Minister Shukri H. Ismail and Director General Abdinasir Hersi of MoERD welcome participants to the conference on July 26, 2021
HARGEISA, Somaliland – 13 August 2021 — Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) co-sponsored and participated in the Ministry of Environment and Rural Development’s (MoERD) Consultation conference on environmental protection and biodiversity conservation in the Eastern Regions of Somaliland held 26-27 July in Burao, The conference brought together leaders from the regions of Sahil, Toghdeer, Saraar, Sool, Sanaag, Daadmadhedh and Buhodle to discuss charcoal production, establishment of new settlements and illegal private enclosures in the communal range land, illegal wildlife trade, poaching, and illegal private holding of wildlife. Dr Laurie Marker, CCF’s Founder and Executive Director, traveled to Burao for the two-day conference to meet the leaders of the eastern regions and share CCF’s work.
Minister Shukri H. Ismail and Director General Abdinasir Hersi of MoERD organized and spoke at the conference. Somaliland’s Minister of Justice, Minister of Employment and Social Affairs, and the Vice Ministers of Livestock and Fisheries and Interior represented the central government. The participants represented seven eastern regions and included Regional Governors, Regional Police Commissioners, regional court authorities, the district Attorney General, the National Army Commander and Officers from Marine Force in the Eastern regions. Regional coordinators from MoERD and members of local civil society, international and local NGOs, and religious scholars also took part.
“The objective of the conference is to develop a common stand on the conservation and protection of the National Environment and Biodiversity and reach agreements on how to protect and address the environmental and wildlife problems together,” said Minister Shukri H. Ismail of MoERD.
In addition to the speeches by government leaders about charcoal issues and illegal settlements, Dr Marker gave a presentation about threats to cheetah and the importance of wildlife and maintaining biodiversity in Somaliland. She explained how CCF’s project to build capacity in law enforcement and strengthen Somaliland laws would benefit the people of the eastern regions. Known by the acronym LICIT (Legal Intelligence/Cheetah Illicit Trade), the project is funded by the UK Government through the Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund and implemented by CCF, the International Fund for Animal Welfare and Legal Atlas.
“The conference in Burao brought all the regional leadership into one room, which provided CCF with an excellent venue to share our messages. Cheetah cubs are taken from very small wild populations in the eastern regions due to conflict with livestock farmers and to supply the illegal pet trade. In Namibia, CCF provides training for livestock farmers to teach them better management techniques so they can avoid livestock losses to predation through a course we call Future Farmers of Africa. CCF wants to offer the same type of training in Somaliland, which will decrease pressure on farmers to take and sell cubs to mitigate their financial losses”, said Dr Marker.
Dr Laurie Marker of Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) addresses leaders of Somaliland’s eastern regions on July 26, 2021.
At the close of the conference, the participants agreed and committed to the following:
- The protection of the environment and the prevention of crimes is a collective responsibility, and every and each person should play their role;
- It is illegal to take living trees to make charcoal for export, it is illegal to take wild animals from the landscape for export, and it is illegal to establish new settlements and private enclosures in communal rangeland;
- A massive community awareness-raising campaign about environmental problems and solutions is required, and a two-week campaign will be launched following the conference;
- Meetings about the decentralization of environmental protection and managing conservation on the district level will be held more frequently;
- The establishment of environmental protection committees including national, regional and district level as mentioned in the Environmental Conservation Law XLR.79/2018;
- MoERD will assess all development projects impacting the environment for sustainability and only approve those that meet established criteria;
- To review and amend environmental laws, and strengthen the penalties against those who commit crimes, including arrest, fines, and confiscation of assets used for environmental crimes; and
- Adding mainstream environmental conservation to the national curriculum to promote the public understanding of the importance of the conservation and protection of the environment.
“CCF works with the Somaliland government to raise awareness for the law. We want people to know that while poaching is strictly forbidden, CCF is here to help Somaliland farmers manage conflict issues with predators, which requires an approach that is more than arrests and fines. To eliminate illegal trade, we need to work on its root causes. We also want farmers to understand that having greater biodiversity means healthier landscapes and healthier humans. Decentralizing conservation and bringing it down to the community level will help ensure that the rural farmers who need our support most can be included in our training courses. Putting environmental and wildlife education into the national curriculum is another way to make our work successful and sustainable”, added Dr Marker.
The conference members agreed that the above-mentioned action points be jointly implemented by the MoERD; the Ministries of Interior, Justices, and Livestock and Fisheries; the different regional courts, Police, Military and Marine forces, and other stakeholders that related to environmental conservation and protection.
(Left) Ibrahim Muse of World Vision, another MoERD partner/event co-sponsor, and (Right) a representative from Burao’s Mansour Hotel and the Mayor of Burao, Abdirizaq Herro, meet Dr Laurie Marker at the conference on July 27, 2021
MoERD partners World Vision, Save the Children, United Nations Development Programme, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and Welthungerhilfe co-sponsored the meeting with CCF.
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Cheetah Conservation Fund
Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) is the global leader in research and conservation of cheetahs and dedicated to saving the cheetah in the wild. Founded in 1990, CCF is an international non-profit organisation headquartered in Otjiwarongo, Namibia, the “Cheetah Capital of the World”, with a field base in Hargeisa, Somaliland. CCF takes a holistic approach to conservation, recognising that to help the species, we first must help the people who live alongside wildlife. CCF’s strategies are built on three pillars: research, education and conservation. CCF marked its 30th anniversary in 2020, making it the longest running and most successful conservation organisation for cheetahs.
Susan Yannetti, firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 983-4898 or +12027167756