The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and wildlife-focused non-governmental organisation, Tikki Hywood Foundation (THF), last week signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to facilitate increased awareness and appreciation of the value and importance of flora and fauna in Zimbabwe, through mutual cooperation and capacity building.
Under the agreement, THF will provide awareness, training and technical support to members of the NPA with respect to the value and importance of fauna and flora in Zimbabwe.
THF will also facilitate the procurement of digital solutions for case registry purposes and management, assist in the implementation and maintenance of such systems.
Speaking during the signing of the MoU, Prosecutor-General Mr Kumbirai Hodzi applauded the development, saying it would boost efforts by Zimbabwe to curb illegal trade in wildlife.
He said wildlife was an important asset which should be treasured.
“This is a step in the right direction and as NPA we appreciate it,” said Mr Hodzi.
“This is boosting the nation’s efforts to curb illegal wildlife trade. This is important to NPA because our officers will be trained in the understanding of illegal wildlife trafficking, smuggling, trading and other related offences, discussions on wildlife applicable law and its implementation.
“Illegal wildlife trade is a threat to the economic development of this nation and as NPA we welcome this partnership.”
Founder of Tikki Hywood Foundation Ms Lisa Hywood said the illegal wildlife trade was now a global threat, which should be stemmed out through collaborative efforts.
“The war against illegal wildlife trade is now a global threat, one which we believe can only be stemmed out through collaborative efforts as represented by today’s ceremony,” she said.
“Throughout the history of Zimbabwe, wildlife has been considered one of our most prominent assets. Due to socio-economic challenges and global illegal wildlife trade pressure, our national asset is at risk and now is viewed as a commodity rather than a heritage for our future generation.
“With a spotlight being focused on illegal wildlife trade worldwide, I am proud to state that the THF has worked tirelessly since 1994 in assisting the combat of this atrocity here in Zimbabwe.
“Though there is still a lot of work to be done on the wildlife law and its implementation, I believe that together we continue to make great strides, in first learning and understanding the battles that we face and finding a mechanism to overcome those obstacles.”