Central African Countries Sign Action Plan to Combat Illegal Wildlife Trade

15 November 2011: Eight Central African countries have agreed on an Action Plan to strengthen enforcement of national wildlife laws and cooperate more effectively to address large-scale poaching and illegal wildlife trade in the region. The meeting was hosted by Raymond Mbitikon, Executive Secretary, Commission of Central African Forests (COMIFAC), and supported by TRAFFIC and WWF.

The eight countries - Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Equatorial Guinea and Gabon - and partner organizations, including the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), Last Great Ape Organization (LAGA), Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE), Congo Basin Forest Partnership (PFBC) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), discussed the adoption of a COMIFAC Regional Action Plan for Strengthening National Wildlife Law Implementation for 2012-2017.

The Action Plan consists of four elements: cooperation and collaboration among relevant wildlife law enforcement and prosecution authorities; investigations at key border and transit points, domestic markets and transboundary areas; effective deterrents and prosecutions; and awareness of illegal wildlife trade issues. The Action Plan will form the basis of  a wildlife enforcement network in Central Africa, like those already in place in Central America, Europe, South and Southeast Asia.

Participants also agreed to a roadmap for the implementation of the Action Plan, which includes the submission of the Action Plan for formal endorsement at the next meeting of the Council of Ministers of COMIFAC countries. [TRAFFIC News]