs is to enhance skills and knowledge of law enforcement personnel, responsible for combating organized wildlife crime in the region, in undertaking wildlife crime investigations including financial investigations and executing asset forfeiture. The program also seeks to cultivate synergy, foster cooperation and build capacity among the participants. It involves practical and classroom training on Controlled Delivery, Undercover, Surveillance, Financial Investigation, Search and Arrest Warrants and DNA Analysis/Forensic Examinations as well as mentoring of law enforcement officers in the three countries to effectively follow up on seaport and airport wildlife seizures and promote international cooperation on wildlife crime investigations.
The Chief Guest, Mr. Awadhi Juma Haji, Commissioner of Police – Operations and Training, representing the Inspector General of Tanzania Police Force, reiterated that bolstering capacity and collaboration among law enforcement agencies through increased surveillance and information sharing is a crucial step towards effectively fighting the scourge of wildlife crime. He observed that success in combating wildlife crime requires cooperative enforcement efforts, and we must work together and pool our scarce financial, human, and information resources.
“The sophistication and scope of organized criminal syndicates far outweigh the individual capacities of agencies and point to the fact that illegal wildlife trade is increasingly becoming a challenge and seriously undermining our law enforcement efforts. The key to addressing this challenge lies in implementing effective and best practices in cooperative law enforcement, which are essential for proactive, well-planned, and purposeful enforcement interventions,” said Mr. Edward Phiri, Director of the Lusaka Agreement Task Force. He also acknowledged that the training provides an opportunity for participants to share their accomplishments, expertise, knowledge and experiences related to operations, intelligence and investigations.
Mr. Rod Khattabi pointed out that innovative training is a panacea for effective law enforcement. He reiterated that this training, which is a first in Africa involving real time scenario planning, role play and execution in the field, will equip the participants with requisite hands-on and practical skills in undertaking complex investigations.
The UNDP representative emphasized that law enforcement is essential in mitigating illicit wildlife trade. It is inevitable to do this through enhanced international and interagency cooperation, he added. He affirmed that UNDP’s port project will continue to support such capacity building activities nationally and internationally.
According to GEF, the value of illegal trade has been estimated at between USD 7 and USD 23 billion per year, making wildlife crime one of the most lucrative illegal businesses, often run by sophisticated, international, and well-organized criminal networks seeking to exploit the high rewards and low risks of the trade. Wildlife criminals target elephants, rhinos, pangolins, various bird species, timber, and other assorted plants for smuggling out of Africa to a number of destinations in Asia. Upskilling enforcement officers is therefore integral in stamping out this vice that is depriving countries enormous resources that would otherwise be useful in sustainable economic development.