Lusaka Agreement Task Force

The Lusaka Agreement Task Force: Fighting Illegal Wildlife Trade in Africa

The Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF) is a multinational organization committed to fighting against illegal wildlife trade in Africa. Established in 1994, the task force is made up of 11 African countries that are dedicated to the conservation and protection of wildlife resources in their respective regions.

The countries that make up the LATF include Burundi, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. Together, these countries work towards the common goal of combatting poaching, trafficking, and illegal trade of wildlife products.

The LATF operates under the framework of the Lusaka Agreement, signed in 1994, which provides the legal basis for cooperation between member states in the fight against illegal wildlife trade. The agreement was signed in Lusaka, Zambia, hence the name Lusaka Agreement Task Force.

The task force`s main objective is to promote the exchange of information and intelligence between its members, to enhance cooperation in law enforcement, and to build capacity in the fight against illegal wildlife trade. To achieve these goals, the LATF works with various organizations, including customs and border agencies, national wildlife enforcement agencies, and non-governmental organizations.

The LATF has achieved significant success in its efforts to combat illegal wildlife trade. In 2019 alone, the task force seized over 17,000 kilograms of ivory and 1,600 kilograms of pangolin scales, among other wildlife products. These seizures resulted in the arrest of 97 suspects and the confiscation of 42 vehicles, 37 firearms, and 2,668 rounds of ammunition.

The LATF has also played a crucial role in the fight against wildlife trafficking in Africa by providing training and technical assistance to its member states. The task force has trained over 1,800 law enforcement officers, customs officials, and other stakeholders in various aspects of wildlife crime investigation and prosecution.

The task force has also undertaken several initiatives to raise awareness about the harmful effects of wildlife trade on biodiversity, ecosystems, and local communities. These initiatives include public awareness campaigns, outreach programs, and the establishment of community-based conservation projects.

In conclusion, the Lusaka Agreement Task Force is a vital organization in the fight against illegal wildlife trade in Africa. Its success in seizing illegal wildlife products and arresting suspects demonstrates its commitment to protecting the continent`s biodiversity and natural resources. With continued support and collaboration with other stakeholders, the LATF is poised to make a significant impact on the conservation of Africa`s wildlife.