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Ma Aiguo, Deputy Director of the CITES MA ©️TRAFFIC
Two workshops to raise awareness of illegal wildlife trade and its links to wildlife conservation were held last month to engage the Chinese business community and individuals living in Mozambique and Zambia.
The events took place with the support of the Chinese Embassy in Mozambique and in Zambia, China’s State Forestry and Grassland Administration (SFGA), China’s CITES Management Authority (CITES MA), China’s General Administration of Customs, WWF and TRAFFIC.
Over 200 Chinese national representatives from state-owned enterprises, private enterprises and the Chinese community and WWF local offices attended the workshops. Ma Aiguo, Deputy Director of the CITES MA, Zhang Xiangyao, Chargé D’affaires, Embassy of China in Mozambique, and Chen Shijie, Counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Zambia, officials from CITES Management Authorities of Mozambique and Zambia and Ministry of Land, Environment and Rural Development of Mozambique made the opening remarks at the workshops respectively.
Both Mozambique and Zambia have rich wildlife resources and high forest coverage, which has set up opportunities for bilateral collaboration on wildlife conservation issues with China. In recent years, Mozambique and Zambia experienced rampant poaching resulting in loss of large numbers of endangered species, such as rhinos, elephants, and pangolins. Meanwhile, the abundant timber resources in Mozambique and Zambia were threatened by illegal logging and trafficking.
Wildlife poaching and trafficking involving African elephants, rhinoceroses, pangolins and endangered timber species have been interlinked with contextual issues such as poverty, drug trafficking, money laundering and regional security. Ma Aiguo, Deputy Director of the CITES MA, said at the workshop: “Wildlife protection is a shared responsibility of China and Africa. China is vigorously advancing the construction of ecological civilization, improving legislation and management, strengthening supervision and law enforcement, carrying out education training, and expanding international exchange and co-operation in order to enhance wildlife conservation at domestic, regional and global levels, and has made some progress and achievements. Especially in terms of the trade and use of endangered species such as ivory and rhino horn, China has adopted the most stringent controls measures to minimise demand.’’
Representatives of the Chinese Embassy in Mozambique and in Zambia mentioned in their speeches that the protection of biodiversity and endangered species is an important part of China-Africa co-operation. At the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit held in Johannesburg in December 2015, President Xi Jinping issued a position statement on China towards Africa, and the Johannesburg Action Plan jointly proposed strengthening wildlife conservation measures and emphasising that China’s investment will never let African wildlife resources pay the price.
The Deputy Director of the CITES MA Fuzhou Office, Luo Chunmao, and the Director of the National Financial and Economic Affairs Department of SFGA, gave presentations on comprehensive introduction of the current policies related to endangered species and forest products, and in-depth analysis of international illegal wildlife trade trends, covering all aspects of CITES implementation and management and how to respond effectively to the current situation of illegal trade in wildlife and forest products.
Regulatory Division Director of the General Administration of China Customs General Administration, Zhou Yachun, and Deputy Director of the Anti-smuggling Bureau, Ouyang Xinfa, introduced China’s enforcement efforts regarding import and export of endangered wild animals and plants in China. They highlighted examples of trafficking, using case studies involving the smuggling of illegal wildlife products by Chinese citizens in order to raise awareness among such citizens in Africa. A key message was not to purchase and carry ivory, rhinoceros horns, precious timber and other endangered species and their products back to China.
Xu Ling, Acting Director of TRAFFIC’s China office, gave an overview of trade in endangered wildlife and forest products between China and Africa. She stated: “In the framework of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum and China’s ‘One Belt and One Road’ initiative, these workshops to engage Chinese nationals in African countries are critical to support wider efforts by China to support wildlife conservation in Africa. The implementation of China’s ivory trade ban should provide an inspirational turning point to reverse the drastic decline of African Elephant populations.’’
Li Pengyu, Senior Programme Officer with WWF China, emphasized that Chinese companies should adopt best practices for sustainable forest management to curb the illegal timber trade between China and Africa and promote sustainable trade in Dalbergia spp. and other tropical hardwood resources.
1. CITES is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.