U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell arrived in Gabon on Thursday to meet with President Ali Bongo Ondimba and Ministers Regis Immongault and Flore Josephine-Mistoul, engage with Gabonese environmental NGOs, and visit the Wonga-Wongue Presidential Reserve.
This visit continues the United States’ work to combat the illegal trade of wildlife products in the United States and abroad and follows Secretary Jewell’s recent participation at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris, where she met with senior officials from the countries of Gabon, Kenya and Namibia to discuss methods to combat wildlife trafficking in partnership with other consumer, transit and source countries.
This visit to Gabon is part of President Obama’s National Strategy to Combat Wildlife Trafficking (PDF 504 KB) (Download Adobe Reader). The President’s July 2013 Executive Order established an Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking – chaired by Secretary Jewell – as well as a task force to develop and implement the strategy. As stated in the President’s Executive Order, wildlife trafficking reduces the economic, social and environmental benefits of wildlife while generating billions of dollars in illicit revenues each year, contributing to an illegal economy, fueling instability and undermining security.