Leaders mull ways to protect elephants in Africa

President Uhuru Kenyatta, President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon and President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda during the official opening of the Inaugural Giants Club Summit at Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club in Kenya. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE 


President Uhuru Kenyatta, British actress Elizabeth Hurley and dozens of African dignitaries and leaders are attending the Giants Club Summit in Laikipia ahead of the burning of the largest stockpile of illegal ivory on Saturday.

President Ali Bongo of Gabon and Uganda President Yoweri Museveni are also attending the summit.

The discussions at the Summit, taking place at the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club, will focus on how to protect 50 per cent of Africa’s elephants by 2020 by safeguarding their habitats.

The Giants Club was founded by President Kenyatta with leaders from Botswana, Gabon and Uganda with support from Mr Evgeny Lebedev, the Russian-born businessman who owns of The Independent and London Evening Standard newspapers to help find ways of deterring wildlife trafficking.

The government hopes the event, where 1.35 tonnes of rhino horn will also be set ablaze, will be firm statement against poaching which has threatened to wipe out the remaining elephants and rhinos in the Kenyan wild.

About 170 delegates from Kenya, around Africa, the US, Europe, China, New Zealand and Russia are expected to attend the event.

French Environment, Energy and Marine affairs Minister Ségolène Royal is also expected to witness the burning of the ivory.

Mrs Royal was the President for the 21st Climate conference in Paris last year (COP21) will be part of hundreds of delegates, world leaders, philanthropists and conservationists to witness the burning of 105 tons of ivory at the Nairobi National Park.

Ivory trade

France became the first European country to burn ivory when it set ablaze 3 tons of stockpiles in February 2014 as part of global cooperation to combat ivory trade.

Last year, France suspended the issuance of ivory export certificates for raw ivory and urged neighbours to support the move.

Other leaders expected to attend are Ms Helen Clarke, former New Zealand Prime Minister and current administrator for the United Nations Development Programme and has been nominated by her country to be the next UN Secretary-General to replace Ban Ki-Moon at the turn of the year.

Other UN dignitaries attending include Mr Ibrahim Thiaw, Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, Jorge Rios, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime’s Wildlife and Forest Crime Programme head.

President Barack Obama will be represented by Deputy Secretary of State Heather Higginbottom, and William C Woody, Chief of the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Office of Law Enforcement.

Source: http://www.africareview.com