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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

East Africa bloc prepare to adopt harmonized tourism master plan

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 wildlife policies.

"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 economies.

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 resource ecosystems.

           

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