By Spy Uganda
Kampala: Last week, the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities launched the first electronic permitting system to regulate trade in wildlife and wildlife products in Uganda.
The electronic permitting system aims to control legal trade in wildlife and prevent illegal trade of specimens through the issuance of electronic permits and licenses for trade (import, export and re-export) in specimens that are listed and not listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Uganda now becomes the 8th country on the African continent to develop an electronic CITES permitting system and the first in East Africa.
As the CITES Management Authority, Uganda’s Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities is mandated to ensure that trade in CITES-listed and other wildlife species is sustainable and legal.
This is done among others through the issuance of CITES permits on recommendation of Uganda Wildlife Authority for wild animals, Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries for ornamental fish and the Ministry of Water and Environment for plants of wild origin – the CITES scientific authorities whose responsibility is to ensure that trade in particular animal or plant species is not detrimental to their survival of the species in the wild.
Until now, Uganda like many other countries has been using a paper-based system of certification and permit issuance, which system can be prone to forgeries, takes more time to process and verify and in the advent of COVID19, movement of documents may be a risk for disease transmission.
With the electronic system, various CITES focal points and law enforcement agencies can instantly verify a permit and share real-time information on wildlife trade. This will prevent illegal wildlife trade that threaten populations of some of the most iconic wildlife species like elephants thereby undermining Uganda’s tourism revenue and national security.
The development of the electronic permitting system has been made possible with support of United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) under the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)/Uganda Combating Wildlife Crime (CWC) activity. USAID is supporting efforts to combat wildlife crime in Uganda by collaborating with the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities.