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Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism (MEWT)
Wildlife Enforcement Network for Southern Africa (WENSA).
25/10/13
Wildlife Enforcement Network for Southern Africa (WENSA).

Press Release

The Government of Botswana’s Ministry of Environment, Wildlife, and Tourism and the U.S. Embassy of Botswana are pleased to announce that wildlife authorities participating in the Southern Africa Regional Wildlife Trafficking Workshop held in Gaborone, Botswana October 22-23 recommend the establishment of a network of national wildlife law enforcement agencies to be known henceforth as the Wildlife Enforcement Network for Southern Africa (WENSA).

Resolution of the Participants of The Southern Africa Regional Wildlife Trafficking Workshop

Whereas wildlife poaching and trafficking are multi-billion dollar illicit businesses that are decimating Africa’s iconic animal populations;

Whereas many species – most notably elephants and rhinoceroses – now face the risk of significant decline or even extinction, and large cats are increasingly threatened;

Whereas wildlife poaching and trafficking, like other forms of illicit trade, undermine security across nations and between neighboring countries.

Whereas wildlife poaching and trafficking threaten nature tourism and the safari industry, which are invaluable sources of revenue for marginalized rural communities and cornerstones of rural economic development strategies;

 And

Recognizing that the global trade in illicit wildlife products poses an international challenge amenable only to cooperative, international solutions;

Recognizing that each participant country in the Southern Africa Regional Wildlife Trafficking Workshop is a party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species on Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES);

Convinced of the need to strengthen enforcement and harmonization of CITES and other wildlife protection legislation, and that the available resources for enforcement are inadequate;

Recalling that the preamble of the Convention states that international cooperation is essential for the protection of certain species of wild fauna and flora against over-exploitation through international trade;

Appreciating that enhanced enforcement efforts at the national level and increased cooperation between Workshop participant countries will increase the effectiveness of implementation and enforcement of CITES and related wildlife protection legislation;

Acknowledging the importance and benefits of regional cooperation and coordination in developing, coordinating, implementing, and enforcing wildlife protection laws and regulations;

Stressing the importance of financial and technical support and assistance from the international community in assisting Workshop countries build resources, expertise, and capacity to address the illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products;

Aware of the importance of sharing information and technical expertise among Workshop countries with a view to increasing the capacity of Southern African countries as a whole,

We the Officials of the Southern Africa Wildlife Enforcement Authorities from Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe participating in the Workshop held in Gaborone, October 22 – 23, 2013 in principle recommend:

 1.     To operationalize existing international, continental, and regional wildlife protection commitments and initiatives, and implement relevant SADC protocols, by establishing a network of national wildlife law enforcement agencies to be known as the Wildlife Enforcement Network for Southern Africa (WENSA).

2.     To accept the offer made by the Government of Botswana to house the provisional Secretariat for the WENSA. 

3.     To establish a committee from WENSA country government representatives to formulate a proposal to establish a permanent Secretariat to support the work of the WENSA and required key actions to operationalise the WENSA including the development of Terms of Reference for this body. Where necessary partner NGOs and agencies may be called upon to engage with the WEN by agreement.

4.     For each member country to establish at the national level a WENSA committee consisting of officials from relevant organizations which shall be responsible for coordinating each member country’s activities in relation to wildlife enforcement.

5.     For each member country to nominate an individual in the national WENSA committee who will serve as the focal point for that country for the purposes of information exchange and wildlife enforcement coordination between and among other WENSA countries and other relevant international and regional law enforcement organizations such as ICPO-Interpol, the Lusaka Agreement Task Force, the World Customs Organization, the CITES secretariat, and other Wildlife Enforcement Networks.

6.     That the WENSA national focal points will facilitate information and intelligence exchange, between and among themselves and other relevant non-WENSA law enforcement agencies to the extent allowed by national laws, to support investigations, arrests and prosecutions of wildlife crimes in all WENSA countries.

7.     That the national WENSA committees will conduct a needs assessment with respect to their country’s wildlife law enforcement capacity; commit additional national resources to address gaps in capacity; and seek the support and cooperation of intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, and donor - partner governments to support national capacity building and technical research efforts.

 Get the US Ambassador's full speech here 

SegaetshoLJ@state.gov) or Angelinah Matenanga, Public Affairs Secretary, (395-3982 ext. 2415, fax: 390-6129, MatenangaAB@state.gov

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