LATF Presentation | Ivory | Poaching


Lusaka Agreement Task Force’s Mandate and Role in Enforcing Wildlife Laws
T.N Rwegasira Lusaka Agreement Task Force

Highlights on the Lusaka Agreement and the functions of its Task Force [LATF].



Experience and details of some recent data on seizures, investigations and prosecutions


The Way Forward in enhancing cooperation and networking

Lusaka Agreement


• Wildlife LE officers at a conference held in Lusaka Zambia in Dec 1992 pointed out inadequate co-operation as a hindrance to effective combating of international wildlife smuggling syndicates and poaching gangs across the borders,

• Recommended establishment of a multilateral environmental agreement to facilitate efforts aimed at combating cross border wildlife crimes;
• An intergovernmental Agreement for cooperative enforcement operations directed at illegal trade in wild fauna and flora was adopted in Lusaka, Zambia on 8th September 1994 hence “Lusaka Agreement”. • Entered into force December 1996;

Parties to Lusaka Agreement
• There are currently 7 Party States that have ratified the Agreement: Congo -Brazzaville, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia • Three signatories (Ethiopia, South Africa & Swaziland)


The Agreement is open for accession to all African states

Objectives Lusaka Agreement
To reduce and ultimately eliminate illegal trade in wild Fauna and Flora; To establish a permanent Task Force (Lusaka Agreement Task Force-LATF) for the purpose;


The Agreement is aimed at easing the administrative difficulties hampering cross-border efforts to combat illegal trade in wild fauna and flora.

Organs of Lusaka Agreement


GOVERNING COUNCIL Policy & Decision Making

NATIONAL BUREAU National Enforcement & Implementation

TASK FORCE Secretariat & Operational Arm

Organs of Lusaka Agreement
• Governing Council • National Bureau


Policy & decision making body with oversight function in the implementation of the LA

– provide to and receive from the Task Force information on illegal trade; and – coordinate with the Task Force on investigations that involve illegal trade. – networking and collaboration at national level with relevant national agencies – facilitates and monitors the implementation and enforcement of the Agreement – Coordinate multi-level law enforcement and governance within the realms of the Lusaka Agreement.

• Task Force (LATF)

Lusaka Agreement Task Force
• LATF – is a unique permanent intergovernmental law enforcement organization as well as secretariat of the Agreement; • Established in June 1999, in accordance with the provisions of the Lusaka Agreement (under Article 5), has Seat in Nairobi, Kenya ; • Comprises law enforcement officers from Party states and support staff from host country; • Its main function is to coordinate regional efforts aimed at reducing illegal trade in wild fauna and flora in Africa;

The work of the LATF is guided by :
• • • • •


The provisions of the Lusaka Agreement (Lusaka Final Act 1994); Rules Decisions of the Governing Council [GC] ; Specific policies as adopted by its policy-making organ, the GC. Strategic Plan

At national level, Parties are required to incorporate/domesticate the provisions of LA in national legislations.



• Have in the territory of each Party the legal capacity required for the performance of its functions under the Agreement; • Seconded officers retain their enforcement mandate and are accorded international civil servant status; • Seconded officers carry out cross-border operations and investigations in close cooperation with National Bureaus; • To facilitate the Task Force to fulfill its functions , the Agreement gives the Officers necessary immunities and privileges while on official duty



Article 5(9) of the Agreement sets out clearly the functions and responsibilities of the Task Force. These include:
• To facilitate cooperative law enforcement activities among the NBs of the Parties pertaining to illegal trade in wild fauna and flora; To investigate violations of national laws pertaining to illegal trade, and to present to Parties evidence gathered during such investigations; To collect, process and disseminate information on activities that pertain to illegal trade, including establishing and maintaining databases; To provide, upon request of the Parties concerned, available information related to the return to the country of original export, or country of re-export, of confiscated wild fauna and flora;



For the Task Force to fulfill its mandate effectively, it undertakes a number of activities. These include:

• • •

• •

Conducting joint cooperative law enforcement operations with National Bureaus; Participating in international investigations into illegal trade in wild fauna and flora (NBs, WCO, INTERPOL) Gathering intelligence and disseminating intelligence information to Party States and partners; Facilitating establishment of wildlife Intelligence and Investigation Units, National inter-agency collaborative mechanisms and cross border meetings among neighboring countries; Providing regular specialized training courses/workshops on law enforcement Contributing to raising of awareness on the negative effectives of environmental crimes





• Implement specific programmes including wildlife law enforcement &capacity building; • Exchange intelligence and develop strategies for combating illegal wildlife trade; • Funding opportunities

LATF Experience


• Wildlife crime is increasingly becoming organized and transnational in nature; • Mainly committed at two levels;
– local level - by those who engage in poaching and illegal logging to meet their subsistence objectives – international level - involving criminal networks composed of nationals and foreigners for commercial purposes

• Links with other serious and organized crime (document fraud, corruption, possession and use of illegal weapons, money laundering)

LATF Experience
Main specimens seized in or en-route to international illegal Markets (2009-2011):
– – – – Elephant ivory - Central and East Africa countries; Rhino horns - South Africa and Zimbabwe; Live animals especially reptiles and Birds Forest products – African sandalwood and timber

– Mostly Asian business and expatriate communities in Africa; – Rural Africans, business people in Africa and Asia;

Reported incidents of Seized specimens in or en-route to international illegal Markets (2009-2011) Logo
Rhino horns mixed with ivory 9%

Live animals 5%

Forest Products 7%

Elephant Ivory 79%

Total number of reported seizures =58

Ivory seizures 2009-2011
20000 18293.38 16914.88


15000 11178.8 Kg Ivory




5000 2133.5 Kg ivory seized involving Kenya Total wt. of reported seizures



2010 Year


Investigations of the cases
• LATF jointly with NBs and other LEAs investigate the cases;


• Facilitate obtaining of information from the seizing countries to assist in the investigations in the originating countries in Africa;

• The investigations in Africa are complete;
• Extending investigations to and getting evidence from the seizing countries remains a challenge;
– Lack of MUTUAL LEGAL ASSISTANCE and Diplomatic Channels take long time;

• High profile suspects involved are arrested and taken to court;


• The arrested are mainly the middlemen (Africans) who often facilitate the shipment of the contraband;
• The kingpins are not often arrested as they always avoid direct handling of contraband. They operate through proxies or third parties; • Widespread involvement of Asians especially Chinese nationals. Out of 50 suspects recently arrested 13 (32%) were Chinese leaving the continent to China or working in Africa. Two (2) of them were kingpins • Corruption fuels smuggling and impede the prevention and detection of this crime;

Criminal networks
Asian Trader Self Employed or Company worker links up with locals. Buys ivory delivers to local counterpart. Knows the market in Asia Illegal Markert Eg In Asia


African counterpart, with Fake or registered company. Gets license to export e.g fish or sea products. Facilitates the illegal export in his name or company

Market demand in Asia is extremely lucrative: a kilo of ivory bought for US $20 in Africa can fetch over US $1000.

Poacher in/around Protected Area

Middleman ivory buyer

Illegal domestic ivory buyers/carvers

Ivory Destination

Heavily implicated destinations:

Vietnam, China, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia,

Main Vectors
• By Air

 Some high risk air routings
 Direct flights from Africa to Asia;  Flights from Africa to Europe, the Middle East and East Africa with connecting flights to Asia;  Kenyan airport JKIA Nairobi and Addis Ababa in Ethiopia are high risk airports in East Africa;

• By Sea  Mombasa (Kilindini) port (Kenya); Dar es Salaam, Tanga and Zanzibar (Malindi) ports in Tanzania; • Land within Africa

Wildlife trafficking modus operandi


The majority of illegal trade takes place by one/and or combination of the following methods Hiding specimens (Passenger baggage, Cargo • Concealment containers, traffickers’ body, false compartments on vehicles;

• Misdeclaration

Incorrect information on customs documents (art craft, recycle waste plastics, rough game stones, fish maws, sea shells, avocados, dried Anchovies); Use of forged or stolen and recycling of Permits in particular on CITES listed species. This include forging of signatures by export authorized officers; Most common system especially for less Active animals and small items of worked Ivory.

• Permit fraud

• Use of Postal Courier Routes • Diplomatic baggage



Ivory concealed in banana sacks (Uganda 2009)

November 2011, a woman travelled from Uganda had coconut craft at Schinphol airport, Amsterdam. When the coconut x-rayed revealed crafts made of elephant ivory

Worked ivory inside passengers baggage Dar May 2009

24 Ivory (2005.6kg) concealed in sacks of sea shells, Aug.2009 - Zanzibar





727 pieces of ivory concealed in sacks containing plastic scrap declared as plastic scraps. Seized at Mombasa port Dec. 2011 destined to Dubai UAE.

317 tusks (1467kg) destined to Malaysia concealed among avocados- JKIA Nairobi Aug. 2010. declared as Avocados. See Avocados in background of first box-each hole on box had an avocado fruit!


Ivory (5200kg) packed in boxes together with sisal declared as sisal fiber –to Taiwan from Tanzania thru Tanga port seized in Taiwan 2006

Ivory 1701 pcs (4,861kg) packed in boxes placed in the middle of sacks containing plastics declared as recycle waste plastics to Philippines from Tanzania thru Dar port March 2009.

Postal route
Three postal parcels found containing 120 live leopard tortoises, 27 live Nile lizards, 20 live frogs in Hong Kong exported from Tanzania thru KIA– June 2009

Evidence from country of origin

Evidence from Royal Thai Customs 2033kg ivory seized on 23rd February 2011 at Bangkok seaport from Mombasa Kenya

Illegal logging & harvesting of plants



• Inadequate cooperation among agencies


• Inadequate funding for law enforcement activities;
• Lucrative markets (high price) for wild fauna and flora products; • Increasing sophistication of wildlife crime involving well resourced and heavily armed poaching gangs • Corruption, abuse of power and authority


With increasing sophistication of wildlife crime what can LE agencies do to effectively combat it?

Way Forward
• Increased information exchange and intelligence , cooperation and coordination; • Improved institutional cooperation and networking among agencies • Enhanced institutional and personnel capacities for agencies

It (should) not be easy to move a container load of ivory from a country to another when there are such strict regulations. Let’s stamp out collusion among the enforcement agents. Ensuring high ethical standards ,exchange of information, multi-agency & international cooperation is the only sure way of tackling international wildlife crime.

Promoting rule of law and good governance in the states.


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