AU Commission signs MOU with TRAFFIC

African Union

The African Union Commission has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with TRAFFIC a leading non-governmental organisation working globally on trade in wild animals and plants in the context of both biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.

The MOU was jointly signed by Ambassador Josefa Sacko, AUC Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment (ARBE) and Steven Broad, TRAFFIC Executive Director.

Under this agreement, the parties will collaborate to support the African Union Member States’ policies for environment, wildlife management and trade, and conservation and recognise that wild flora and fauna loss affect African people’s livelihoods, especially during post-pandemic recovery.

It acts as a framework to combat the illegal exploitation and trade in Africa’s rich wildlife with a joint goal of protecting flora, and fauna on land, wetlands, and marine ecosystems, AU document made available to the Ghana News Agency in Tema on Thursday stated.

The MOU was described as a significant step towards implementing the African Union’s Wildlife Strategy.

On the occasion of signing, the MoU, Ambassador Sacko, stated: “For the AU this is an important MoU for the safeguarding of Africa’s wild biodiversity.

“We are looking forward to deepening our already great collaboration with TRAFFIC and are welcoming TRAFFIC’s technical support and policy which stems from its evidence-based experience, on how to keep the use and trade of wild harvested flora and fauna at legal and sustainable and levels, and on how to best combat any illegal trade and overexploitation threatening our biodiversity”.

Ambassador Sacko noted that, AU was looking forward to co-operate with TRAFFIC in preparations for key multilateral and bilateral fora, as well as for the environmental components of the Commission’s frameworks and partnerships.

“We also welcome TRAFFIC’s commitment to collaborate with and support the Commission in the effective implementation of the Green Recovery Action Plan, providing support especially to the ‘Biodiversity and Nature-based Solutions’ component to which we can bring considerable technical expertise and international experience,” he said.

Existing inter-governmental relations between the AU and the Member States allow coordination with the relevant ministry departments and other government sectors.

In a post-pandemic world, not only will it be vital for conservation and development, but will enable sound and evidence-based responses to zoonosis-induced threats stemming from wildlife trade, he said.

Mr Richard Scobey, Executive Director for TRAFFIC said: “We are committed to improving the sustainability of Africa’s wildlife, environment and legal trade to support national economies and local development across the continent alongside the AU Commission.

“It is a promising and welcome step towards sustainable wildlife trade in Africa”.

TRAFFIC will provide the AUC and its Member States with the latest evidence-based technical guidance to implement sustainable natural resource strategies that support national economies and local community development.

Existing TRAFFIC projects like Reducing Illegal Timber Exports already work with communities living adjacent to forests with the legal knowledge and tools to reap the rewards of legal, sustainable forest management.

Additionally, TRAFFIC’s growing portfolio of work with private sector companies along the supply chain including; e-commerce, transportation and financial sector companies directly support common interests and sustainable development agenda.

TRAFFIC will also collaborate with and support the African Union Commission in the effective implementation of the Green Recovery Action Plan, providing support especially to the ‘Biodiversity and Nature-based Solutions’ component.

On the international front, TRAFFIC will also assist the AU and its Member States to prepare for and build relationships at multilateral summits such as The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

The crucial meetings could be informed by holistic and pioneering methods like the Trade in Wildlife eXchange (TWIX) platforms in Central, Southern and Eastern Africa to support the elimination of the illegal trade of Africa’s fauna and flora.

At the same time, other international TRAFFIC behaviour change projects work across the globe to reduce demand for illegally and unsustainably harvested wild fauna and flora at the end of the supply chain, while supporting choices for wildlife stemming from sustainable and legal sources.

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