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On February 22nd, 2017, members of the Gabonese Parliament, facilitated by The ICCF Group, launched the Gabon Parliamentary Conservation Caucus (GPCC) and hosted a Central Africa regional summit on combating wildlife crime and advancing regional conservation. The summit brought together senior-ranking policymakers from six countries across Central Africa: Gabon, Chad, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, and the Republic of the Congo.

The ICCF Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Gabon’s President of the National Assembly, the Honorable Richard Onouviet, and President of the Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, the Honorable Angelique Ngoma, to collaborate on implementing a caucus strategy for strengthening natural resource governance and economic development. With the establishment of the GPCC, Gabon becomes the 10th country in Africa to establish a Parliamentary Conservation Caucus. GPCC leaders committed to providing a vehicle for educating policymakers on the importance of conservation and building the political will to strengthen Gabon’s natural resource governance strategies. The caucus leadership has identified wildlife, protected areas, forestry, and fisheries management as key priorities in advancing the livelihoods of the Gabonese people and the sustainable development of Gabon’s economy.

“I would like to thank The ICCF Group and its staff. Thank you for having believed in the Gabonese parliamentarians, thank you for having given importance to the Gabonese institutions, thank you for supporting the authorities in their engagement toward the protection of the environment. . . We need to speak the same language; we need to look in the same direction to protect our planet.”

– The Honorable Angelique Ngoma, President, Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development

While Gabon faces challenges in the fight against wildlife crime and illegal fishing and logging, the government has taken bold steps to safeguard its biodiversity. Dr. Lee White, Director of Gabon’s Agence Nationale des Parcs Nationaux (ANPN), shared with summit participants some of the government’s initiatives, including updating wildlife legislation, mitigating conflict between elephants and rural farmers, and facilitating regional collaboration in shared ecosystems. Central African parliamentary leaders participating in the summit discussed actions to improve wildlife protection and management in Central Africa, and U.S. legal experts and several global non-governmental organizations, including the Wildlife Conservation Society, Conservation Justice, the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and Space for Giants provided input on law enforcement and wildlife management strategies.

Regional policymakers examined shared challenges and agreed to strengthen domestic wildlife legislation, improve mechanisms for preventing human-wildlife conflict, and increase collaboration on cross-border ecosystem management and wildlife protection. Participants committed to continue to coordinate and advance mutual priorities in conservation governance by meeting on a periodic basis as the “Regional Central African Conservation Caucus.”

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