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Govt to train locals to combat poaching

06 November 2013, 19:29 Kelvin Wanjohi

Attorney general, Professor Githu Muigai on Wednesday said that the government will train and involve local communities in the fight against Environmental crime and reassured Kenyans of the government’s commitment towards combating poaching and wildlife conservation.

Speaking at UNEP headquarters in Nairobi where UNEP was announcing its partnership with INTERPOL to fight environmental crime, Prof. Muigai said that a paramilitary anti-poaching unit has been set up which comprises the disciplined forces, KWS, the GSU and administration policemen.

INTERPOL and UNEP are working together to enhance environmental compliance and enforcement at the national level and across borders.

The AG said that the government is training 1000 local citizens and dispatch them to areas that have of late been hit by extensive poaching among them, Tsavo, Narok, Isiolo, Eastern Kenya and parts of Laikipia District.

He said that it is sad that the country is losing its wildlife at an alarming rate, with 64 rhinos and over 90 elephants having been killed in the past one and a half years.

“The government is greatly concerned about the wildlife sector and is committed to ensure that poaching ceases, and will impose stiff penalties to those arrested by strengthening the legal framework.

Environmental crime affects all sectors of society and is often linked with the exploitation of disadvantaged communities, human rights abuses, violence, conflict, money laundering, corruption and international criminal syndicates.

Wildlife crime alone is estimated to be worth USD $15 - 20 billion annually and is recognized as the fourth largest global illegal trade after illegal drugs, human trafficking and trade armaments.

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) estimates that up to 14,000 tonnes of CFCs, worth approximately USD $60 million were smuggled into developing countries annually until 2006.

UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner, said "Theft of natural resources by a few people at the expense of the many is rapidly emerging as a new challenge to poverty eradication, sustainable development and a transition towards an inclusive Green Economy when one looks at the scale and breadth of these criminal activities”.

“Interpol along with United Nations bodies such as the UN Office on Drugs and Crime is at the forefront of the response to this challenge and UNEP is committed to supporting their work and the evolution of the rule of law into the realm of environment and sustainability,” he added.

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