UN Security Council urges regional cooperation to tackle Lord’s Resistance Army threat, including alleged involvement in elephant poaching and related illicit smuggling

The United Nations Security Council was briefed, at its 6971st meeting on 29 May 2013, by Abou Moussa, Special Representative of the Security-General and Head of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa, about the situation in the Central African sub region and he presented the Secretary-General’s report on the activities of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa and on the Lord’s Resistance Army-affected areas (document S/2013/297).  During his presentation, Mr Moussa drew attention to the issue of poaching in the Central African region, where over the past five month there have been alarming reports of poachers killing elephants inside the World Heritage Site of Dzanga Bai in the Central African Republic.  Following his briefing, all 15 members of the Council took the floor to condemn the Lord’s Resistance Army and expressed support for strengthened, coordinated efforts to end it vicious attacks.

In a Presidential Statement, adopted by the Council (document S/PRST/2013/6), the Council encourages the United Nations, African Union and Economic Community of Central African States, to work together, including through joint field assessments, to develop a common operating picture of the LRA’s current capabilities and areas of operation, as well as to investigate the LRA’s logistical networks and possible sources of military support and illicit financing, including alleged involvement in elephant poaching and related illicit smuggling.  The Council calls on the Secretary-General of the United Nations to report on possible findings in his reports on implementation of the United Nations counter-LRA strategy.

In the UN Secretary-General’s report, document S/2013/297, that was released to journalist early, the UN Secretary-General stressed that poaching and its potential linkages to other criminal (including terrorist) activities constitute a grave menace to sustainable peace and security in Central Africa. He further urged governments of the sub region to consider the issue of poaching as a major national and sub regional security concern requiring their concerted and coordinated action.

At its 16th meeting (Bangkok, 3-14 March 2013), the Conference of the Parties (CoP16) to CITES took decisive action to tackle the disturbing spike in the illegal killing of the African elephant and smuggling of their ivory. Through a decision adopted at CoP16, the Secretariat has been tasked by the Conference of the Parties to cooperate with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to further explore the most appropriate way to draw concerns with regard to the levels of illegal killing of elephants in Africa and the related illegal trade in elephant ivory, as well as the national security implications for certain countries in Africa of this illegal killing and trade, to the attention of the United Nations structures.

On 26 April 2013, at its 22nd Session, the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice adopted draft resolution IV “Crime prevention and criminal justice responses to illicit trafficking in protected species of wild fauna and flora” for adoption by the Economic and Social Council. The draft resolution recognizes wildlife crime as a serious transnational organized crime and encourages States to take appropriate measures to prevent and combat illicit trafficking in wild fauna and flora.

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