Environmental crimes and corruption emerged as top challenges affecting Africa’s efforts to combat ecosystem degradation at the special session of the African Ministerial Conference of the Environment (AMCEN) in Kenya’s capital Nairobi.
Delegates bemoaned lack of political will and indifference in tackling rampant wildlife crimes in Southern and East Africa, where prosecution of such offenders is fraught with numerous challenges.
Other problems include illegal logging mostly in central African forests in Gabon, DRC, C.A.R and Congo where illegal mining and fishing is rife, especially in the Great Lakes region.
Former AMCEN president Khaled FAHMY explained how the AMCEN secretariat is turning the decisions and policies into actions and tangible results.
“AMCEN should be reformed. It should become self-dependent and should have it’s own resources. It should have its own experts and access to international experts as well so that we can get the best knowledge and disseminate the best knowledge to our ministries and to our executing bodies back home,’‘ Khaled said.
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said it has already partnered with the Africa Prosecutors Association to create training manuals and curricula on environmental crime prosecution.
They will also help countries integrate environmental crime education in the training curricula of police and prosecutors, in order to enhance their capacity to investigate and prosecute cases.
Such training has already started in Uganda.