Angola joins the EPI

18 April 2016

Angola today announced a major push against the ivory trade by becoming a member of the African led Elephant Protection Initiative (EPI).

Angola now joins 12 other nations as a signatory to the African led EPI, which is committed to closing ivory markets, maintaining the international ban on ivory trade, and providing technical and financial assistance to range states to implement the African Elephant Action Plan.

Angola’s membership to the EPI comes as the country prepares to end all domestic trading in ivory, undertake a robust inventory of its stockpile and commit to its destruction before it plays host to World Environment Day (WED). This year’s WED, organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), is themed on tackling the illegal trade in wildlife, and aims to mobilize global action around the issue.

Speaking at a meeting of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment in Cairo, Angola’s Environment Minister Maria de Fatima Jardim said, “The Commission Against Environmental Crimes has presented a decree banning the sale of ivory and ivory artifacts in Angola and we are deploying a wildlife crime unit at Luanda’s international airport. We are determined to end the trade in ivory and build a new Angola, in which both people and our unique species can thrive.”

Little is known about the size of Angola’s remaining elephant population, which historically lived in the southeast of the country. However, the results of recent surveys, due to be released in the coming months, are anticipated to confirm heavy population declines during Angola’s decades-long civil war.

The illegal trade in wildlife destroys ecosystems and livelihoods, compromises rule of law and national security, and undermines sustainable development. In the last few years we have seen strong steps to combat this scourge, including the first UN resolution on wildlife trafficking. Angola’s commitments are another milestone and send a powerful message to poachers, and the international criminal networks that back them, that they have no future.
— Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director