Elephant poaching in Central Africa: a threat to sub regional security, Ban Khi Moon sends out an appeal

 

On the occasion of the 36th ministerial meeting of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa (UNSAC), held in Kigali, Rwanda from 20 to 22 August 2013, the phenomenon of elephant poaching in Central Africa once more grabbed attention.

 

At the conferencewhere Statesmet to discusssecurity issuesin Africa, Gabon placed the issueof elephant poachingonthe agenda as a looming threat to peace in the subregion. In a report on the issue, experts from Gabon provided an account of the proportions the phenomenon of elephant poaching has taken since 2012. The number killed is estimated at more than half a thousand and the Asian market is fingered as the main driver of poaching due to its strong demand for tusks. This disaster with epicenters in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad and Gabon, has prompted ECCAS to establish two emergency action plans and an anti-poaching strategy in Central Africa plans. The plans rely on "cross-border cooperation" between ECCAS countries to combat poaching and protect sites with  high elephant population density such as the Dja-Odzala-Minkébé complex (TRIDOM), which is shared by Cameroon , Congo and Gabon, spans 141,000 km2, and counts about 40,000 elephants.

 

This phenomenon which stands as a threat to peace in the sub-region, similar to civil wars and piracy, led the UN SG Ban Khi Moon to break the silence to reiterate his commitment to fight against the phenomenon. He urged States to wage a relentless war against the phenomenon, in a message that was read at the meeting by his Special Representative for Central Africa, Abou Moussa said: "We must vigorously fightthis illegal andintolerable activity, especially in lightof itsalleged role inthe illicit financingofsome rebelgroups."

 

The meeting provided an opportunity to look into security issues in Central Africa, and paved the way for States to adopt resolutions to establish peace in the region.

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