Customs Authorities in China and Congo Basin meet online to devise strategies to counter illegal wildlife and timber trade
Beijing, China, November 2020—earlier this month, customs officers from China, Cameroon and Republic of the Congo met online during an event entitled “International Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) and Timber Trade Governance Meeting for China-Congo Basin Countries Customs Authorities.” Delegates made firm commitments on intelligence sharing and joint trans-boundary law enforcement actions and spoke about illegal wildlife trade issues related to Chinese businesses operating in Africa.
Meetings between customs authorities in China and Congo Basin Countries have been ongoing since 2017. In March 2019, representatives from Cameroon Customs attended a workshop on “Combating Smuggling of Endangered Species Asia-Africa” held in Suzhou, China, which further strengthened trans-boundary law enforcement networking and collaboration and helped establish regular communication between the two sides. This year’s meeting was moved online owing to the COVID-19 pandemic which effectively stopped international travel.
During the virtual meeting, officials from each country spoke about the latest policies and measures related to illegal wildlife and timber trade, and spoke about future law enforcement collaboration and training opportunities. The latest advice from the World Customs Organization’s Guidelines on illegal wildlife and timber trade and their implementation was covered by TRAFFIC.
The meeting developed some firms action points and identified focal points. For Cameroon, Mr Etienne Sama II, Senior Customs Inspector; Head of the Customs Intelligence and Documentation Unit and Director of the WCO RILO-CA and from the Republic of the Congo: Mr Yvon Otongo, National Correspondent of the WCO RILO-CA.
“TRAFFIC is maximising its engagement with the African Union (AU) Action Plan and identifying appropriate engagement opportunities between China and African countries on wildlife crime issues,” said James Compton, TRAFFIC’s Senior Director for the Asia Pacific region.
“The virtual meeting format has provided a platform under the current COVID-19 related travel restrictions to enhance international law enforcement co-operation for cracking down on wildlife trafficking.”
This virtual meeting was funded by the UK Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), and also supported by the German Government’s Partnership against Poaching and Illegal Wildlife Trade (in Africa and Asia), implemented by GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).
Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office. Find out more about them here.
Germany’s Partnership against Poaching and Illegal Wildlife Trade (Ivory and Rhino-Horn) in Africa and Asia, 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), through TRAFFIC’s project DETER.