Future of Africa’s Wildlife conservation is a collective responsibilityNov 8, 2014
Arusha, Tanzania – 8 November 2014: The future of wildlife in Africa should be considered as a collective responsibility for all the stakeholders in the region and they must join forces in combating wildlife crimes. This was said at the two day Regional summit to stop wildlife crime and advance wildlife conservation. The event drew participants from the region and elsewhere. Graced by Tanzania Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, Hon. Lazaro Nyalandu, he called for countries to work together for sustainable development through inclusive approaches and community awareness on the importance of wildlife management. The meeting focused on law enforcement, transnational dimensions of wildlife crime, and conservation. The meeting included African countries, members of the US congress, UN agencies, donor countries, and representatives of civil society and academia, among others.
Participants reaffirmed their commitment to continue managing and conserving the wildlife in the region including Tanzania. Speaking at the summit representing the President of the United Republic of Tanzania, The Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, Hon Lazaro Nyalandu said that the value of enhancing and strengthening collaboration between various stakeholders should not be under estimated in order to curb poaching. He also stated that the future of Africa wildlife is in everybody’s responsibilities spanning from the individuals to the regional bodies. “The problem of poaching requires an African Solution - we must work together to improve the situation in regional perspective that is working together as a region. We have launched a National Strategy to fight and combat poaching. We have established the Tanzania Wildlife Authority to enhance efficiency and effectiveness in dealing with wildlife issues and challenges. I call upon you all to deliberate on action plans to fight and combat wildlife crime and see it come to an end.”
Participants cited the value of protecting natural resources as they are the backbone of socio-economic development in any country. Emphasizing on the importance of natural resources management and wildlife, the UNDP Resident Representative and UN Resident Coordinator in Tanzania, Mr. Alvaro Rodriguez, stated that wildlife crime poses challenges for the environment, livelihoods based on tourism, and sustainable development. He added that the anti poaching issues should be tackled at national and regional levels.
“The United Nations stands ready to continue and increase its support to national, regional and international responses to addressing wildlife crimes. In our responses, we must continue to utilize key international instruments we already have to tackle this issue.” he added “But much more needs to be done. We need more cooperation between source, transit and consumer countries. We need more support to social and economic development activities including livelihoods diversification, community based natural resource management and decentralised resource management to bring value, aesthetic and financial, of wild flora and fauna to communities and provide a disincentive for illegal trade. We need more focus on governance and the rule of law and we need more national and regional cooperation.”
Speaking on behalf of the ICCF, co-organizer of the event, Vice Chairman, Dr Kaush Arha, stated that “the meeting was transformative in calling for the setting of national recovery targets for critical species such as elephants, rhinos and lions. Furthermore, the meeting agreed on specific action on trans-boarder initiatives which are likely to lead to bilateral agreements between Tanzania and neighboring countries.”
The Head of European Union delegation to Tanzania and EAC, Ambassador Mr. Filiberto Ceriani Sebregondi commended the Tanzania Government on the steps taken to combat wildlife crime. “The EU has been for long time a strong partner in wildlife conservation and against wildlife crime. It firmly believes in regional action and cross boarder coordinated response. I congratulate Tanzania and her neighbouring countries for the bold commitment taken today to end wildlife crime in sub-region. The EU stands ready to scale up its support to such call for action. Supply, transit and destination countries of ivory and illegal wildlife items should join forces. ”
The meeting reached consensus and endorsed Arusha Declaration on stopping wildlife crime and advancing wildlife conservation.
Hoyce Temu-UN Tanzania Communications Specialist firstname.lastname@example.org