Ambassador Yamate Remarks at World Wildlife Day Event

The “Wildly Beautiful” countering wildlife trafficking campaign is vitally important to help preserve the most vulnerable species here in Madagascar.

 

Ambassador Yamate Remarks at World Wildlife Day Event
Thursday, March 8, American Center Tanjombato

His Excellency the Prime Minister of Madagascar;
Her Excellency the Minister of Environment, Ecology, and Forests;
Members of Government;
Honored Guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am so very happy to be with you all here today, to celebrate our partnership between the people of the United States and the people of Madagascar in protecting this beautiful country’s wildlife and increasing opportunities for its people.

We have come together to recognize and underscore the commitment we all have to the preservation of Madagascar’s natural environment. I am so impressed with the “Natural Beauty of Madagascar” photo contest winners and we thank the staff at the Ministry of Tourism for being such dedicated colleagues in this endeavor. Let’s please all give our photo contests winners one more round of applause.

The “Wildly Beautiful” countering wildlife trafficking campaign is vitally important to help preserve the most vulnerable species here in Madagascar. With 80 percent of animal species in Madagascar found nowhere else on Earth, protecting them is urgent, and crucial to maintaining the island’s unique biodiversity. I am delighted that this important campaign was such a collaborative effort among the U.S. Embassy, especially USAID staff; the Ministry of Environment, Ecology, and Forests; the Ministry of Tourism; the Madagascar Customs Service; as well as eight national and international conservation partners as mentioned earlier by Mr. Nyce.

USAID has a long history of supporting environmental programs in Madagascar and we are so thrilled to be relaunching a sizable program after a long absence. We are excited to re-engage with the Government of Madagascar and other development partners in this sector and I can assure you that our commitment is now stronger than ever. It gives me great pleasure to announce the United States Government’s largest investment in the environment sector in nearly a decade. In order to help preserve Madagascar’s precious natural resources we are launching a $23 million, five-year activity called Hay Tao (which means “Know-how” in Malagasy). This USAID activity will be implemented by the international development organization Pact with partners the World Resources Institute and the U.S.-based University of Rhode Island – Coastal Resources Center.. Hay Tao will be one of the major activities under our Conservation and Communities Project (CCP). Through CCP, USAID will build partnerships with the public and private sectors to advance community-based conservation and development through enhanced management of highly biodiverse areas, increased focus on biodiversity-friendly livelihood opportunities, and strengthened governance of natural resources.

Hay Tao, the “knowledge management” portion of the CCP, will demonstrate the extraordinary value of letting local communities lead the way. Developing important tools and approaches for community-led development and serving as a clearinghouse of best practices, USAID’s Hay Tao activity will bring together government, civil society, the private sector, and other donors to amplify the voices of the communities that will drive the preservation of this beautiful island.

This important activity will empower development partners and strengthen the enabling conditions that will help Madagascar retain its status as a paradise on Earth. We believe that building out tools and knowledge resources in support of community-led natural resource management and conservation is the right approach for the challenges that lay before us and supports the plans that the Government of Madagascar is already making to realize these goals. We look forward to working with all of you here today, and countless others across the country, to address these important efforts together.

Thank you.