With funding from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, IFAW has started a very exciting two-year program aiming to protect Africa’s wildlife. A great deal of my attention in 2016 and 2017 will be focused on this project that aims to prevent and combat wildlife crime in the Horn of Africa.
Apart from Kenya and Uganda, the international community has largely neglected the Horn of Africa in the fight against criminal cartels that are trapping, killing and trafficking Africa’s wildlife to the brink of extinction. This may have to do with the political instability of the region, which includes Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan.
Surely this will not be an easy task, but it has to be done because there is increasing evidence that live animals like cheetahs, and animal products like ivory, rhino horn, skins, shark fins and corals are being trafficked through these countries to the Arabian Peninsula and the Far East.
IFAW is not taking on this challenge alone. Partnerships are the key to success in this vast and difficult region. The fight against wildlife traffickers requires local partnerships, endogenous organizations that understand the dynamics on the ground better than anyone else.
We also need to partner with governments who have the mandate to act against wildlife criminals and put them behind bars. And we have to partner with international NGO’s like IFAW that bring their specific expertise and skills to the table. You need a network to defeat a network and that’s what we’re aiming for with this project.
Within this partnership, IFAW will be responsible for strengthening law enforcement and compliance, both at local, national and regional levels in a number of countries in the Horn of Africa.
The Dutch Government recognizes the urgency of preventing and combatting wildlife crime and signed in London, in February 2014 an international declaration to fight against wildlife crime by enhancing law enforcement.
This declaration also emphasized the importance of providing a good economic base to people who are living in habitats of both humans and wild animals, and the need to engage local communities in preventing and combating wildlife crime.
The Dutch Government stresses the key links of wildlife crime with other policy domains, including good governance, safety and security, political stability, and trade, and is pursuing for stronger policy coherence.
This is something IFAW can totally commit to.
Article source: IFAW