The Rwanda Development Board (RDB), in collaboration with the Rwanda Wildlife and Conservation Association, has held a meeting to establish an inter-agency committee for combating wildlife crimes today.
The meeting, which brought together 13 institutions and agencies from across Africa that deal with poaching and illegal wildlife trade, aimed to identify ways to enhance awareness around wildlife trade laws and share lessons learnt in the efforts to combat trafficking.
The institutions are Rwanda National Police, Rwanda Revenue Authority, Ministry of Environment, Rwanda Directorate of Immigration and Emigration, the US Embassy in Rwanda, The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, Rwanda Environmental Management Authority, Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Ministry of Justice, Rwanda Investigation Bureau, Virunga Massive Institute, International Gorilla Conservation Program and National Public Prosecution Authority.
Opening the meeting, the Chief Tourism Officer Rwanda Development Board, Belise Kariza, noted that collaboration was essential in the fight against wildlife trafficking.
“It is key to note that illegal wildlife trafficking is among the most lucrative international crimes worldwide, involving organized and dangerous international crime syndicates. The challenge that poaching and other illegal wildlife trade activities pose to the entire region therefore calls for heightened efforts in conservation.
The Government of Rwanda is at the forefront of safeguarding the diverse ecosystem in the country. RDB together with our partner institutions plan to conduct training to police and customs officers later this year in order to improve their skills in seizing illegally traded wildlife products in every exit and entry point”, Belise Kariza concluded.
Highlighting the need to prosecute wildlife related crimes in close collaboration with Interpol, the Malawian state advocate to the Minister of Justice, Tione Atate Namanja, noted the need for international cooperation.