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A training workshop to increase the expertise of law enforcement officers from customs, federal police, airport police and, Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA) as CITES management authorities based at Bole International Airport, to combat wildlife crime began today in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The training workshop hosted by the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA) in partnership with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) aims to empower the officers from Ethiopia, with the necessary skills to detect, interdict and stop illegal wildlife crime within the Bole International airport’s entry and exit points.
“I strongly believe that this training is important not only as it will assist in improving the ability of CITES officers to effectively perform their role in tackling wildlife crime, but it will also play an important role in strengthening inter-agency collaboration between national law enforcement agencies,” stated Mr Dawud Mume Ali Director General, Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA).
In November 2014, IFAW partnered with Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA) to conduct a similar training in Addis Ababa. The training saw 37 law enforcement officers from Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Jordan learning practical hands-on skills in the identification and correct handling of species commonly trafficked in the regions which are source, transit and consumer countries of wildlife. Training focused on the wildlife trade status of species, wildlife crime and enforcement, international trade conventions and organisations and inter-agency cooperation to improve international and regional communications.
“IFAW’s partnership with organizations such as EWCA, INTERPOL, and LATF 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,” stated James Isiche, Regional Director IFAW East Africa.
The training is part of a two-year program, funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and led by IUCN NL National Committee of The Netherlands), which is proposed to prevent and combat wildlife crime in the Horn of Africa countries of South Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Sudan. The Horn of Africa is emerging as a major region of wildlife crime, both as a source and transit route for illicit wildlife products mainly ivory, rhino horn, skins of wild animals and, live animals.
“Effective law enforcement at country borders is one of the most effective ways to end illicit trade in wildlife products,” says Henk Simons, Senior Expert Nature Conservation at IUCN NL. “By empowering law enforcement officers at Bole International Airport to detect, interdict and stop illegal wildlife crime, wildlife trafficking on key international transit routes will become much more difficult”
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. Ethiopia has become a major transit hub for illegal ivory in recent years and the country’s stockpile of confiscated ivory is estimated to be 6.3 tons.
Since 2007, IFAW has held more than 85 training workshops on the prevention of wildlife trafficking where more than 3,000 officers from 38 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), Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA) and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
About EWCA (Ethiopia Wildlife Conservation Authority)
The Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA) is established pursuant to proclamation No. 575/2008. It is a government organization under the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, given the authority to undertake conservation and sustainable utilization of wildlife in Ethiopia. EWCA works closely with national and international stakeholders on wildlife conservation. For more information, visit our website www.ewca.gov.et
About IUCN NL (National Committee of The Netherlands)
IUCN NL is the Dutch national committee of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the world’s largest and most diverse environmental network. Within the international IUCN umbrella organization, IUCN NL works with NGOs, companies, governments and scientists to strengthen human wellbeing through worldwide nature conservation. IUCN NL’s activities focus on four themes: nature conservation; climate, water & food; environmental justice and green economy. IUCN currently has 36 Netherlands-based member organizations.