Cross-regional Wildlife Conservation in Eastern and Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean

Bonn, 6 December 2017 – in the margins of the third session of the United Nations Environment Assembly being held in Nairobi this week, a signing ceremony took place setting the seal on a multi-million-Euro project bringing together three United Nations agencies – the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) and CMS.

The project is made up of three focus areas, each being led by one of the agencies.  CITES will lead on strengthening both capacity for enforcing wildlife law and cross-border collaboration in selected transboundary ecosystems, and UNODC will lead on enhancing anti-trafficking efforts, while the main focus for CMS will be on promoting the establishment and sustainable management of transfrontier conservation areas (TFCAs).

The greatest threat to 85 per cent of all the species on the IUCN Red List is habitat loss and fragmentation, and the proportion is likely to be similar for CMS-listed species.  The €2.7 million allocated in the project budget to developing TFCAs will make a considerable contribution to addressing this threat and implementing a policy that lies at the heart of the objectives of CMS.  The decision of which transboundary sites will benefit from project funding will be made at a later date.

Transfrontier Conservation Areas have been defined by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as ‘the area or the component of a large ecological region that straddles the boundaries of two or more countries, encompassing one or more protected areas, as well as multiple resource use areas’.  As well as adopting an ecosystem approach in managing TFCAs, the needs of local inhabitants are therefore taken into account, ensuring that communities benefit from conservation efforts and countering incentives to engage in illegal activities such as poaching.

“Many of the species listed on CMS Appendices occur in the areas that have been identified as priority areas for the establishment of transfrontier conservation areas in Southern and Eastern Africa. It includes flagship CMS animals such as elephants, lions and leopards, as well as cheetahs, the highly endangered African Wild Dog and several bird species,” said Bradnee Chambers, Executive Secretary of CMS.

The main sponsor of the project is the European Commission.  In November 2015, the European Union launched a study “Larger than elephants: inputs for an EU Strategic Approach to Wildlife Conservation in Africa”, which led to the adoption in February 2016 of the EU Action Plan Against Wildlife Trafficking.

A press release that was issued yesterday about the European Union investing 30m Euro to counter the illegal killing and trafficking of wildlife can be found here.

Last updated on 20 February 2018