In a milestone development, the East African Court of Justice has declared that constructing a paved asphalt road across the world famous Serengeti National Park is unlawful.
The Judges have restrained the Tanzanian Government from constructing the road. The judgement in essence confirms that the prestigious Serengeti ecosystem is an invaluable world heritage site and that deserves optimal protection and restraint from high impact development that can interfere with the functions of the ecosystem to humankind.
The African Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW), fully respects Tanzania’s sovereignty and its need for national development. However, by taking up this matter, ANAW was in actual fact protecting a resource that would be of future benefit not only to Tanzanians or East Africans, but also the entire humanity.
“This was not a win for ANAW, not for our lawyer, Saitabao Ole Kanchory, not for Serengeti Watch, not for our expert witness John Kuloba, but for the millions of animals in the Serengeti-mara ecosystem. It is a win for nature and God’s creation. Nature has won today”, Josphat Ngonyo, ANAW’s executive director said after the win.
We send congratulatory messages to all our partners in Serengeti Watch and all sympathizers who walked with us over the entire period that the case was in court.
It means that, in the near term, the threat of a paved commercial highway has been thwarted. Under the treaty of the East African Community, Tanzania is obliged to abide by court decisions.
The African Conservation Foundation congratulates ANAW, Serengeti Watch, the German Government and all who have contributed to this success.
Like with Virunga National Park earlier this month, another World Heritage site in danger, conservationists have won a battle, but the Serengeti is still under siege. Road development still poses a real and serious danger for the Serengeti ecosystem.
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