The illegal trade in wild fauna and flora involves the harvesting, procurement, transport, and distribution both domestically and internationally, of animals and plants, as well as their parts and derivatives, in violation of laws and treaties. It ranges in scale from single items being traded locally to commercial containers shipped worldwide to international markets.
In many African countries, the livelihoods and socio-economic development of communities in both rural and urban areas depends heavily on the use of wild fauna and flora resources, thus the loss of African wildlife directly or indirectly affects the livelihoods of African people. Additionally, the illegal trade in Africa’s natural resources deprives African States of revenues, hindering economic growth.
The African Union, concerned by the unsustainable use of African wild fauna and flora, and increase of illegal trade in wild flora and fauna in recent years –undermining sustainable development, peace, security, rule of law and good governance – adopted in June 2014, the Executive Council Decision EX.CL/Dec.832 (XXV) during its 23rd Ordinary Session held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.
The Decision, specifically targets the illicit trade in African wild fauna and flora and calls upon the Commission in collaboration with the relevant partners to develop an African Strategy on Combating Illegal Exploitation and Illegal Trade in Wild Flora and Fauna.
The Strategy, an outcome of the International Conference on Illegal Exploitation and Illegal Trade of Wild Flora and Fauna in Africa held in Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo, builds upon international commitments and declarations made in relation to the challenges posed by illegal wildlife trade highlights the economic, social and environmental impacts of illicit trafficking in wildlife; the a rise in security and governance concerns and the need to take action on both the supply and demand sides.
The overall objective of the strategy is to prevent and reduce with the view of eliminating the illegal exploitation and illegal trade in wild fauna and flora in Africa through the domestication and implementation of an Africa wide strategic framework. It has been formulated to guide a common, coordinated response by countries in Africa to combat the illegal exploitation and illegal trade in wild fauna and flora
The Strategy is built around the following seven core objectives: (i) Increase the level of political commitment to prevent, combat and eradicate illegal exploitation and illegal trade in wild fauna and flora, and to recognise illegal trade in wild fauna and flora as a serious crime; (ii) Improve governance, integrity and enhance regional, inter-regional cooperation; (iii) Enhance engagement with consumer states to reduce demand, supply and transit of illegal products of wild fauna and flora; (iv) Promote the participatory approach with economic development and community livelihoods through sustainable use of wild fauna and flora; (iv) Reduce, and prevent and eliminate the economic, security and stability impact of wildlife crime; (vi)Increase capacity, information, advocacy and public awareness; (vii) Increase the capacity of source and transit states in detecting illegal wild fauna and flora products including in the exit and transit points and – has seven strategic components: Political Commitment,
Regional and International Cooperation, Enforcement and Compliance, Training and Capacity Development, Awareness and Advocacy, Knowledge, Information and Technology and Governance which are further summarized in a Matrix of implementation.