The Government of Congo incinerated nearly five tons of poached ivory, fuelled by seized timber, in a strong demonstration of Africa’s opposition to wildlife crime.

The ceremony took place a day before the announcement of the first pan-African strategy to combat illicit trade in flora and fauna. A first strategy and action plan will be presented to the June 2015 African Union Summit to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa. The conference was organized by the Government of Congo, with support from the African Union (AU), the United Nations and other partners.

Wildlife trafficking devastates biodiversity and ecosystems, threatening the supply of food and freshwater and eroding livelihoods for millions of people in Africa. It also creates insecurity, fueling conflicts and corruption, depriving countries of their assets, compromising the rule of law and dividing societies. Poaching and trafficking pose a direct threat to sustainable development efforts in Africa and elsewhere.