A National Workshop on the Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) and sustainable wildlife management in Solomon Islands was successfully convened by the MECDM through Environment & Conservation Division with its key stakeholders on 21st and 22nd of this month.
The two days’ workshop was purposely organised to raise awareness on CITES requirements to ensure sustainable management of International wildlife trade in Solomon Islands. In addition to also ensure wildlife exporters/dealers comply and relevant management authorities understanding and enforcement of Wildlife Protection and Management Act 1998 (Amendment) 2017 to fully implement CITES.
Speaking at the opening of the workshop, Mr. Joe Horokou.,the Director of Environment and Conservation highlighted priorities, challenges and the need to work together(by both traders, resource owners & responsible authorities) to ensure sustainable management and the efficient & effective administration of laws that govern wildlife trade and management.
Some of the challenges highlighted by the Director includes knowledge gaps on CITES and NON CITES requirements, limited enforcement of legislative requirements under Wildlife Protection and Management Act 1998 (Amendment) 2017, lack of Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to combat illegal or suspected wildlife trade incidences, limited capacity building targeting relevant technical and compliance skills set for enforcement, species identification and need to improve management programs including captive breeding models.
The workshop has delivered on its objectives and also helped in developing a compliance system that will be used by both wildlife traders and relevant enforcement authorities. It also introduced and reiterated relevant CITES requirements to Government Authorities & Wildlife Traders and identified key responsibilities of CITES Management Authorities(Ministry of Fisheries & Marine Resources, Ministry of Agriculture & Ministry of Forestry & Research); emphasized on legal requirements, including permitting systems, compliance and networking to ensure CITES obligations were satisfied without compromising the ability of Government, Wildlife traders & Resources Owners community to fully benefit from their resources.
Through the workshop relevant authorities were able to identify and re-established their roles/responsibilities, discussed issues/challenges and made important recommendations which targeted the strengthening of compliance and enforcement. It was agreed that relevant SOPs and MOUs between respective agencies/authorities are to be revisited and strengthened to ensure effective and efficient delivery in administration of the Wildlife Protection & Management Act.
Solomon Islands ratified the CITES in 2007 and developed a category one (1) legal instrument as the Wildlife Protection & Management(Amendment) 2017 which fully implemented the Convention’s provisions. This workshop is an ongoing effort by MECDM to ensure sustainable management of its resources through wildlife trade.