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Monday, 11 February 2019 12:08

KAZA TFCA in partnership with TRAFFIC Workshop

KAZA TFCA in partnership with TRAFFIC hosts a Regional Judiciary and Prosecutor workshop, 12 to 14 February 2019 in Windhoek, Namibia.

The Kavango-Zambezi (KAZA) Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA) and TRAFFIC, under the Combatting Wildlife Crime in the Namibia and the Kavango-Zambezi Area Project (CWCP) funded by USAID, will hold a two and a half day Regional Judiciary and Prosecutor workshop for high level members of the judiciary and prosecutors from the five (5) KAZA Partner States on February 12 to 14 in Windhoek Namibia. The workshop will draw from the judiciary and prosecutors from the KAZA TFCA Partner States – Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Regional and international experts will share experiences on the illegal wildlife trade and trafficking with an emphasis on transnational wildlife crime.

The tourism sector has been identified as a key economic development pillar for the Partner States at a local, national, and regional level. The tourism sector in the KAZA TFCA is largely dependent on the wildlife attraction, mainly the large elephant population which is found across the KAZA landscape. However, there has been an ever-increasing threat to the elephants, rhino and other wildlife species in the KAZA TFCA from ongoing poaching and illegal wildlife trade. More than often, these illegal activities are transnational in nature. Therefore, a multi-country collaborative approach involving different agencies along the law enforcement chain is necessary to counter these threats. This approach is necessary to secure the future integrity of the KAZA TFCA as a home range for the wildlife species that serve to make KAZA a globally attractive tourism destination.  Failure to address these wildlife crimes will undermine KAZA’s vision and objectives of benefiting people, particularly local communities, through the sustainable conservation of the wildlife resources.

The purpose of the workshop therefore is to improve investigations, prosecutions and case management against illegal wildlife trade. The workshop also aims to increase the awareness around the seriousness of transnational wildlife crime and unlock higher level support within the prosecutorial and judicial sectors of each country. The steps required to improve international cooperation in criminal matters, such as using mutual legal assistance and extradition as tools to overcome the barriers of sovereignty, the differences in their legal systems and assist each other in law enforcement matters will also be covered in the workshop. The workshop will also explore: illegal wildlife trade as it relates to national security and organized crime; and the dismantling of criminal syndicates whilst exploring modalities for using extradition and mutual legal assistance.

This workshop is in pursuance of harmonisation of practices across the KAZA Partner states. We therefore intent to improve collaboration and aligning of practices and procedure, among and within the Partner States, in address issues of wildlife contraventions. The workshop therefore intend to achieve the following: Improved international collaboration between Ministries of Justice on transnational wildlife crime cases; identification of the steps required to initiate and/or utilise mutual legal assistance and extradition tools to support prosecution and law enforcement activities; improved understanding around the seriousness of poaching and transnational wildlife crime; increased commitment to build in-country prosecutorial capacity when dealing with wildlife crime cases; and Improved in-country support for prosecutions and case management against illegal wildlife trade criminals.

Participants will include members of the judiciary, senior prosecutors, and/or advocates from each Partner State’s Ministry of Justice and apply an intra-departmental ‘top down’ approach, advocating the importance of tackling wildlife crime cases, including different spheres of Government.

The workshop is a collaborative effort between the KAZA TFCA Secretariat, the Wildlife trade Monitoring network (TRAFFIC) and World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) in Namibia who have provided resources for hosting the workshop.