New African Training Program Improves Regional Capacity and Cooperation to Combat Wildlife Trafficking

New African Training Program Improves Regional Capacity and Cooperation to Comba
Monday, 18 May, 2015
Kampala, Uganda

A training workshop to increase the expertise of law enforcement officers to tackle wildlife trafficking began today in Kampala, Uganda.

Hosted by the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) in partnership with International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) the workshop aims to empower officers from Customs Departments, wildlife law enforcement and wildlife management authorities with the necessary skills to deter wildlife trafficking. Participants are drawn from Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, South Sudan and Sudan. 

The training is part of a larger strategic framework to strengthen the law enforcement response to combat wildlife crime at the regional level by improving cooperation among African countries’ law enforcement authorities. The work is being carried out under a continent-wide program called ARREST (Africa’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking) and implemented through a partnership between IFAW, African Wildlife Foundation, and Freeland Foundation with support from the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

This and other training opportunities under the ARREST program will ensure law enforcement officials from the Horn of Africa, Central, and East Africa are better equipped to combat wildlife trafficking and reporting of wildlife crimes. They will take the form of practical, interactive sessions, field visits, hands-on skills used in the identification and correct handling of species commonly trafficked in the regions. Training will focus on the trade status of key species, dynamics of wildlife crime and enforcement, relevant international trade conventions and organizations, and inter-agency cooperation to improve international and regional communications.

Wildlife trafficking represents a serious threat to the survival and conservation of many wildlife species globally. Elephant ivory, rhino horn, reptile skins and leopard skins are amongst the most illegally traded wildlife products in the region.

“We at IFAW have long recognized the intricacies of wildlife trafficking and have in response strived to nurture and support transnational and multiagency networks as a means of countermanding this iniquity,” said Azzedine Downes, IFAW' President and CEO.

“IFAW’s partnership with organizations such as the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) recognises that success in addressing wildlife trafficking can only be attained by forming linkages or networks that allow for structured and sustained coordination and collaboration among law enforcement agencies not only across departments but across national borders and continents.”

ARREST partner AWF has conducted similar trainings in other countries to strengthen in-country and cross-border collaboration in combating the illegal wildlife trade.

“Combating the illegal wildlife trade effectively requires an all-of-government approach,” said Patrick Bergin, African Wildlife Foundation CEO. “This war will not be won by investing only in rangers. We need magistrates, police, border agents, revenue agents and wildlife authorities all on side and working together efficiently and effectively.”

Wildlife trafficking is one of the world’s most lucrative criminal activities – valued at billions of US dollars annually. It ranks in the top most lucrative transnational organized crimes, behind drug trafficking, money laundering and counterfeiting. According to an IFAW report Criminal Nature: The Global Security Implications of the Illegal Wildlife Trade, ivory smuggling and the wildlife trade has been linked to other forms of organized crime including terrorism, illegal arms and drug trafficking.

Since 2007, IFAW has held more than 76 training workshops on the prevention of wildlife trafficking where  more than 2,600 officers from 37 countries in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Oceania, and the Caribbean have been trained.. Trainings have been held in collaboration with national institutions in the respective countries and other organizations including Interpol, Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF) and Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA).
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About African Wildlife Foundation
Founded in 1961, the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) is a leading conservation organization focused solely on the African continent. AWF’s programs and conservation strategies are based on sound science and designed to protect both the wild lands and wildlife of Africa and ensure a more sustainable future for Africa’s people. Since its inception, AWF has protected endangered species and land, promoted conservation enterprises that benefit local African communities, and trained hundreds of African nationals in conservation—all to ensure the survival of Africa’s unparalleled wildlife heritage. AWF is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Kenya and registered as a 501(c) (3) in the United States. For more information, visit www.awf.org and follow us on Twitter @AWF_Official and Facebook at facebook.com/AfricanWildlifeFoundation

About URA (Uganda Revenue Authority)
The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) was established by the Uganda Revenue Authority Statute of 1991 and set up in September of the same year as a central body for assessment and collection of specified revenue, to administer and enforce laws relating to such revenue and to provide for related matters. For more information, visit our website https://www.ura.go.ug/

About IFAW (The International Fund for Animal Welfare)
Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues and protects animals around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. High Resolution photos are available at www.ifawimages.com

About ARREST Program
Africa’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking (ARREST) is an alliance of NGOs working with governments and the private sector to build Africa’s capacity to combat transnational threats to its wildlife.  ARREST partners include African Wildlife Foundation, Freeland, and IFAW, with new partners joining.  ARREST provides counter-poaching, counter-trafficking, and networking support to government agencies, with financial and technical support from the US Government, including the State Department Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement.

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Jacqueline Nyagah (Communications Manager (IFAW East Africa)
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Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
President and Chief Executive Officer
Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
Dr. Elsayed Ahmed Mohamed, Regional Director, Middle East and North Africa
Regional Director, Middle East and North Africa
Dr. Joseph Okori
Regional Director, Southern Africa and Program Director, Landscape Conservation
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Faye Cuevas, Esq.
Senior Vice President
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
Jeffrey Flocken, Regional Director, North America
Regional Director, North America
Executive Vice President
Executive Vice President
Peter LaFontaine, Campaigns Manager, IFAW Washington, D.C.
Campaigns Manager, IFAW Washington, D.C.
Rikkert Reijnen, Program Director, Wildlife Crime
Program Director, Wildlife Crime
Country Representative, Germany
Country Representative, Germany
Tania McCrea-Steele, Project Lead, Global Wildlife Cybercrime
Project Lead, Global Wildlife Cybercrime
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy