Ecowas set to adopt Regulation on wild species

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The Ecowas Commission’s Division of Environment and Climate Change has sought the opinion and consideration of the Community parliament as part of an ongoing process to adopt a regulation on combating the exploitation and illegal trade of wild species in West Africa.

Ecowas Council of Ministers, in charge of Forestry and Wildlife, developed and approved adopting a regulation on the mechanism to combat the exploitation and illegal trade of wild species in West Africa.

At two videoconferences in 2020 and 2023, the ministers recommended such a referral be presented to Ecowas Parliamentarians for consideration and opinion.

And presenting the referral to the Ecowas Parliament Joint Committee on Agriculture, the Environment and Natural Resources/ Legal Affairs and Human Rights/ Social Affairs, Gender and Women Empowerment at the ongoing Ecowas Parliament’s 2023 Second Ordinary Session in Abuja, Yao Bernard Koffi, Head of Environment and Climate Change Division, Ecowas Commission said the Regulation is developed in line with the vision and mission of the Ecowas Region to protect the species for future generations.

He told the joint committee that the objective of this draft regulation is to establish a legal framework and institutional work to reduce and combat the overhunting in member states through regional cooperation.

Under this draft regulation, “Crime” covers acts contrary to national laws and rules to protect natural resources and administer their management and use. It may include the illegal exploitation of natural resources, such as poaching an elephant, unauthorized felling of trees, or fishing protected species of fish without a license.

All Ecowas states must adopt and implement a national control strategy for wildlife-related criminal activities. It should set up special national teams, composed of representatives of all authorities at all levels, to combat the activities.

Committee members, including Laadi Ayii Ayamba of Ghana and InombekAbiante of Nigeria, believe the effective implementation of the Regulation will depend on the political will of member states as they equally share concerns with its implementation, considering member states diverse preferential species.

The Ecowas Commission and Member States shall have two years from the entry into force of this Regulation to set up the Legislative and institutional arrangements for combating wildlife crime and to adopt implementation measures.

For its consideration and opinion, the committee also received referrals on the draft regulation on the Harmonization of the Regulation of Plastic Products, the environmentally sound management of plastic waste within Ecowas Member States, and the draft regulation on environmental and social assessment within Ecowas.

The joint committee will present its reports to the plenary for further consideration and adoption.

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