NAIROBI, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Kenya on Tuesday pledged to assist Eastern Africa countries in tackling the killing of wildlife and illegal trade in wildlife products.
Judi Wakhungu, Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources, said that the country has lost 400 elephants between 2013-2017 but noted that the number has reduced considerably due to legal policy measures against poaching activity.
"We are ready to assist our neighbors in reducing poaching and illegal trade in wildlife products," Wakungu said during the signing of an agreement on cross-regional wildlife program between the UN and EU in Nairobi.
She noted that the introduction of the container control program at the port of exit at Kenya's coastal city of Mombasa has helped reduce trophy sales in the international market.
The EU signed a 20.3 million U.S. dollars agreement as part of the 30 million dollars intervention with three UN institutions working jointly to reduce the illegal killing of wildlife and the trafficking of wildlife products throughout Eastern, Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean.
The new cross-regional wildlife program will focus its activities in the regions' most important protected areas, national transit points, and in some of Africa's most important transboundary ecosystems.
"We thank the EU for the gesture given that the regional wildlife have been threatened with extinction my poachers and illegal traders," said Sahle-Work Zewde, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON).
Zewde said that the UN agencies are ready to help regional governments in reducing the international trafficking of wildlife products by strengthening and expanding highly successful container control program.
"We will empower countries in improving their criminal justice responses and enhancing capacities through the criminal justice chain under the Global Program for Combating Wildlife and Forest Crime," she added.
The European Commissioner of Environment Karmenu Vella called for new and joint initiatives in fighting wildlife poaching and trafficking in Africa.
"We are ready for partnerships in the area of wildlife and biodiversity conservation in general," he noted.
He said that the EU has also intensified conservations efforts in Asia where they have been working in collaboration with the civil societies.
Vella announced a further 5.9 million dollars toward conservation efforts in the central African region.
This initiative brings together the EU and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS).