UN Praises Malawi’s Stop Wildlife Crime Campaign

UN representative from Malawi, Mia Seppo
UN representative from Malawi, Mia Seppo

A statement from the UN in Malawi

The government of Malawi and the diplomatic community have been supporting the fight against illegal wildlife trade through the ‘Stop Wildlife Crime’ Campaign, a joint initiative between the Department of National Parks & Wildlife and the Lilongwe Wildlife Trust.  This campaign is a welcome development, as it raises awareness on the harm arising from illegal wildlife trade. It also provides a forum for wider public participation both at national and international levels to address this emerging global challenge, in line with this year’s World Wildlife Day Theme:  ‘’the future of wildlife is in our hands’.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) renewed its commitment to protecting wildlife and stopping wildlife crimes, such as poaching and trafficking, while commemorating World Wildlife Day in 2015 under the theme, “It’s time to get serious about wildlife crime.”

“World Wildlife Day is an opportunity to celebrate wildlife, but it is also a wake-up call to get serious about wildlife crime,” UNDP Administrator Helen Clark said during last year’s celebration. “We must all do more to halt the illegal trade in wildlife. UNDP and its partners are committed to this task.”

Currently, UNDP is supporting the Government of Malawi to review its wildlife policy through a highly consultative process. This complements GTZ support on the drafting of an amendment to the wildlife act.

The UNDP team
The UNDP team

Malawi Government’s efforts to join the global fight against illegal poaching is commended, as evidenced by its successful interception of ivory and other illegal wildlife commodities at its ports.  More effort is required to strengthen Government capacity in working with neighbouring countries and accessing information form countries outside the continent in order to put a stop to this trade.

Aside from its significance to the ecosystems, wildlife is a tourist attraction and thus a major cont­ributing factor to the country’s socio-economic development and an earner of foreign exchange.   It is pleasing to note that the government, at the level of the head of state, is passionate about protecting wildlife and stopping all illegal trade.

It also provides a forum for wider public participation both at national and international levels to address this emerging global challenge, in line with this year’s World Wildlife Day Theme:  ‘’the future of wildlife is in our hands’.

The additional pledge of support from the heads of fourteen diplomatic missions is also a welcome development, contributing to collaborative efforts to ensure that all citizens, residents and visitors to Malawi understand the repercussions of wildlife crime and avoid any involvement.