Renewed Energy and Tactics to Tackle Wildlife Crime in East Africa
According to Drew McVey, the East African Wildlife Crime Technical Advisor, while WWF and its partner, TRAFFIC are helping tackle wildlife crime in East Africa by delivering projects on the ground and working on programmes with governments and partners, there doesn’t seem to be a systemic positive change.
“Despite years of initiatives to help combat poaching for the Illegal Wildlife Trade in East Africa, the issue is still low on government agendas (Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda). Wildlife authorities are underfunded, national parks are threatened, and NGOs are not being taken seriously,” he said, adding that governments are not demonstrating pride in their country’s protected areas or showing a willingness to take over this work and drive the agenda forward.
During the three days meeting that WWF _UCO’S Rita Kyategeka described as intense, came up with strategies and tactics which they believe will cause governments to recognise the value of protecting wildlife and create an enabling environment to fight wildlife crime.
A representative from WWF Nepal shared how the office had attained Zero poaching after years of strategizing and mobilizing communities against the vice. The Nepal journey of using technology, inter- governmental agreements, zero tolerance to corruption by security agencies, the team learnt were behind the zero poaching milestones.
Participants developed key principles and proposed an advocacy and communications strategy to guide the
campaign at national level for the three countries with clear asks on the issue.
The meeting ended with renewed energies and commitment by participants to ensure that by 2021, the governments of East Africa have not only recognised the benefits and importance of stopping wildlife crime but have put in place an enabling environment and national agencies are tasked with driving the work forward.