Home Forestry Africa gears up for Wildlife Enforcement Monitoring System

Africa gears up for Wildlife Enforcement Monitoring System

The Netherlands: The Lusaka Agreement Task Force for Co-operative Enforcement Operations Directed at Illegal Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora (LATF) in Kenya, the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS) in Japan, and the Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) at the University of Twente in the Netherlands, through a tripartite partnership agreement, will launch the Wildlife Enforcement Monitoring System (WEMS) in Africa on July 18, 2011. 
The launch of the system will take place at the seat of LATF in Nairobi, Kenya, as part of a series of events leading to the African Elephant Law Enforcement Day celebrations on 20 July 2011.
The WEMS, developed by the United Nations University (UNU), is the culmination of seven years of interdisciplinary field research involving policy makers, enforcement officials, computer scientists and civil society groups. It aims to address the challenges relating to documenting illegal wildlife exploitation. It will provide a clear picture of trends regarding trans-boundary illegal wildlife trade. 
Tom Veldkamp, ITC Rector, said, “Geospatial technology alone may not be a solution to the problem of transnational sharing of spatial information, especially when the information crossing borders is politically sensitive. Our research on WEMS aims to understand the civic, scientific and bureaucratic cultures that interact when spatial information for WEMS is shared across national borders.”
The main goal of WEMS in Africa is to strengthen information and reporting processes as well as analysis capabilities pertaining to the monitoring of illegal wildlife trade at both the national and regional levels. The system will also affirm the obligation of Parties to the Lusaka Agreement and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to collaborate closely in the application of the Convention as defined in the resolution on enforcement and compliance of CITES (Conf. 11.3 [Rev. CoP15]).
About the WEMS, Bonaventure Ebayi, Director of LATF, said, “Information sharing is a key component to combating wildlife crime in Africa. The effective implementation of WEMS in Africa will impact positively on information sharing and analysis at a global level as well as facilitate good understanding of our challenges by our partners and enhance our efficiencies in wildlife conservation.” He added, “This is an important milestone towards achieving the ultimate objective to create an information centre of wildlife crime in Africa by pooling data on illegal trade from various national agencies in the region.”
The implementation of WEMS in Africa will take place in phases through the establishment of a regional environmental governance framework for research and development co-operation between LATF, UNU-IAS and ITC. The pilot implementation of the project in Africa will involve three member states to the Lusaka Agreement, namely, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. A second phase will involve all the Lusaka Agreement member states and thereafter other interested African states.
Source: ITC