The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has welcomed the Global Environment Facility (GEF-6) biodiversity strategy approved at the on-going fifth GEF assembly in Mexico, a statement said on Friday.
The statement said the GEF-6 Biodiversity Strategy would be implemented under the sixth replenishment of the GEF Trust Fund.
“The strategy encompasses four objectives and is composed of 10 programmes. The second objective of the GEF-6 Biodiversity strategy (BD2) is to reduce threats to globally significant biodiversity.
“Programme three, under this objective, is aimed at preventing the extinction of known threatened species. This programme recognises that illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife parts is an emerging driver of biodiversity loss’’ and “that poaching at the current scale undermines the rule of law and economy generally”.
The statement quoted CITES Secretary-General John Scanlon as saying: “This GEF-6 biodiversity strategy responds to the immediate threat posed by poaching and smuggling to the survival of known threatened species in the wild.
“Poaching and smuggling of the survival of known threatened species which is being increasingly carried out at an industrial scale by organised transnational criminal gangs.
“Access to additional financing to help reverse these trends is essential and CITES applauds the GEF for its timely and innovative response to this crisis which poses a threat to wildlife, people, economies and security,” he added.
The statement said that the programme would support strengthening decision making.
“GEF will strengthen the decision making process, including legislation and its implementation, strategic planning and capacity of national agencies in Africa engaged in reducing poaching and illegal trade of tusks, horns and associated by-products.
“GEF will also complement anti-poaching work in Africa through a similar array of interventions at source sites for rhino and elephants and other wildlife in Asia,” it said.
According to the statement, the CITES Secretariat is in discussions with GEF implementing agencies on how to further assist parties.