United Kingdom Border Force (UKBF) in collaboration with Lilongwe Wildlife Trust (LWT) are training 25 officials from Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA), Immigration and Malawi Police Service (MPS) on Convention of International Trade of Enlisted Species (CITES) and wildlife crime investigation.
The training started yesterday and it is expected to end on February 08. It is taking place at Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe district.
CITES is a multilateral treaty that protects endangered plants and animals. It entered into force in 1975 and Malawi became a signatory in 1982.
Speaking during the opening of the training, CITES and Wildlife Crime Expert also Higher Officer of UKBF, Guy Clarke said the training aims to raise awareness of CITES.
“Through the training, we intend to add knowledge about CITES enforcement to MRA, Immigration and MPS officials especially those who are at border and airport posts,” Said Clarke.
He added that the training also seeks to encourage enforcement partners to work together to combat wildlife crime for example, illegal logging and smuggling of endangered species.
According to the Director for DNPW, Brighton Kumchedwa, there was need to ensure that officials from the targeted government departments are well equipped with detection skills in identifying specimen of endangered species at border areas and airports.
“In as much as government and partners are doing well in combating wildlife crime, there are still some gaps that stand as stumbling blocks in as far as curbing wildlife crime is concerned. Among which is officer’s lack of detection skills in identifying specimen of endangered species such as ivory. Hence the need for this training,” Kumchedwa said.
He added that the knowledge that these officials will attain from the training will enable them in reinforcing the enforcement of the law.
MRA Deputy Commissioner, Patrick Kachingwe said the training will bring insight to MRA officials to enforce one of their duties of promoting legal trade and protecting wildlife.
“Apart from collecting revenue, protecting environment and society, counteracting fraud and tax evasion and collecting trade statistics, it is also the role of MRA to facilitate legitimate trade and travel. This includes combating wildlife smuggling,” said Kachingwe.
Kachingwe noted that combating wildlife crime will, later, promote tourism which will bring more revenue to the country.
The training is being run with funding from US Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs in conjunction with LWT.