Regional Capacity and Cooperation Crucial to Combat Wildlife Trafficking

Regional Capacity and Cooperation Crucial to Combat Wildlife Trafficking
Friday, 22 May, 2015
Kampala, Uganda

Seventy one officers from Interpol, wildlife law enforcement and CITES management authorities in nine African countries, including East and Central Africa, and the Horn of Africa have today completed a five-day training workshop building their capacity to combat wildlife trafficking.

Hosted by Uganda Revenue Authority and IFAW, the workshop which began on Monday emphasised the importance of extensive cooperation at international level among these officers especially due to the cross-border nature of wildlife crime. Officers mainly learnt practical hands-on skills in the identification and correct handling of commonly trafficked wildlife species. The countries represented were Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, South Sudan and Sudan.  

 “IFAW recognizes that that the key to suppress the threat to transnational trade to wildlife is to help facilitate and support initiatives that seek to engage the entire enforcement chain from detection, interdiction, apprehension, to prosecution and incarceration hence our continued investment in capacity building for law enforcers” stated Kelvin Alie, IFAW Program Director, Wildlife Trade during the closing ceremony.

The training is part of a larger vision to strengthen law enforcement in response to the heightened scale of wildlife trafficking in particular the illegal ivory trade in Eastern and the Horn of Africa. This workshop has been supported by U.S. State Department through the INL and implemented by AWF and Interpol.

Interpol and AWF have conducted similar trainings in other countries to strengthen in-country and cross-border collaboration in combating the illegal wildlife trade. This has included magisterial trainings in Kenya, to be expanded to other countries that have become poaching and trafficking hotspots.

“Together with intergovernmental organizations and government partners, AWF, IFAW and Freeland Foundation are developing and implementing law enforcement and legal trainings, while also helping establish cooperation in key regions to improve and sustain trans-boundary enforcement,” said Kaddu Sebunya, African Wildlife Foundation Chief of Party for the USAID/Uganda Biodiversity Program. “This is part of a broader pan-African vision to enhance the ability of countries to combat wildlife crime at the regional level."

As one of the world’s most lucrative criminal activities, valued at US$19-billion annually, illegal wildlife trade ranks fifth globally in terms of value, behind the trafficking in drugs, people, oil and counterfeiting.

The IFAW report, Criminal Nature: The Global Security Implications of the Illegal Wildlife Trade, documents the threat the illegal trade poses to animals like elephants and rhinos, and also people.

Since 2007 IFAW has conducted over 76 similar training workshops targeting over 2,600 officers from 37 countries in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Oceania, and the Caribbean. Trainings are 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).

Ends

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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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
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Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Regional Director, Russia & CIS
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Faye Cuevas, Esq.
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Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
Jeffrey Flocken, Regional Director, North America
Regional Director, North America
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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