Somalilandnation-Somaliland, an unrecognised former British colony in the Horn of Africa, has been described as the African miracle that nobody knows about. It lies in a region facing severe challenges: political instability, the rise of extremism and conflict. But Somaliland has, somehow, managed to avoid these threats. It remains severely poor and is still recovering from three consecutive years of drought. Yet tonight senior Somaliland ministers, British MPs and campaigners are meeting in the House of Commons to see how it can begin what seems an improbable journey: to join the fight against the illegal wildlife trade.
You’d be forgiven for thinking protecting wildlife in a country facing so many human problems is unlikely. But as someone who has reported from the drought in the region and who has family living in the midst of it, I can tell you it isn’t. Political instability in fragile places such as east Africa is more linked to conservation, climate change and the illegal wildlife trade.
But Somaliland’s ability to avoid political instability and terrorism — and hold four multi-party one-man, one-vote elections with peaceful transfers of power — have given it the chance to do something about this, and tonight the House of Commons is hosting its conference. Somaliland doesn’t have the resources to protect and rehabilitate the last few remaining cheetahs and other rare species but it is willing to do so if it gets the help.
The reason is simple; and I’ve seen this for myself in nearly all those countries. The groups behind the illegal wildlife trade are the same groups involved in human trafficking and migration, violent extremism and terrorism, undermining the rule of law and governments. This conference really could lead to big things — for Somaliland and for us.
Source from Standard