On Monday 3rd August 2015, the Malawi Parliamentary Conservation Caucus (MPCC) was officially launched by His Excellency, Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika, President of Malawi. Lilongwe Wildlife Trust sat on the organising committee for the launch and subsequent conference, and we were honoured to be included in this historic occasion.
WHAT IS THE MPCC?
The Malawi Parliamentary Conservation Caucus is a coalition of MPs, open to participation from all committees and all parties to encourage diversity in terms of perspectives, opinions and knowledge. The caucus will provide a forum for its members to engage with a collaboration of stakeholders from other government agencies, the business community, NGO’s and development institutions for the purpose of developing a deeper understanding of the conservation challenges facing
Malawi, and to pursue collaborative natural resource management actions.
HOW DID THE MPCC COME ABOUT?
The formation of the MPCC was facilitated by the International Conservation Caucus (ICCF), who first set up the International Conservation Caucus (ICC) in the US in 2003. It is now the largest and the most bi-partisan collaboration in the US Congress. ICCF have since assisted with the establishment of a number of caucuses around the world with successes in Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania, Namibia and Uganda.
The realization of Malawi’s own caucus has its roots in the signing of the Arusha Declaration on Regional Conservation and Combating Wildlife and Environmental Crime in November 2014, which ICCF also facilitated. Subsequently, in April 2015, H.E. travelled to Washington, US, to be recognised at ICCF’s US Congressional dinner. Here, H.E. went before the US Congress and pledged to intensify Malawi’s fight against wildlife and environmental
crime. This visit coincided with an exchange with parliamentary leaders from Malawi, Botswana, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Zambia, and also included Hon. Werani Chilenga and Hon. Mwai Kamuyambeni representing Malawi. Following this the leadership pushed forward on the launch of the Malawi Parliamentary Conservation Caucus.
WHAT HAPPENED AT THE LAUNCH?
The launch ceremony took place at Parliament Building, with the programme summarised as follows:
– Presidential tour of exhibitions
– Performance by Bambino School – read more here
– Statement by Mrs Susan Lylis, Vice President, International Caucus Conservation Foundation (ICCF) – read the speech here
– Performance by DNPW Rangers and National Dance Troupe
– Statement by Hon. Werani Chilenga, MP, Chair, MPCC – read the speech here
– Statement by Rt. Hon. Richard Msowoya, MP, Speaker of Malawi National Assembly
– His Excellency the President’s official address – read the speech here
The event was sponsored by African Parks, Alliance One, Carlsberg, CEPA, GEF, Lilongwe Wildlife Trust, Premium Tama Tobacco, Robin Pope Safaris and UNEP.
Following the launch, a roundtable meeting was facilitated by ICCF with MPs from the MPCC, government department heads, and other stakeholders including African Parks, CEPA, CURE, Lilongwe Wildlife Trust and UNDP. Here, delegates were further briefed on the role of the MPCC and key priorities were discussed.
Lilongwe Wildlife Trust was especially pleased with the decision to prioritise wildlife crime and the updating of associated legislation and acts, as well as facilitating the necessary sensitisation. This will ensure that authorities are equipped with the tools and knowledge to act appropriately and in line with their fellow equivalents in surrounding countries where custodial sentences are often the norm.
The MPCC also plan to support Government on the development of a National Conservation Policy.
AND IN PICTURES….