TWIX platform introduced to the Horn of Africa Wildlife Enforcement Network
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 20th March 2020—earlier this month, TRAFFIC presented on the Trade in Wildlife Information eXchange (TWIX) platform at the request of the Horn of Africa Wildlife Enforcement Network (HAWEN) during the Network's third executive committee meeting held in Addis Ababa.
TWIX platforms consist of a centralised website which holds records on national, regional and international wildlife seizures, and a mailing list which allows enforcement officials to communicate, seek assistance and alert one another about relevant enforcement actions.
"One of the challenges that HAWEN is facing in the fight against illegal wildlife trade is lack of information sharing and species identification skills for enforcement agencies. Therefore, adopting the TWIX platform will bridge this gap and stimulate collaboration in our region" said Daniel Pawlos, Director, Wildlife and Wildlife Products Trafficking Control Directorate, Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA).
Dr. Debalkew Berhe, Programme Manager, Environment Protection, IGAD Secretariat explained that the Executive Committee has agreed to take a two-week consultative period to formulate a response from HAWEN to the IGAD Secretariat on how it will to go forward with TWIX.
The meeting brought together participants from HAWEN’s IGAD Member States, namely, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia and Uganda, the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture (DREA) of the African Union Commission (AUC) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Observers from other organisations included representatives of the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), the US mission to Ethiopia, as well as from the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and TRAFFIC.
“TRAFFIC commends the HAWEN Executive Committee for recognizing the value of TWIXs in the fight against illegal wildlife trade.” said Julie Thomson, TRAFFIC Director of East Africa.
This awareness workshop on TWIX for the Horn of Africa region would not have been possible without the generous support provided to TRAFFIC by a United States Department of State Federal Assistance Award. TRAFFIC is further very grateful for the warm hosting of the meeting provided by the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture (DREA) of the African Union Commission (AUC), as well as for the great support provided by all staff of AUC/DREA, of the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA) and of the Regional Environment Office for East Africa and the Western Indian Ocean at the Embassy of the United States of America for their kind and much welcomed logistics support in Addis Ababa. Additional staff time of TRAFFIC was kindly supported by Germany’s ‘Partnership against Poaching and Illegal Wildlife Trade’, implemented by GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), by WWF France, as well as by the USAID supported project ‘Conserving Natural Capital and Enhancing Collaborative Management of Transboundary Resources in East Africa’ – CONNECT.
 The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is one of eight African Regional Economic Communities (RECs) recognised by the African Union (https://igad.int). The IGAD regions spans across eight Member States, i.e. Djibouti, Eritrea (readmission pending), Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda. HAWEN is a Specialized Network of IGAD to strengthen and coordinate IGAD Member States’ efforts to combat illegal wildlife trade in the Horn of Africa Region.