Representatives of Central African countries are meeting in the Republic of Congo capital, Brazzaville, to discuss ways to jointly fight illegal logging and poaching.
The meeting is organized by the Economic Community of Central African States and the Central African Forest Commission, in partnership with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and runs between Sept. 1 to 3.
It underlines the collaboration between administrations in charge of fighting illegal logging in these countries, and also discusses the reinforcement of border controls under the auspices of a global program for combating wildlife crimes.
Experts say incidents of poaching have increased in the Central African region, with poachers using sophisticated weapons, vehicles and other modern communication gadgets.
Republic of Congo’s Forestry and Sustainable Development Minister Henri Djombo said the phenomenon had already resulted in the loss of over 60 percent of elephant population in the Congo Basin within the last one decade.
“The push against environmental crimes in the Central African sub-region require concerted efforts between states and their technical as well as financial partners,” Djombo said during the opening of the forum.
Highlighting the need to find effective means of fighting against this scourge, UNODC Regional Representative Pierre Lapaque said the impact of illegal wildlife trade was not only threatening the environment, but was also hampering the fight against poverty.
It has also increased corruption and channels of funds to rebel groups as well as criminal gangs, he said.
The Coordinator of the UN System in the Republic of Congo Antony Kwaku Ohemeng-Boamah reiterated his organization’s support for efforts to fight against poaching in the sub-region.
He said illegal logging and poaching of endangered species had become the fourth universal threat after terrorism, drug trafficking and human trafficking. Enditem