Addis Ababa March 26/2018 The availability of up-to-date, accurate and authoritative geographically referenced geospatial information is essential to combat illegal wildlife trafficking.
Speaking at the opening of a two-day regional workshop, Ethiopian Geospatial Information Agency Director-General Sultan Mohammed said geospatial information is vital for sound policy formulation and decision-making in almost all spheres of human activities.
The Director-General stated that Africa needs to develop various strategies as it is a continent most affected by wildlife trafficking and poaching.
“We need to revise the various strategies and introduce those which use geospatial information since wildlife trafficking is very much linked to location data that includes data about the origin and root cause of these illegal activities”, Sultan elaborated.
U.S Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Jessica Davis Ba said it is important to expand regional cooperation to combat illegal wildlife trafficking as it has been affecting national and community resources.
She added that collaboration at regional, national and international levels is vital to combat illegal activities in the regard.
Ba said that countries should work closely to enhance cooperation and collaboration through building strong partnership.
Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA) Director-General Kumara Wakjira said geospatial information standards would significantly contribute to combatting wildlife trafficking across Africa.
“The continent has huge potential to benefit its people from wildlife resources through eco-tourism, legal export and trade, and wildlife products as Africa is globally recognized as one of the world's biodiversity hotspots”, he added.
However, these rich natural resources are facing today greater risk than ever since poaching and illegal wildlife trade are among the key threats that impose negative impact on wildlife resources across the continent, Kumara stated.
According to the Director-General, illegal trade in wildlife is one of the most lucrative businesses valued at up to 25 billion US dollars annually.
Noting that wildlife trafficking has devastating impact on biodiversity, economy and livelihoods of local communities, he added that it could also contribute to insecurity and social disturbance.
Strong institutional arrangement, sufficient trained manpower, strong legislation, and cross-border collaboration are crucial to address trans-border wildlife trafficking, he stressed.
Professionals from 20 countries are attending the regional conference.