“Each and every species of wildlife whether it be birds, mammals, reptiles, insects and plants have the right to exist in this world, if we fail to protect nature, then nature will inevitably seek to take its revenge.
This is the statement from Mr Joe Horokou, Director of Environment and Conservation Division when speaking at the opening of a consultation workshop to look into a draft report on Rapid Assessment: Criminal justice response to wildlife and forest crimes in the Solomon Islands.
The objective of the workshop is to review the draft report and to receive feedback from all relevant national agencies and stakeholders on the effectiveness of the criminal justice response in combating crimes relating to wildlife and forests in the country.
Mr Horokou said given the limited criminal justice resources and capacity, the Government through the ECD in the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology is aware of the growing concerns on illegal exploitation and trade in wildlife and timber and is strengthening enforcement and compliance of relevant legislations.
The State of Environment Report noted that illegal activities relating to the exploitation and trade of wildlife and timber has also led to huge loss of biodiversity and forest degradation.
“As custodians of our natural environment it is our duty to address the ongoing illegal exploitation of our wildlife and timber through proper compliance and enforcement of wildlife legislation and regulations, and this should not focus on economic perspective alone but more on harmonizing the economic and ecological and social aspects of it,” Mr Horokou said.
He, therefore, called for the cooperation of all responsible national authorities and stakeholders to ensure that policies, regulations and legislations are proactively adhered to, and enforced to prevent, and address all wildlife and forest crimes in the country.
“Transnational wildlife and forest crimes remain at the top of our challenges, however with the current review under this rapid assessment report, we hope to build the capacity of our criminal justice colleagues to act accordingly. Wildlife is precious and we must save it to ensure a better future for us. Mr Horokou concluded.