Namibian Sun
December 4, 2018

See link
<https://www.namibiansun.com/news/toolkit-to-fight-wildlife-crime2018-12-04/>
for photo & chart.

A new project was launched last week that will assist Namibia in its
efforts to fight wildlife crime.

The International Consortium on Combatting Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) Wildlife
and Forest Crime Analytic Toolkit was launched by environment minister
Pohamba Shifeta last week at a workshop organised by the Anti-Corruption
Commission.

The project provides the technical resources to assist governments in
conducting a comprehensive analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of a
country’s response to wildlife crime. The result is a report that includes
analyses and findings, along with recommendations on how to improve a
country’s response to wildlife crime.

This is an innovative project that has been implemented in several
countries with excellent results. The toolkit provides a sound evidence
base to guide efforts to combat wildlife and environmental crimes.

Shifeta said there are unprecedented levels of elephant and rhino poaching,
as well as the illegal harvesting of timber and uncontrolled logging across
Africa, and Namibia is no exception.

He said these threaten the future of fauna and flora, and entire
ecosystems. He said this situation demands a review and update of Namibia’s
current strategies and measures to curb illegal hunting and harvesting of
timber.

“We welcome the Wildlife and Forest Crime Analytic Toolkit, and we would
want to understand how this toolkit works before we can consider
implementing it, especially in strengthening our local criminal justice
system. We also need well-coordinated wildlife crime systems at national,
regional and international levels,” said Shifeta.

US ambassador to Namibia Lisa Johnson said Namibia is a model for
conservation in the region and its community-based conservation, rhino
custodian programme, and other collaborative efforts have had great success
in combating poaching in recent years.

According to her, wildlife crime is pushing some of the world’s most iconic
species toward extinction, while driving a lucrative criminal industry that
fuels instability in countries around the world.

She said wildlife crime is a critical threat to economic development and
undermines security. “When we lose wildlife and security as a result of
poaching and the illegal wildlife trade, we also lose tools that are
essential to fight poverty.”
Johnson said wildlife is an important cultural and economic asset in
Namibia contributing significantly to the tourism sector and sustaining the
livelihoods of many people.

She said the American government is committed to working with Namibia to
help stop poaching and wildlife trafficking, both within Namibia and across
international boundaries.

To that end, the US government is currently funding conservation-related
projects in Namibia valued at more than N$276 million.

These projects include community-based work to ensure the value of wildlife
for everyone, equipment for anti-poaching efforts, and training courses for
those involved in addressing wildlife crime.

“Wildlife crime is a form of serious, transnational organised crime.
Concerted international cooperation is needed to dismantle the networks
that perpetrate it. Collaborative efforts among governments, international
and non-governmental organisations, and donors must be well coordinated to
properly address wildlife and forest crime.”

According to Johnson the US has a strong partnership with the United
Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, or UNODC, around the world.

“We are supporting UNODC’s work in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and are
now co-funded with the EU ” specifically in Namibia. I am pleased that the
US government is able to fund the toolkit for Namibia, while the EU is
funding the Indicator Framework. The project will involve robust
collaboration among several government ministries, with the result
benefitting the entire country. “She said the most effective way to combat
wildlife crime is for everyone to work together.”

Johnson also commended Namibia for its commitment in working with UNODC and
the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime to implement the
toolkit.