Fighting trans-continental wildlife crime with Government co-operation
Major illegal wildlife trade routes stretch from African countries to Asia. A key step to shutting down the illegal wildlife trafficking is for source and destination countries to co-operate in law enforcement action. At a roundtable forum on 7 March 2017, co-convened by the Embassy of Vietnam in Mozambique and WCS, leaders of the Vietnam’s Supreme People’s Procuracy (SPP) met with their counterparts at the Mozambican Attorney-General's Office (PGR) and representatives from the National Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC) to strengthen the legal framework for law enforcement co-operation between Vietnam and Mozambique – working towards a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) between both countries. This will strengthen all law enforcement co-operation between Vietnam and Mozambique, thus allowing for enhanced wildlife crime prevention.
Thirty delegates including the Vietnam Ambassador to Mozambique, H.E. Nguyen Van Trung, the Deputy Prosecutor General of Vietnam SPP, H.E. Tran Cong Phan, along with four members of the International and MLAT department of the Viet Nam SPP, the Deputy Attorney-General for Mozambique, Dr. Sérgio dos Reis, Director of the Mozambican Attorney-General's Office, Dr. Albino Macamo, the Head of Law Enforcement and Anti-poaching of ANAC, Dr. Carlos Lopes Pereira, bilateral and multilateral missions in Mozambique, donor missions such as USAID and GIZ, and media representatives and civil society came together to understand and discuss each countries legislation combatting the illegal wildlife trade.
New 10-year General Management Plan Consultation
WCS and ANAC are working together to develop a new 10-year general management plan (GMP) for Niassa Reserve. This is the first time a multi-stakeholder process like this has been used for a GMP, and includes several governmental layers and institutions, local leaders, the private sector, conservation organizations, and other groups. The process started in June 2016 with an inception workshop attended by more than 80 participants. Using workshop outputs, nine stakeholder working groups collaborated on strategies for law enforcement, fire management, community engagement, zoning, transparency and communications, and more. In December 2016 and January 2017, these strategies were presented to government and community leaders in each of the eight districts partially or wholly covered by the Reserve. In two cases, these formal public consultations were broadcast live over community radio. The feedback from these consultations is being used to revise the plan in preparation for the next step: provincial-level consultations with Niassa and Cabo Delgado Governments.
The President of Mozambique visited the Niassa Reserve in May 2016, which was the first visit to the Reserve headquarters of a President this century. The President spoke positively about conservation efforts to protect Mozambique’s heritage and gave an impromptu motivational speech to the scouts to urge them to continue their work protecting NNR. Later at a public address in Mecula district he spoke of the need to uphold the laws of Mozambique and not to mine, log or poach within NNR. This visit has helped to galvanize support and engagement of all levels of governments and along with the Governor and ANAC’s strong support of the NNR planning process provides good momentum for the next steps.
Two British film crews spent time in NNR in March and May 2016 to cover the elephant poaching and ivory trafficking challenges. The second film crew was from the BBC and their work was linked to the CITES Conference of the Parties in September 2016 in Johannesburg to advocate for stronger measures to stop the illegal wildlife trade and the direct killing of elephants.