Uganda as a contracting Party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was invited and participated in the. 16th Conference of the Parties (COP16) that took place from 2nd – 15th March 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand. CITES is an international agreement between governments that aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival
Uganda's delegation included Mr. James Lutalo, Commissioner Wildlife Conservation/Head of Delegation (MTWA), Mr. George Owoyesigire, Ag. Principal Wildlife Officer/Alternate (MTWA), and representatives from Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) namely; Dr. Andrew G Seguya (Executive Director) Mr. Charles Tumwesigye (Chief Conservation Area Manager), Mr. Aggrey Rwetsiba (Senior Monitoring and Research Coordinator) Mr. Samuel Amanya, (Senior Warden Community Conservation), Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusooka (UWA Board Member) and Mr. John Emily Otekat (UWA Board Member).
The relatively bigger delegation ensured effective representation at the CoP by spreading out, attending critical working group meetings and side events as well as lobbying and networking with other participating Parties and related organizations. Below are some of the key resolutions in respect of UWA in particular and Uganda in general
Uganda retained her membership on the Standing Committee as the Eastern Africa representative until CoP17. Uganda was also elected to continue to chair the MIKE/ETIS (Monitoring Illegal Killing of Elephants/ Elephant Trade Information System) Sub group established by the Standing Committee to address issues of illegal killing of elephant and ivory trade as well as advising on the implementation of the Resolution Conf.10.10 (Rev CoP15).
The 3rd of March every year was declared a World Wildlife Day and Parties were requested to observe and celebrate this day in their respective countries. However, the Wildlife Day will need to be formalized by the UN, the process to be followed up by the CITES Secretariat. The celebrations for the day were combined with celebrations that marked the 40th Anniversary of the CITES Convention on Sunday 3rd March 2013.
Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, Board Member of the Uganda Wildlife Authority was appointed the Alternate African Representative to the CITES Animals Committee one of the two permanent Scientific Committees of the Convention. This will ensure effective representation of Uganda on the committee. Uganda also has a Representative on the Plants Committee, Mr. David Hafashimana from the National Forestry Resources Research Institute (NAFORRI), who was retained for the next triennium.
The Republic of South Africa offered and was accepted to host the 17th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties of CITES (CoP17) in 2016. The dates for the Conference will be communicated in due course through a Notification by the CITES Secretariat.
Uganda participated in a side event organised by the Government of India at which the concept of "Launching E50:50, the First International Elephant Congress and Ministerial Meeting" due to be held in New Delhi, India from 14 to 19 November, 2013 was discussed. The E50:50 conferences is the first of its kind which will host delegates from 50 countries that harbour wild populations of elephants. The conference will bring together scholars, conservation practitioners and policy makers to discuss issues of elephant conservation, protection and welfare across respective range countries. Uganda being an elephant range state expressed interest in participation.
The delegation visited the Samutprakarn Crocodile Farm and Zoo which is an internationally renowned and world's largest crocodile farm in Bangkok, Thailand. The management of the farm/zoo expressed interest in partnering with African zoos and crocodile breeding entities with a view of enhancing capacity and collaboration. Other contacts with Mexican authorities on conservation and management of crocodiles were initiated. Mexico is another success story on release of crocodiles back to the wild as well ranching programs. The delegation indicated willingness to collaborate with Uganda.