UN launches Wild for Life campaign at global environmental meeting
The United Nations launched its Wild for Life campaign on Wednesday at the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi.
The initiative is aimed at creating collaboration, policy implementation, and grassroots participation to sensitise communities in source and destination countries in war on poaching.
The campaign was unveiled by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) at the second UNEA meeting which runs from 23-27 May.
The Assembly is the highest-level global meeting on environmental policy and meets every two years to address the international agenda.
UNEA brings together over 1,200 delegates including heads of state, environment ministers, and the leaders of UN agencies and development banks and takes place at UNEP’s headquarters in the Kenyan capital.
Many of the gains made in combating illegal trade in wildlife products will be lost unless there is global cooperation to stop the demand and corruption that fuels poaching, according to UNEP officials.
UNEP deputy executive director, Ibrahim Thiaw (pictured) said there is need for concerted efforts by governments, institutions and civil society to review policy and legislative interventions to eliminate wildlife crimes in Africa.
Speaking at UNEA-2 in Nairobi, Thiaw said the illicit trade in wildlife resources poses a threat to the continent’s economies, security and ecosystems.
Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) director Kitili Mbathi said that since 2014, Kenya has had significant success in tackling the illegal supply of wildlife products and poaching in Kenya has reportedly declined by 80 per cent in the last 3 years.
China and the US, the world’s two largest wildlife markets, recently declared that they will shut down domestic trade in ivory, and ivory prices in China have dropped by 50 per cent in just 12 months, according to the Nairobi-based UK research and conserbavtion charity Save the Elephants.
However, Mbathi expressed disappointment that the efforts were being undermined with little focus being put on global demand.
Mbathi said: “In the last two years, we have increased our pace, and tried as the Kenyan government to put in place a number of legislations and other relevant frameworks to deter poaching.”