WINDHOEK, Jan. 27 – From Tuesday, 30 January until 1 February 2018, the British High Commission in South Africa will host a three-day workshop in Johannesburg for regional customs officials from Angola, Mozambique, Namibia Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe who deal directly with aspects of wildlife crime.
The workshop is a collaboration between the United Kingdom’s Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the Chinese State Forestry Agency and the South African Revenue Service (SARS).The participants from Namibia are Ellias Amunime, Chief Warden Etosha National Park, MET and Allison Kukuri, Risk Management Section, Customs & Excise, Ministry of Finance.
Tackling illegal wildlife trade (IWT) is an important part of conservation, law enforcement, and socioeconomic development for all affected countries and with illicit activity crossing borders, regional cooperation and knowledge sharing is an essential component of a coherent response to this issue. The discussions provide a platform for sharing best practice, innovation, and expertise, and aims to further develop the regional networks that are vital to addressing the trans-boundary issue of illegal wildlife trade.
Different components of the workshop will be led by experts from UK Border Force, who have experience with CITES and capacity building around the globe, and experts from Chinese State Forestry Agency, General Administration of Customs, and Northern Forestry University, who have experience in customs enforcement, species identification, and technical innovation in relation to IWT. Valuable perspective and best practice will be shared by the South African Revenue Service.
This workshop is a key step towards the 2018 London Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference which will also recognise IWT as a security issue, affecting people as well as animals. The 2018 Conference will strengthen partnerships across borders and beyond government, and focus on three themes: Tackling IWT as a serious organised crime; strengthening end to end law enforcement and addressing associated corruption; Building coalitions; engaging the private sector, NGOs and academia; harnessing technology and innovation; and Closing markets for illegally traded wildlife products. – NDN Staffer