In line with Article 116 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community, the EAC Partner States undertake to develop a collective and co-ordinate policy for the conservation and sustainable utilisation of wildlife and other tourist sites in the Community, which entails:
- Harmonising their policies for the conservation of wildlife within and outside protected areas;
- Exchanging information and adopt common policies on wildlife management and development;
- Co-ordinating efforts in controlling and monitoring encroachment and poaching activities
Strategy to Combat Poaching, Illegal Trade and Trafficking of Wildlife and Wildlife Products
The EAC Strategy to Combat Poaching, Illegal Trade, and Trafficking of Wildlife and Wildlife Resources was developed through a consultative process and was adopted in 2017.
The Strategy revolves around six strategic objectives, namely,
- strengthening policy and legal frameworks;
- enhancing law enforcement capacities;
- strengthening international and regional collaboration;
- promoting education and public awareness about wildlife crime;
- promoting research development; and
- increasing the capacity of local communities to pursue sustainable livelihoods.
Some of the initiatives that are being implemented under this strategy are:
- formulation of a regional wildlife conservation and management policy;
- economic valuation of wildlife resources in key transboundary landscapes;
- development of Trade in Wildlife Information Exchange (TWIX) System; and
- enhancing the capacity of wildlife law enforcement officials.
Draft Regional Policy on Wildlife Conservation and Management
With support from USAID, the EAC has developed a draft Regional Policy on Wildlife Conservation and Management. The draft policy was validated by Experts and submitted to the 10th Meeting of the Sectoral Council on Tourism and Wildlife Management for consideration. Further consultations on the Draft Policy have taken place and will be resubmitted to the 11th Meeting of the Sectoral Council on Tourism and Wildlife Management.
Economic Valuation of Natural Capital in priority Transboundary Wildlife Landscapes
With support from USAID, the EAC undertook an Economic Valuation of Natural Capital in priority Transboundary Wildlife Landscapes. The landscapes that were prioritized are:
- Great East African Plains (Kenya-Tanzania) (129,634 km2);
- Northern Savannahs (Kenya-Uganda-South Sudan) (48,841km2);
- Albertine Rift Forests (Burundi-Rwanda-Uganda-DRC) (7772 km2) and
- Rweru-Mugesera-Akagera Wetlands (Burundi-Rwanda-Tanzania) (2,968 km2).
The Report and Action Plan provides areas of action and recommendations to be implemented at the landscape, national and regional levels including pilot projects in each of the landscapes that should be implemented within the short and medium term. These are aimed at forestalling the value of the landscapes.
Participation at IUCN African Protected Areas Congress
With support from Convention on Migratory Species and IUCN, EAC successfully participated at the IUCN African Protected Areas Congress that took place in Kigali from 18th – 23rd July 2022. APAC was a great opportunity for the EAC Secretariat and Partner States to be part of forging a new vision for Africa’s invaluable natural heritage that celebrates and elevates the role of biodiversity as an integral part of Africa’s sustainable development path to the future. EAC was able to share lessons learned and to learn from best practices in management and governance of protected and conserved areas in Africa.
Establishment of an EAC Transboundary Wildlife Conservation Areas Network
The 10th Meeting of the Sectoral Council on Tourism and Wildlife Management considered and approved a concept note on the establishment of an EAC Transboundary Wildlife Conservation Areas Network.
The Goal and Objectives of the EAC Transboundary Wildlife Conservation Areas Network are to:
- establish a dynamic, inclusive network that will provide a platform for quick information exchange and to facilitate collaboration on transboundary wildlife conservation areas at all levels;
- support the work of the Sectoral Committees by facilitating information exchange and providing technical support to the functions of the TWG;
- connect and link with the various complementary initiatives in these priority landscapes; and
- assist the EAC Partner States catalyse additional technical partnerships and funding to support conservation activities in the priority transboundary landscapes.
IUCN and Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) have expressed willingness and readiness to support the establishment of the network.