Sadly, many African nations have had years of political unrest. This spells trouble for not only citizens, but also elephants. It leads to wildlife funds disappearing to enrich corrupt politicians, law enforcement taking bribes instead of prosecuting ivory smugglers, and warlords gaining wealth (and therefore more power) from ivory poaching.
It is no surprise that the poorest countries are the ones who have had the most political unrest. For example, the Democratic Republic of Congo has never had a smooth transition of power since its independence.
The BBC recently had a report about the dangers of the US cutting funding to the UN.
“Currently the US supplies 28.57% of the total budget for UN deployments.
There are very influential figures in the Trump administration with a visceral ideological dislike of the UN. At the very least, the new UN Secretary General, Anthony Gutteres, faces an uphill fight to persuade the US to keep paying its current share of the peacekeeping budget.”
The UN has had its share of recent failures and controversy. Some of their own troops have been accused of raping civilians. Their missions in Somalia have largely failed to stop the devastation and starvation.
However, the UN plays an important role since it is an international body. A deputy chief, Diane Corner, reminds everyone that the when the UN is present, the warlords at least know the world is watching. The BBC writes:
“Ms Corner is a realist who understands the limits of a UN mission which must deal with complex regional politics, limited resources, uneven quality of troops, and a new occupant of the White House who believes in the mantra of ‘America First’.
The first thing she makes clear is that the UN had not come to negotiate with the warlords – rather to remind them that the red lines would be defended.”
For example, this past week the UN attacked militia groups in the Central African Republic who were planning to overtake the city of Bambari, where civilians live in destitute poverty. So far, the UN has successfully managed to keep the red line.
But, as the BBC says:
“There are thousands of frightened displaced people in and around Bambari who are depending on the international community to keep its word.”
I am worried that if President Trump removes funds and support from multinational organizations such as the UN and NATO, there will be even more conflicts and the refugee crisis will expand rapidly throughout the world. And, when humans suffer, nature and the animal kingdom inevitably suffer too.
Photo: African forest elephant, Wikipedia, Peter H. Wrege