Nairobi, Kenya, 4th July 2016—
East African member states will establish a Secretariat to oversee the effective implementation of the Zanzibar Declaration and Bi-Lateral Timber
Trade Agreements, with Zambia also requesting to become a signatory.
The announcements came following a meeting hosted by the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and WWF Kenya to build on the commitments made in the Zanzibar Declaration on Illegal Trade in Timber and Forest
Products that was finalized and signed in September last year at the XIV World Forestry Congress in Durban, South Africa.
The member states of the Zanzibar Declaration—Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique, Madagascar, and mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar—under the umbrella of Southern African Development Community and the East African Community, last week agreed on key actions.
• Creation of a Secretariat to implement the Declaration more effectively and to manage the day-to-day activities pertaining to implementation.
• Establishment of a Steering Committee (SC) composed of high-level officials with the capacity to ensure political and government buy-in to implement the agreed Declaration actions. The SC will include specialized sub-committees comprised of members with technical knowledge (e.g. forestry, law enforcement, customs) to facilitate implementation of a Regional Action Plan.
“These action points were arrived at after analysing common challenges faced by countries involved in timber trade, looking at current initiatives and deliberating on future actions to be taken,” said Julie Thomson, Head of TRAFFIC’s East Africa Office.
As the host country of this year’s forum, KFS agreed to host the Secretariat for 2016-2017, with TRAFFIC and WWF providing financial and technical support to help finalize the Regional Action Plan.
“The Zanzibar Declaration was a huge step forward in regional efforts to address the illegal timber trade that robs local communities and national governments of significant income each year. Now those commitments are in place, today is the time to turn the Declaration’s words into action,” added Geoffrey Mwanjela, WWF’s Regional Forest
Programme Coordinator for Eastern Africa.
The 4th Annual East Africa Timber Trade Stakeholders’ Forum took place last week in Nairobi, Kenya, and was organized by TRAFFIC and WWF.