KAMPALA. Government is seeking to domesticate an international treaty in order the tackle illegal wildlife trade currently costing the tourism sector billions in foreign exchange and reducing numbers of endangered plants and animals.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites), also known as the Washington Convention, is a multilateral treaty to protect endangered plants and animals.
Mr James Rutaro, the commissioner for conservation ministry of Tourism, told Daily Monitor at the end of a training workshop of law enforcement officers held in Entebbe recently, that due to weak laws, it has become difficult to prosecute culprits involved in illegal wildlife trade.
“Cites is the only convention that is supposed to regulate trade in wildlife specimen across the globe and there are over 172 parties that have signed this convention with the view to help cross border trade including illegal wildlife trade,” Mr Rutaro said.
Uganda appears at position 111 of parties, having acceded to CITES on July 18, 1991
Mr Rutaro added that by Uganda domesticating the treaty, it will have the advantage of working with other parties to arrest any specimen that would have left the country and enforce penalties as it is required by the Cites convention.
“It’s only when we have domesticated this convention that will have to enforce the law in the courts of Uganda short of which will be challenged that that law does not exist ,” he added.
A country incorporates a treaty by passing domestic legislation that gives effect to the treaty in the national legal system “The process of domesticating the treaty is now with Cabinet and we have already submitted a cabinet memorandum seeking approval,” Mr Rutaro said, adding that this comes as Uganda mulls amending the Tourism Act of 2008.
He said it is now Cabinet and Parliament to create the necessary legal framework, adding that wildlife remains Uganda’s tourism kingpin product.