On Tuesday, March 15th, members of the Namibian Parliament officially launched the Namibian Conservation Parliamentary Caucus (NACOPAC), a multiparty collaboration of parliamentarians committed to strengthening conservation governance and sustainable economic development in Namibia and the region.
Namibia suffered a major spike in rhino poaching in 2015, and combatting this crisis will be a key area of focus for NACOPAC.
Hon. Prof. Peter H. Katjavivi, Speaker of the National Assembly of Namibia, chaired the launch meeting and announced that he would be the official patron of NACOPAC. Senior officials from the Ministries of Environment and Tourism, Fisheries and Marine Resources, International Relations and Cooperation, and Economic Planning, as well as MPs from Botswana, Mexico, and Zambia participated in the launch program. NACOPAC joins a growing movement of conservation caucuses across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the U.S.
The ICCF Group, in partnership with the Global Environment Facility and UNEP, is supporting the development of the Namibia caucus, and facilitating its engagement with legislators around the world.
"In the face of highly-valued products such as rhino horn and ivory and the involvement of external criminal syndicates, [current wildlife poaching enforcement measures are] seldom sufficient, and additional components and funds are required." - Deputy Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Environmnet & Tourism
ICCF and NACOPAC are working together to form the Conservation Council of Namibia, a coalition of private sector, NGO, and development stakeholders committed to providing expertise and collaboration with government to tackle conservation challenges.
Citing concerns over the recent spike in wildlife crime in Namibia and the region, Deputy Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Louisa Mupetami, said, "In the face of highly-valued products such as rhino horn and ivory and the involvement of external criminal syndicates, [current wildlife poaching enforcement measures are] seldom sufficient, and additional components and funds are required."Ms. Mupetami indicated that the Ministry of Environment and Tourism would be seeking increased stakeholder engagement on the development of a new National Parks and Wildlife law, judiciary and prosecutor training on wildlife crime,and regional coordination on migratory wildlife populations.
In response to this growing crisis, The ICCF Group, GEF, and UNEP are working with caucuses throughout sub-Saharan Africa to mobilize technical support and additional resources to support local initiatives to strengthen laws and policy, and build the capacity of judicial, prosecutorial and law enforcement officials to combat wildlife crime.