Combating Forestry and Wildlife Crimes through Strengthened Policies and Legal Processes – National Workshop in Malawi
Combating Forestry and Wildlife Crimes through Strengthened Policies and Legal Processes – National Workshop in Malawi September 28th, Lilongwe Malawi. Malawi’s national parks and its wildlife generate important revenues. Nature-based tourism generates local jobs and has been estimated to contribute to 2.7% of GDP (PEI, 2011). Forest resources provide livelihood opportunities for a majority of Malawians, especially women and also meet 93% of the national energy demand. However, the unsustainable use of forest resources, poaching and encroachment is putting pressure on these valuable resource decreasing the economic return derived.
Effective natural resource governance requires the involvement of a broad range of stakeholders. On September 28th , the UNDP-UN Environment Poverty-Environment Initiative, together with the Centre for Environment Policy and Advocacy (CEPA), UNDP Malawi, the Malawi Parliamentary Conservation Caucus (MPCC), in partnership with the International Conservation Caucus Foundation (ICCF) Malawi, and Lilongwe Wildlife Trust, held a national stakeholders’ workshop on ‘Combating Forestry and Wildlife Crimes through Strengthened Policies and Legal Processes’ bringing together traditional leaders, CSOs, government and development partners.
The meeting discussed the current rate of forestry and wildlife crimes and the status of the revision of the national forest and wildlife policy and legislation frameworks. UNDP-UN Environment PEI is supporting the review of these policies to ensure that they take on an integrated approach to environmental sustainability and poverty reduction. The meeting brought out some important policy issues including the unrealistic penalties for wildlife related crimes, limited implementation of legislation, lack of harmonization of policy frameworks for related sectors and limited accountability and transparency in the revenue collected from forestry and wildlife products. The stakeholders pulled together a set of key priorities and recommendations for the Government of Malawi, which will be submitted to the Task force currently working to update the wildlife policy and its accompanying legislation.
The meeting urged parliamentarians, traditional leaders, and politicians to take action, to ensure the approval of the revised wildlife and forestry policies and facilitate the review of related acts. With support from the PEI, the revised national wildlife policy has been harmonised with related sector policies and reflects the concerns of local communities including community benefit sharing and compensation mechanisms following a series of community consultation processes across the country.
The meeting also drew attention to the issues in local media. Sunday Times published the article ‘Bulls eye on forestry and wildlife governance Malawi’ on October 03rd 2015.
For additional information about the meeting: www.lilongwewildlife.org/WFGconference280915