UNODC organizes an inter-parliamentary workshop on wildlife and natural resources trafficking in Central Africa

   
 
    This activity was financed by the European Union

Transnational illicit trafficking of wildlife and other natural resources is one of the most worrying threats to security, peace and sustainable development in Central Africa. In addition to the environmental damages it implicitly creates, this phenomenon undermines and endangers the stability of the States of the subregion. On the one hand it facilitates corruption and reduces the national capacities to defend national interests and, on the other, it represents one of the most profitable sources of funding for criminal organizations, rebel groups and / or terrorists groups who take advantage of flaws in legislation and weak law enforcement capacities.

In this context, UNODC, with support from the Gabon Parliamentary Caucus for Conservation and the International Conservation Caucus Foundation (ICCF), organized a sub-regional interparliamentary workshop at the National Assembly of Gabon, from 24 to 25 June 2019, on "the implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the fight against illicit trafficking in protected species". This was the first event of this magnitude organized by UNODC's regional project on wildlife and forest crime in Central Africa and funded by the European Union.

The workshop, opened by the Vice-President of the National Assembly, M. Raphael Ngazouzet and the Gabonese Minister for Forestry, M. Lee White, brought together 138 parliamentarians (85 men and  53 women) from Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo and Gabon. Experts from the General Secretariat of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the Network of Parliaments for the Management of Forest Ecosystems in Central Africa (REPAR), the Eagle Network and World Wildlife Fund also participated.

participants of the Forum
Participants during the workshop, Libreville, Gabon

The main objectives of this event were to examine the application of the CITES in the sub-region and to have a broader picture of the legislative provisions and institutional measures existing in each of the Member States in relation to illicit trafficking, anti-corruption laws, as well as investigative and prosecutorial techniques. Strengthening interparliamentary  cooperation on wildlife crime and illicit trafficking of natural resources was also discussed.

The results of the group and plenary sessions led to the development of a 2019-2020 roadmap with a view to achieve full implementation of the CITES within ECCAS countries and to a harmonized sub-regional framework to effectively combat transnational wildlife and forest crimes.

  

 

At the end of this work, and on the sidelines of the Libreville International Wood Fair, each national delegation of parliamentarians was able to share the experiences with the General Directorate for Wildlife and Protected Areas of the Ministry of Forests, and the National Agency for National Parks (ANPN) of Gabon.

This activity is part of a UNODC's wider support to Central Africa in the area of eco-security.  This includes strengthening of institutional frameworks that better integrate this concept and strengthening capacities of those involved in the fight against trafficking in protected species and natural resources in line with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15 to end poaching and trafficking of protected species of flora and fauna (15.7).