NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The East Africa bloc is set to adopt a
sustainable tourism master plan that is expected to prioritize
the conservation of wildlife and wild lands, a regional official
said on Wednesday.
The Intergovernmental Authority on
Development (IGAD) Executive Secretary Mahboub Maalim said that
the eight-member states will begin implementing the plan that is
geared at supporting the conservation of the environment and
"A harmonized strategy and policy has been developed to
ensure rational utilization of natural resources in the region,"
he said in Nairobi during the signing of the Memorandum of
Understanding with the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), a
wildlife conservation organization.
Maalim said the regional bloc has resolved to adopt the
master plans following the realization that natural resources
are leading in economic empowerment in the member states.
He noted that the countries are keen at mitigating the impact
of the decisions on the environment and its biodiversity without
disrupting the natural heritage.
Maalim said that the partnership is aimed at enriching
preservation and improvement of the quality of the environment.
The partnership now empowers IGAD member countries to
prioritize the conservation of wildlife and wild lands in
addressing policy issues around Natural Resources Management (NRM)
and ecosystem resilience.
"African governments must increase their voice on the
conservation of wildlife and the wild lands to help keep the
economies going," AWF President Kaddu Sebunya said.
Sebunya said that Africa requires a different model to
address environmental conservation since it’s a mainstay of the
Sebunya hailed the Chinese government for announcing an end
to the sale of elephant tusks in the country.
He noted that the announcement is set to herald the end of
ivory trade in the world, adding that 70 percent of the ivory
trade is already affected since China’s announcement to ban the
processing and sale of ivory domestically.
The partnership signifies an important milestone in
recognizing the need for genuine partnership in ensuring that
tourism development is in congruence with and complements
conservation of the environment, wildlife and wild lands.
It also stands to ensure that the utilization of natural
resources in modernizing Africa remains sustainable.
The two organizations are due to open discussions in
developing African position in reclaiming the African
Conservation Agenda for Africans under the African Union Agenda
2063 while creating an environment to have a sustained and
balanced economic agenda that does not undermine natural