Remarks from UN Resident Coordinator at the CEO Roundtable Meeting on Wildlife

 STATEMENT BY

Mr.  Alvaro Rodriguez,

United Nations Resident Coordinator

Wildlife Day, JNICC

2 March 2017

Hon. Prof. Jumanne Maghembe, Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism,

 

Dr. Reginald Mengi, Board Chairman of Tanzania Private Sector Foundation,

 

UNDP Country Director Ms. Awa Dabo,

UN Environment focal point Ms. Clara Makenya

The Chief Executive Officers present here,

Members of the Media,

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen

Habari za asubuhi!

It is my great pleasure to give some remarks at this CEO roundtable on the commemoration of World Wildlife day, which is the most important global annual event dedicated to wildlife, celebrated every 3rd March. The commemoration of this day was proclaimed on 20 December 2013 at the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly, the day of the adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

The theme for this year, “Listen to young voices” emphasizes the fact that we all have a role to play in the conservation of wildlife and recognizes youth as agents of change and the wheel to send the message of conservation to the next generation.

Increased demand for ivory trafficking leading to poaching of elephants, encroachment of protected areas and wildlife corridors for grazing, crop cultivation, mining or charcoal burning, increased human-wildlife conflicts due to livestock predation and crop raiding by wildlife, are some of the challenges facing the wildlife sector, not only in Tanzania, but in most wildlife resource rich countries in Africa. 

Sustainable Development Goal number 15, which focuses on Life on Land, calls for action towards restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems as well as stopping biodiversity loss. The world is facing a danger of species extinction, if the current trend of illegal wildlife trade is not intervened. This calls for strategic actions towards achieving the sustainable development goal number 15.

It is worth commending the efforts by the government of Tanzania in taking the lead on addressing the wildlife conservation challenges and fighting illegal wildlife crime. We have seen a good number of poachers caught, an increase in the number poaching cases brought to court and more criminals facing charges. As has been shared on the news early this year, over 200 people have been convicted and sentenced to more than 20 years in 2016, something which shows the government’s seriousness on the issue.

On the other hand, the role and efforts by the private sector in fighting poaching and wildlife conservation as must also be recognized. The presence of Private Sector Anti-PoachingInitiative (PSAPI)is a good demonstration of the commitment from the private sector in wildlife conservation. Resonating with this year’s theme, the private sector in Tanzania has been creating jobs for youth and creating a pool of young energetic professionals who are well placed to send the message of conservation across the nation.

The fight against illegal wildlife trade certainly requires joint efforts, and that is why the UN system, including UN Environment, UNDP, UNODC and other partners have it high on the agenda and recognizes the role of all stakeholders. Under the UN Development Assistance Plan (UNDAP II), the focus has been in contributing support towards the implementation of the National Strategy for Combatting poaching and illegal wildlife trade that was launched in year 2014. Some of the areas that the UN has contributed support and will continue to do so is strengthening law enforcement through investing in capacity building, as well reinforcing the coordination of the national cross agency mechanisms, to name but a few.  Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for investigation and prosecution of wildlife and environmental crime, currently in the final stages of preparation, is an example of a joint initiative between the UN Environment and UN Office on Drugs and Crime towards supporting the law enforcement on wildlife crimes. 

The CEO roundtable event today is a platform for strengthened collaborations on wildlife conservation and the fight against illegal wildlife trade as well as scaling up the public-private partnership efforts to protect wildlife.

It is my hope that this will also be an avenue for experience sharing and renewed commitment amongst the private sector on the great steps already taken in the conservation of wildlife and the fight against illegal wildlife trade.

I thank you very much for listening!