Africa-EU summit ends with declaration to address wildlife trafficking and promote sustainable management of natural resources
Nairobi, Kenya, and Cambridge, UK—Representatives from African Union (AU) and European Union (EU) nations meeting last week in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, have ended their summit on the 29th November 2017 with a commitment to “address illegal exploitation of natural resources and wildlife trafficking as well as promote sound and sustainable natural resources management.”
The meeting, which took place under the theme of “Investment in Youth for Accelerated Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development”, led to a post-summit declaration also covering issues surrounding peace and security, governance, investment and trade, skills development and job creation.
“TRAFFIC congratulates the leaders of the African Union and European Union on their successful summit and on issuing a declaration that clearly identifies and elaborates future strategic priorities, however, paper commitments need to be turned into firm action to have meaningful impact,” said Taye Teferi, TRAFFIC’s Policy and Partnership Coordinator for Africa.
“In particular, TRAFFIC welcomes the commitment to addressing wildlife crime and promoting sustainable management of natural resources.”
The latter are fully in line with earlier agreements under the African Strategy on Combating Illegal Exploitation and Illegal Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora in Africa made in 2015, and last year’s EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking, as well as both African and European strategies related to sustainable fisheries and forestry.
“These strategies and today’s declaration give both African and the European sides an urgent mandate and mutual responsibility for action, which will help achieve international commitments made under the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” said Teferi.
TRAFFIC believes addressing wildlife crime and establishing a firm framework for legal, sustainable trade in natural resources would have a number of beneficial impacts. In particular, with helping maintain peace and security, reinforcing good governance, strengthening investment and trade, underpinning skills development as well as providing jobs for youth through nature-based enterprises.
“Advancing effective wildlife management and the setting up of nature-based enterprises not only creates jobs for youth but can also lead to a cultural change towards ‘resource custodianship’ of wildlife among young people and rural communities,” said Teferi.
TRAFFIC is committed to working closely with the AU, its Member States and the AU Commission (AUC) as well as the EU, its Member States and the European Commission in providing technical support and expertise to combatting illegal and unsustainable wildlife trade while supporting the sustainable and legal trade in natural resources to advance youth employment and rural development on and between both continents.
“TRAFFIC would be pleased to offer our technical support to help achieve the high-level strategic objectives of this important commitment,” said Teferi.