Kenya is set to host the Extraordinary Meeting of the 13th Governing Council of Parties to the Lusaka Agreement from 28th to 29th of June 2023 in Nairobi.
The Lusaka Agreement that has six member states comprising Kenya, Congo Brazzaville, Lesotho, Liberia, Tanzania and Zambia and has Ethiopia, ESwatini and South Africa as signatories, was created to pool resources and forge a regional front in stemming organized local and transnational wildlife crime that not only endangers the survival of protected fauna (animals) and flora (plant) species but also threatens the socio-economic, and the environmental well-being of the Lusaka Agreement Member states.
The wildlife crime, ranked 4th internationally after drug trafficking, human trafficking and illegal small arms, is organized, transnational in nature and needs collaborative efforts with other countries to stop its proliferation.
It is for this reason that at a meeting held in Lusaka in 1994, member countries adopted the Lusaka Agreement on Co-operative Enforcement Operations Directed at Illegal Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora under the Lusaka Agreement. The Member states agreed to foster cooperation and complement implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and other related international biodiversity conventions/agreements in Africa.
The member state committed to stop iconic species such as the elephant, rhino and assorted forest specimens in Africa from the threats of extinction because of poaching and illegal trafficking in wildlife products. Poaching and illegal trafficking of wildlife also impairs the integrity of the ecosystem and robs the governments of the biodiversity resources that are the mainstay of most economies in Africa.
The Lusaka Agreement has a three-tier organizational mechanism comprising a Ministerial decision-making organ called the Governing Council, a national implementing and enforcement authority known as National Bureau and a permanent regional body serving as operational arm and Secretariat of the Agreement called the Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF).