During an exclusive interview with Xinhua in Nairobi ahead of the World Wildlife Day to be observed on March 3rd, Steiner hailed China’s robust engagement with African states to combat wildlife crimes.

wpid-02-22-unep-mongolia.jpg“We commend China’s efforts to curb illegal trafficking of ivory through better monitoring and screening mechanisms alongside public awareness,” he remarked, adding that the agreement reached by Chinese President Xi Jinping and his American counterpart Barrack Obama in September 2015 was a game changer in efforts to curb wildlife crimes in Africa.

The Chinese government has partnered with African countries in the past few years to re-energize the war against poaching of iconic mammals like elephants and rhinos.

The UN Under-Secretary-General hailed Chinese government, enterprises and citizens living in Africa for their active engagement in efforts to contain the menace of illegal trade in wildlife products.

“Each step China takes to promote wildlife protection in Africa is commendable,” Steiner told Xinhua, adding that Chinese celebrities, such as the actress Li Bingbing, have partnered with the global environment body to raise awareness on the plight of African elephants and rhinos.

According to Steiner, UNEP’s partnership with China to promote ecological civilization and green economy will have a positive impact on habitats conservation in Africa and the larger global south.

The UNEP chief noted that Chinese expertise in green technology is crucial to help promote low carbon development in Africa, adding that motorcycle technology from China has promoted green transportation in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“China’s motorcycle technology that has been available in Kenya and other African countries has made transportation cheaper and environmentally friendly,” Steiner remarked.

He emphasized the international community will not relent in its efforts to help African countries tackle threats to their wildlife treasures including poaching, climate change and habitat loss.

“The World Wildlife Day was designated by the UN to help put a spotlight on illegal wildlife trade that is rampant in Africa,” he said, noting that UNEP has provided technical assistance to African countries to help them establish legal frameworks to strengthen the war against wildlife crime.

Steiner noted that despite recent successes, the menace of poaching still remained a huge threat to the survival of iconic mammals in the continent, and therefore more efforts need to be made.

“In South Africa, 1,200 rhinos were poached last year. There is enormous pressure on wildlife species in Africa and the international community has realized a strategic response is needed,” Steiner told Xinhua.

Source: Xinhua

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