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27 Mar, 2015

Botswana Conference Highlights Fight Against Illegal Trade In Wildlife

KASANE, BOTSWANA, March 26 (NNN-XINHUA) — Delegates attending a conference on illegal wildlife trade in Botswana have agreed to step up actions to fight the illegal trade of wildlife products, and to protect elephants, rhinos and other endangered species.

The Kasane Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade wrapped up Wednesday in the northern Botswana town of Kasane with the Kasane Statement reached by consensus by delegates from 32 countries and more than 20 inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations.

By reviewing the status of implementation of the London Declaration reached at the London Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade held in February 2014, the Kasane Statement specified further actions to be taken by all parties concerning issues on eradicating the market for illegal wildlife products, ensuring effective legal frameworks and deterrents, strengthening law enforcement, sustainable livelihood and economic development.

Addressing the media after the meeting, British Environment Minister Lord de Mauley said delegates were determined to address the financial crimes and money laundering which are associated with the illegal wildlife trade.

“We specifically move into the transport area, to engage transport agencies in combating the illegal wildlife trade,” said the minister, adding that it was important to mobilize local people in the fight against poaching.

Botswana’s Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama, said challenges facing the fight against illegal trade of wildlife products included a lack of political will and corruption. “We are going to have a uphill battle to prevent this, ” he said.

According to a report released by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in September 2014, population sizes of vertebrate species have declined by 52 per cent over the last 40 years. The report attributed the decline primarily to habitat loss and degradation, hunting and fishing, and climate change. —