Djibouti joins the TWIX network to fight wildlife trade in the Horn of Africa

Neighboring countries around the world face obstacles to coordinating and sharing vital information in the fight against wildlife trafficking. This is where TWIX (Trade in Wildlife Information eXchange) comes in. It is an online tool that facilitates information sharing between countries and supports international collaboration between wildlife law enforcement and management agencies to address threats to conservation efforts and economies posed by organized crime.

After a two-year pilot in three countries, it is excellent to see East Africa – TWIX expanding its reach to a fourth country. The arrival of Djibouti will accelerate cross-border cooperation between Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Djibouti to more effectively combat wildlife trafficking and help preserve the region’s rich biodiversity.”

Allan Mashalla, TWIX Regional Coordinator for East Africa from TRAFFIC

Earlier this month, experts met with the Djiboutian National Police and other officials.

The scoping mission, working with senior government officials including representatives from Customs, the CITES* Administrative Agency, the Ministry of Environment, the National Police, Gendarmerie, Prosecutor’s Office and Coast Guard, identified the significant potential to intercept wildlife crime before it reaches the consumer reaches markets in other regions of the world.

“Due to its strategic location, Djibouti is mainly used as a transit point for illegal wildlife crime, so the TWIX tool will encourage law enforcement cooperation not only at a national but also at an international level,” said Mr. Hassan Mousa Rayale, Horn of the Africa Wildlife Enforcement Network (HAWEN) Focal Point in Djibouti.

“TWIX is a useful tool and we are willing to work with TRAFFIC to support this initiative. However, more capacity building/training is needed for the tool to be well understood and implemented,” said Mr. Abdoulfatah Abdirahman Arab, Acting Director of the Environment Department of the Ministry of Urban Planning, Environment and Tourism.

Expansion into a fourth country will expand the region’s ability to apprehend, convict and prevent wildlife crime. Eastern-Africa TWIX is already exploring opportunities to expand into a fifth country to bolster the region’s wildlife crime response.

Remarks:

* the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora

TWIX platforms consist of a centralized website that contains records of national, regional and international wildlife seizures and a mailing list that allows law enforcement officials to communicate, seek help and update each other on relevant enforcement actions.

The wildlife law enforcement fact-finding mission to Djibouti took place from June 12-16, 2022.

This mission follows the launch of TWIX in IGAD’s Horn of Africa Wildlife Enforcement Network in early 2020, where the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) and IGAD member countries were interested in TWIX.

The East African TWIX project complements other TRAFFIC work in the region, including CONNECT, a four-year project being implemented by IUCN with WWF, and TRAFFIC has also created a dedicated online platform to facilitate investigation, enforcement and Cooperation of East African prosecutors in the fight against wildlife crime, which was launched last year.


thanks

Thanks to the Djibouti Ministry of Urban Planning, Environment and Tourism – Department of Environment and Sustainable Development, HAWEN and IGAD for their support during the scoping mission.

The fact-finding mission was made possible by US State Department funding by closing loopholes along the trade chain: Empowering East African Wildlife Law Enforcement Agencies in Combating the Illegal Wildlife Trade Project.


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