Tobiko at Second Giants Club Summit 2018 in Botswana
Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary, Mr. Keriako Tobiko is this morning set to address the Second Giants Club Summit 2018 hosted by Botswana President Ian Khama, in Kasane, Botswana.
The Giants Club is a high-level global forum uniting visionary African political leaders with conservation science, philanthropic finance, and individuals with worldwide influence, who have together pledged to safeguard at least half of Africa’s remaining elephants by 2020.
At the high-level summit co-hosted by the Tlhokolmela Trust and Space for Giants, Cabinet Secretary, Mr. Tobiko is representing President Uhuru Kenyatta as a follow up to the successful hosting of the first Giants Club Summit in Nanyuki, Kenya last year.
Speaking ahead of the Giants Club Summit Official Opening to be attended by President Khama, and senior delegations representing the presidents of Gabon, and Uganda, this morning, Mr. Tobiko confirmed that the Kenyan delegation will trace the successes achieved following the first conference last year, while outlining focus areas to ensure a sustained approach to environmental conservation.
“The Giants Club Summit 2018 taking place in Kasane, a tourist gateway town on the edge of Chobe National Park in northern Botswana, provides a moment to review progress and an opportunity to establish a new set of actions,” Mr. Tobiko said while adding that, “This represents a new approach in conservation which is also consistent with the Government of Kenya Environmental conservation goals, where commitments are regularly reviewed in an open and transparent way to ensure tangible results are being achieved on the ground.”
The Giants Club was founded by President Kenyatta with the presidents of Botswana, Gabon, Kenya and Uganda, with support from Space for Giants and its patron, Evgeny
Lebedev, the owner of The Independent and London Evening Standard newspapers. The body was formed to combat the poaching crisis by bringing together visionary leaders who can work together to provide the political will, financial resources and technical capacity required to protect Africa’s remaining elephant populations.
According to Max Graham, CEO of Space for Giants, as many as 96 elephants a day were being illegally killed for their ivory but fiercer laws, better frontline protection, and significant drops in the price of tusks in China, the main market, have raised hopes that poaching has dropped from peaks seen earlier this decade.
Fundamental threats to the world’s largest land mammal remain, however. Poaching is still a huge problem. Pressures on elephant habitats are surging as human populations grow and more land is needed for farming and infrastructure development. Greater efforts to make sure that elephants and other wildlife are valued by the communities that host them are critical to the species’ survival.
The Giants Club Summit 2018 has four initial objectives:
- It will be held soon after China enacts its domestic ivory trade ban, and will recognise the great distinction of that step and help drive new partnerships between China and Africa that ensure natural ecosystems flourish
- It will work to secure Africa’s largest single remaining contiguous elephant population, which straddles the borders of five countries
- It will engage global enterprise to show how investing in conservation is good for corporate social responsibility and good for business in increasingly discerning global markets
- It will review progress made since the 2016 summit and set transparent goals to be achieved before the next event.
Aptly, the second Giants Club Summit in Kasane in northern Botswana is being held on the banks of the Chobe River within the range of Africa’s largest elephant population –
225,000 individuals whose habitats straddle the borders of five nations – Botswana, Namibia, Angola, Zambia, and Zimbabwe – with the world-famous Okavango Delta at its heart.
The high level Summit is also taking place in the final month of President Khama’s time in office. During his presidency, Botswana has demonstrated how an African state can combine economic progress with successful and sustained commitments to conservation by developing what is today acknowledged as the world’s leading ecotourism model. The Summit will serve as a worthy tribute to President Khama’s achievements.
Last year, Three African heads of state, 98 business leaders, key influencers and conservation experts were brought together at the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club near Nanyuki town for the purpose of ensuring a future for elephants and the landscapes they depend on, forever.
The vision for the Summit was to secure commitments from all four Giants Club nations, Kenya, Botswana, Gabon and Uganda towards the protection and management of their elephant populations.
Successes since the last summit include boosting intelligence-led anti-poaching capacity in Botswana, building electrified fences to keep elephants and farmers safe from each other in Kenya and Gabon, and driving new international investment in conservation in Uganda.
The Directors of Public Prosecutions in Kenya, Uganda and Botswana, working with Space for Giants following Giants Club pledges made at the 2016 summit, have developed new prosecution standards in criminal cases and created new wildlife prosecution toolkits. These are designed to ensure legal action against wildlife crimes have the greatest chance of successful outcomes.
The Giants Club is an initiative founded by the conservation organisation Space for Giants to unite visionary African leaders of elephant-range states, enlightened heads of major businesses, global philanthropists, key influencers and leading wildlife-protection experts to provide the political will, financial muscle, global influence and technical capacity to look after Africa’s remaining elephants and the landscapes they depend on. The Giants Club states – Uganda, Kenya, Botswana and Gabon – are home to more than half of Africa’s savannah elephants and three quarters of its forest elephants. These elephant populations and their habitats represent a priceless natural heritage to their host countries.
Space for Giants protects Africa’s elephants from immediate threats like poaching while working to secure their habitats forever in landscapes facing greatly-increasing pressures. Everywhere it works, in Kenya, Gabon, Uganda, and Botswana, Space for Giants uses science and best-practice to develop and deliver anti-poaching initiatives, secure protected landscapes for elephants, work to lessen the problems that arise where people and elephants live alongside each other, and provide conservation training and education.
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