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Nepal, China, Kenya and the Lusaka Agreement Task Force recognized for exemplary enforcement efforts
Date Published: 10 Jul, 2014
China, Kenya and the Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF) were awarded Certificates of Commendation for collaborative efforts to take down an international criminal syndicate smuggling ivory from Kenya to China. The joint action occurred during Operation COBRA II – an international wildlife law enforcement operation involving 28 countries that took place in January 2014 – and resulted in the extradition of a Chinese national from Kenya to China and the arrest of more than 20 smugglers and domestic ivory traders in China implicated in the activities of the syndicate. The Certificates of Commendation presented to China’s National Inter-agencies CITES Enforcement Coordination Group on behalf of Chinese authorities, Kenya Wildlife Service on behalf of Kenyan Authorities and the Lusaka Agreement Task Force recognized the exemplary collaboration, including the daily exchange of real-time intelligence, which underpinned the joint investigation.
The fourth CITES Secretary-General’s Certificate of Commendation was awarded to Nepal in recognition of its exemplary efforts to combat wildlife crime. In 2011 no rhinoceroses, tigers, or elephants were illegally killed in Nepal, and in 2012 the country lost just one rhinoceros to poaching. On the first UN World Wildlife Day, 3 March 2014, Nepal for the second time celebrated 365 days with zero poaching. The Certificate of Commendation, received by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation of Nepal on behalf of all national agencies involved in wildlife law enforcement, acknowledged the many innovative measures implemented by Nepal to combat wildlife crime, including strong inter-agency collaboration, combined patrols by rangers and the Nepalese army in protected areas supported by community-based anti-poaching units outside of parks, and intelligence-led enforcement actions leading to the arrest of key players at the top of the criminal chain.
The Certificates were presented at an International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) event taking place as part of the 65th meeting of the CITES Standing Committee being held in Geneva, Switzerland, on 7-11 July. Two events were held by ICCWC, with the first highlighting the consortium’s efforts to increase the use of modern forensic technology in combating wildlife crime and the second covering ICCWC tools to support effective wildlife law enforcement at a national level and a synopsis of Operation COBRA II
In addition to the certificate of commendation, Kenya was praised for having consistently implementing and reporting on progress with implementation of actions identified in 2013 during CITES CoP16 as components of the National Ivory Action Plan towards controlling illegal trade in ivory.
Kenya's four quarterly reports against which the country was evaluated to determine levels of Government's commitments in combatting illegal trade in ivory were highly rated and said to be very comprehensive compared to reports from the other seven countries forming the group of 8 countries of concern regarding illegal trade in ivory. These other seven countries are : united Republic of Tanzania, and Uganda as source countries for illegal ivory, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam as transit countries and Thailand and China and Hong Kong SAR as destination countries for illegally traded ivory.
With this positive evaluation of Kenya with regard to efforts in combating elephant poaching and illegal trade in ivory, KWS has requested the Standing Committee to review the country's classification and remove us from the infamous group of 8. - Gang of 8.
The Standing Committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora is the second highest decision -making organ of the CITES Convention. The ongoing meeting in Geneva; 7-11 July is the 65th meeting of the Committee.
Kenya as a member Party to the CITES Convention is being represented by a delegation of 5 headed by the Director General of the Kenya Wildlife Service. Kenya Wildlife Service is designated the CITES Wildlife Management Authority and Scientific Authority for purposes of implementing and reporting on implementation of the CITES provisions in the country. Members of the country delegation are: KWS Ag. Director General William Kiprono, Patrick Omondi, the Deputy Director of Wildlife Conservation, Solomon Kyalo, the Senior Scientist responsible for CITES matters, Ibrahim Lubia, the Chief Licensing Officer and Dr. Samuel Kasiki, the Deputy Director, Biodiversity Research and Monitoring.