Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA) Secretariat, in partnership with the Peace Parks Foundation (PPF) and the Southern African Wildlife College (SAWC), has scaled up efforts to curb the illegal trafficking of wildlife products in the region by improving the effectiveness of customs and law enforcement agencies of the five Partner States.
As part of a three-year capacity building programme funded by the US Department of State’s Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) to the tune of US$1.3 million, KAZA TFCA and its partners convened a customs training workshop in Kasane from August 02 to August 06, which attracted 30 participants drawn from different law enforcement agencies in Botswana.
The Chobe Regional Wildlife Officer of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Mr. Matshelo Makondo urged the participants, who comprised representatives of law enforcement agencies from different sectors, to make use of the acquired knowledge to curb the illegal trafficking of wildlife products national ports of entry in the KAZA region.
KAZA Secretariat Executive Director Dr. Nyambe Nyambe expressed concern over the devastating impacts of poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking in the KAZA region and highlighted the urgency to increase efforts to address these challenges.
“The training programme is piloting cross-border natural resources trafficking enforcement procedures which, if successful, could be replicated in other Southern African TFCAs. In addition, the project aims to address the equipment needs of nearly 30 gazetted ports of entry and exit. To support the initial pilot phase, we got a grant of almost US$1.4 million for a period three years to cover aspects of the project across the five Partner States,” Dr. Nyambe said.
The World Bank estimates that illicit wildlife trafficking and the impacts of these crimes on ecosystems cost the global economy around USD2 trillion a year. The world’s largest terrestrial TFCA, KAZA remains a unique ecosystem of global significance that is worth protecting for the benefit of current and future generations.