CITES and Nigeria working together for the future
From 1 to 4 March 2011, staff of the CITES Secretariat visited Nigeria to engage with government officials in targeted capacity-building activities.
A two-day workshop was held in Kano in northern Nigeria, and was attended by over 70 persons from a range of agencies involved in CITES implementation and enforcement. Participants learned about the provisions of the Convention and its day-to-day administration. Specialized presentations included the identification of CITES specimens, particularly ivory, and everyone engaged in a practical exercise to detect fraudulent CITES documents.
CITES Secretariat staff and workshop participants subsequently visited markets in the city of Kano where they were able to put what they had learned into practice, whilst looking for illegal sales of wildlife.
The Secretariat also travelled to Lagos in southern Nigeria, where further visits to handicraft markets were conducted with government officials.
Nigeria is currently subject to a recommendation by the CITES Standing Committee to suspend all trade in CITES-listed wildlife. However, the Nigerian Government has been making substantial progress in drafting new legislation, training officials, monitoring outlets where wildlife may be traded, and raising public awareness of CITES. These activities are being led by the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), which has been designated as Nigeria’s CITES Enforcement Authority.
The workshop and inspection of markets by the Secretariat were in support of the actions taken by the Nigerian Government, and follow a visit to Nigeria last year by the Secretary-General of CITES. They form part of a range of agreed actions that will need to take place before the Standing Committee’s recommendation can be withdrawn.
The Secretariat will report to the Standing Committee when it meets in Geneva in August 2011.