President Mokgweetsi Masisi will tomorrow travel to London, at the invitation of the Government of the United Kingdom, to attend the Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference: London 2018 scheduled for the 10th to 12th October 2018.
A statement from the Ministry of International Affairs and Cooperation said the conference provides the necessary platform for Masisi to share Botswana’s experiences and successes in dealing with illegal wildlife trade. The Conference, which is expected to bring together global leaders to help eradicate illegal wildlife trade and better protect the world’s most iconic species from the threat of extinction, will focus on three key themes: Tackling illegal wildlife trade (IWT) as a serious organized crime; Building coalitions and closing markets.
Botswana has, along with several other countries, committed to taking decisive and urgent action to tackle the illegal wildlife trade in endangered fauna and flora. This is in recognition of the significant scale and detrimental economic, social and environmental consequences of the illegal trade in wildlife. As a result, Botswana has, over the years, made a number of policy advances to promote wildlife management and conservation.
The President will be accompanied by Dr Unity Dow, the Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation; Tshekedi Khama, Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism; and senior government officials. The President and his entourage will return to Botswana on 13th October 2018.
The Duke of Cambridge is to give the keynote speech at an international conference on tackling illegal wildlife trade. The Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference is being hosted by the UK Government in London to try and find ways to address the criminal trade, which is worth billions of pounds a year.
Illegal trade in animals, body parts, plants and timber is the fourth most lucrative transnational crime after drugs, weapons and human trafficking. It endangers important wildlife, from elephants killed for their tusks to rare trees illegally cut down for their valuable timber, and damages the security and prosperity of countries, preventing them from developing sustainably, it is warned.
The conference, attended by heads of states and officials, wildlife charities, academics and businesses, is focusing on building coalitions, tackling the trade as an organised crime and shutting down markets for illegal products. It is the fourth international meeting on the issue, after events in London in 2014, Kasane, in Botswana, in 2015 and Hanoi, Vietnam, in 2016. William will also join an evening reception with his brother the Duke of Sussex, at St James’ Palace to officially open the conference. He will hold meetings with political leaders and attend a meeting of the Elephant Protection Initiative, which is the response by African governments to the elephant poaching crisis.
He has recently completed a seven-day visit to Namibia, Tanzania and Kenya to visit projects and highlight issues around illegal wildlife trade.