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Regional Summit To stop Wildlife Crime and Advance Wildlife Conservation

Regional Summit
To stop Wildlife Crime and Advance Wildlife Conservation
AICC Arusha 7-8 November 2014
Concept Note

Tanzania and the region is blessed with the richest biodiversity and natural resources in the continent. It is home to the biggest population of large mammals including elephants and lions in big numbers not offered elsewhere in the world. In order to conserve this natural wealth, a joint covenant among willing nations that commit us to collaborate in combating the illegal take and trafficking of wildlife, timber, fish, and other natural resources is necessary so that the future generations can enjoy them as much as the past and present

However, in recent years, elephant poaching and illegal ivory trafficking across Africa has rapidly increased. This poses a threat not only to the survival of elephant populations but also to economic, political and ecological systems. It is clear that destruction of elephants within and outside protected areas, if unabated, will seriously compromise the tourism industry not only in Tanzania but also in the region and beyond.

Organized and intricate elephant poaching networks in and outside the country sustain illegal trafficking thus making it difficult for Tanzania alone to make meaningful interventions. It is for this reason that we call upon the region and international community to join hands with Tanzania in undertaking this demanding and important task.

In efforts to curb poaching, the government of the United Republic of Tanzania has taken various measures such as increasing the frequency of regular and special anti-poaching operations and awareness campaigns to local and international community.

The overall commitment of Government to wildlife conservation and elephants in particular was recently highlighted during the conference “Stopping Wildlife Crime and Advancing Wildlife Conservation: A Call to Action“, held in Dar Es Salaam in May 2014. In that conference the Government of United Republic of Tanzania and the International Conservation Caucus Foundation (ICCF), in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and other key stakeholders developed among others, appropriate and sustainable funding mechanisms to curb poaching and illegal ivory trafficking.

Considering the fact that Tanzania shares major ecosystems with its neighbouring countries; it was found prudent to share the current lessons and experience in a regional summit with a view of developing a shared approach towards addressing the problem.  It is against this background that the Government of United Republic of Tanzania is organizing a Regional Summit to be held at the Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC) from 7 – 8 November, 2014.  The Summit will target high level participation of Heads of mission, Ministers from key ministries, development organisations at national and regional levels; national and international NGOs, private sector and faith based organisations

Objectives of the regional Summit

The main objectives of the summit include the following:
• Raise awareness at the highest political level about the dimensions of the poaching crisis and dynamics of illegal ivory trade in the region;
• Develop agreement among nations (bilateral, multilateral or otherwise) on ways to coordinate and collaborate in managing shared ecosystems
• Develop harmonized protocols to guide the management of shared resources
• Commit to urgent actions to be taken to secure viable populations of elephant population and other wildlife species for the benefit of the present and future generations
• Motivate and seek for political, financial and technical support from the international community
• Discuss actions already underway to stop wildlife poaching and trafficking across borders in the region and share lessons

      Expected Outcomes/output from the Summit.

1. Commitment of Tanzania and its neighbouring countries to protect wildlife, timber, Fish and other natural resources in the shared ecosystems
2. Political, financial and technical commitment from the international community to support the implementation of the agreed actions
3. A shared understanding between Tanzania and its neighbouring countries on the current status of the poaching and wildlife trafficking

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