PUBLIC AFFAIRS SECTION
For Immediate Release September 27, 2019
U.S. Government Works with Angola’s Attorney General Office to Combat Wildlife Crime
October 8, 2019, Luanda, Angola – Today, Greg Segas, chargé d’affaires in Angola, delivered remarks at the opening session of the Introduction to Wildlife Crime for Prosecutors Workshop at the Doce Mar Complex in Cabo Ledo in the Province of Luanda.
The United States Embassy in partnership with TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, and the Angolan Attorney General’s Office and the Ministry of Environment with input from the Elephant Protection Initiative (EPI) will host a two-day workshop on combatting wildlife crime. 22 state prosecutors from all 18 provinces of Angola and illegal wildlife trade subject matter experts will participate in the training.
Protecting biodiversity and combating wildlife crime in Southern Africa are critical policy priorities for the United States. As part of the current U.S. Government supported Southern Africa Combating Wildlife Crime program, the United States is investing approximately USD 65 million across four priority landscapes in southern African landscapes, including the Kavango-Zambezi (KAZA) Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA) of which southeast Angola is an integral part.
The U.S. government partners with Angola through the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Combating Wildlife Crime in Namibia and the KAZA Area Project, the sponsor of this workshop, to strengthen enforcement capacity and community action. The project is a five-year (2017-2022), $17.6 million, multi-country initiative implemented by a group of 12 organizations. These organizations are led by the World Wildlife Fund -Namibia, which seeks to counter growing threats from transnational wildlife crime to globally important populations of rhino and elephant found in northwest Namibia and the KAZA TFCA.
As chargé d’affaires for the U.S. Embassy, Greg Segas noted in his remarks, “Wildlife is the foundation for nature-based tourism, which means it contributes to economic growth and supports livelihoods in a sustainable fashion. However, the illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products is pushing some of the world’s most iconic species toward extinction, while driving a lucrative criminal industry that fuels instability in countries around the world.
Ultimately, the loss of wildlife and security at the hands of these criminals erodes both the tools and the prospects for sustainable development.”
The aim of the Prosecutors Workshop is to enhance awareness of the seriousness of wildlife crime, strengthen prosecution capacity to increase prosecution rates, and enhance the ability of prosecutors to build cases that result in higher penalties associated with organized crime, money laundering, and income tax evasion, thus creating stronger punitive measures for wildlife crime.
The chargé d’affaires closed with recognition of the cooperation and partnership with the Government of Angola, noting Parliament’s approval of the revisions to the penal code criminalizing poaching and trafficking. “Together, let us send an strong message that Angola will not tolerate wildlife poaching and trafficking. The United States shares your vision for a peaceful and prosperous future for generations to come.”