Zim to strengthen wildlife capacity

Abigail Mawonde Herald Correspondent
ENVIRONMENT, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira yesterday met British Foreign Commonwealth Office Minister for Africa Mrs Harriet Baldwin in London.

Minister Mupfumira is in the United Kingdom attending the Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference.

At the wildlife meeting, Zimbabwe will pledge to strengthen capacity to deal with wildlife law enforcement.

In her meeting with Minister Baldwin, Minister Mupfumira said Zimbabwe was encouraged by the improving bilateral relations between Harare and London.

“I am happy to recall that when His Excellency President E.D Mnangagwa was inaugurated on 24 November, 2017, Minister of State Mr Rory Stewart was the First Special Envoy to call him,” she said.

“We were even more delighted when you visited shortly after as Prime Minister Theresa May’s Special Envoy.

“Our own ministers, Honourable P Chinamasa and Honourable Lieutenant-General SB Moyo (Rtd), also made very successful return visits to your country. We watched with joy in Harare when your Government gave our new Ambassador speedy accreditation within 12 days of his arrival in London.”

Minister Mupfumira said Government was grateful that the CDC and Germcorp Capital LLP had bailed the private sector in Zimbabwe by availing US$100 million and US$250 million, respectively.

“More recently, we were pleased that you once again spared time to meet with His Excellency President Mnangagwa in New York,” she said.

“We are also pleased that our Minister of Finance and Economic Development Professor Mtuli Ncube met your Permanent Secretary for the DfID Mr Matthew Rycroft together with other officials from Her Majesty’s Treasury and from your Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Minister Mupfumira requested assistance in the implementation of commitments and actions which have already been made to combat illegal wildlife trade.

“Zimbabwe intends to officially launch (International Consortium for Combating Wildlife Crime) ICCWC process at a national level and build capacity of the State agencies involved in the process like customs, police and immigration, mobilisation at national level to create awareness of national obligations and commitments in such a process was initiated, however progress has been slow due to budgetary constraints to convene meetings for awareness building and consultations with key stakeholders,” she said.

The ICCWC is envisaged to streamline measures that have already been adopted under the various UN Conventions against Transnational Organised Crime and resolutions made under CITES.

Minister Mupfumira requested assistance in strengthening capacity to deal with wildlife cybercrime and financial intelligence monitoring systems at national level, training and exposure to various tools that have been developed to facilitate for better coordination and information sharing on illegal wildlife trade.

She asked for help in strengthening Zimbabwe’s capacity to deal with wildlife law-enforcement inside the protected area network.

“Zimbabwe has a ranger-based system for resource protection in the parks estate,” said Minister Mupfumira.

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