Malawi supports UNTOC Protocol on combating illicit wildlife trafficking

Malawi is the fourth country in the world to make a public statement in support of prevention and combating of illicit wildlife trafficking to be embedded into the international criminal law framework in the form of a Fourth Protocol under the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC).

The statement – read out on Wednesday in Lilongwe – follows a 6th January, 2022, announcement by President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera that Malawi would join Angola, Costa Rica and Gabon in promoting an additional Protocol under UNTOC.

The statement, which the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture, Dr. Michael Usi read, actually contains remarks Chakwera made when he announced Malawi’s intention to promote a Fourth Protocol under UNTOC on preventing and combating illicit wildlife trafficking.

Reads in part Chakwera’s announcement, “We are aware that wildlife crime is a highly organised transnational phenomenon and no single country can successfully eradicate it on its own. But we are determined to do our part. We can no longer stand by as we witness the destruction of our nation’s natural heritage.”

And speaking to journalists after reading the statement, Usi reiterated the president’s remarks, adding that illicit wildlife trafficking must not be entertained for it is exploiting poor nations.

“The chemistry of trafficking in general is that it is the rich who benefit. The proceeds of stolen wildlife products go to rich countries, leaving poor countries like Malawi without resources to provide social services. So, as a country, we really need to support for a Fourth Protocol under UNTOC,” Usi said.

Currently, UNTOC has only three existing protocols, namely; trafficking in persons, migrant smuggling and firearms trafficking.

Minister Michael Usi and other dignitaries

It is anticipated that the Fourth Protocol, once created, will specifically focus on preventing and combating illicit wildlife trafficking and bring similar benefits, like the other three Protocols, in providing a legally binding instrument to stop the illicit trafficking in wild fauna and flora.

Therefore, the UN Resident Coordinator to Malawi, Rudolf Schwenk, promptly welcomed Malawi’s public statement, saying the Fourth Protocol will significantly help in addressing existing gaps in international legal frameworks for combating wildlife crime and regulating wildlife trade.

“This is an important call as Malawi is one of the countries that faces the threats of wildlife crime. The increased trends in poaching of animals such as elephants and pangolins are very worrying and largely influenced by a growing demand for their ivory and scales on the international black market,” Schwenk Said.

In his remarks, co-chairperson of Malawi Parliamentary Conservation Caucus, Werani Chilenga, concurred with Schwenk, adding that illicit wildlife crime undermines development and represents one of the greatest threats to biodiversity, upon which “we all rely upon for our very survival”.

“It is important to understand the nature of such crimes, which are not simply committed by the poacher from the local village, but rather facilitated by organised criminal networks. The killing of wildlife and destruction of forests has become industrial in its scope and scale. Unaccounted billions of kwacha are lost as a result of such wildlife trafficking, which is accompanied by the hallmarks of collusion, intimidation and violence,” said Chilenga, who is also the Chairperson for the Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Climate Change.


Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :

Sharing is caring!

Follow us in Twitter
Read previous post:
Malawi given EUR12.5m from EIB Global support for private sector support

Malawi is among African countries to benefit from EUR62 million, which the European Investment Bank (EIB) Global has released to accelerate...