Nay Phi Taw, MYANMAR (May 19, 2010) -- The ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN) cooperated with the Government of Myanmar to conduct its 5th Annual Meeting from May 18-19, 2010, in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. There, Southeast Asian governments and international partners expressed strong commitments to further foster law enforcement and strengthen collaboration to tackle wildlife crime in the region.
The Annual Meeting was attended by delegates from all ten ASEAN Member States, representatives from the ASEAN-WEN Program Coordination Unit and the ASEAN Secretariat. Representatives from the ASEAN-WEN Support Program (FREELAND Foundation and TRAFFIC), TRACE Wildlife Forensics Network, ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) and the State Forestry Administration of P.R. China also participated in relevant sessions. The Meeting focused on the network’s future, its strengthening and capacity building for law enforcement and the judiciary.
In his opening remarks, U Tin Tun, Pro-rector of the University of Forestry of the Ministry of Forestry and newly installed Chairperson of ASEAN-WEN, said that, “Illegal wildlife trade in the ASEAN Region is a big challenge to all of us here. But, there are also opportunities for us to tackle the challenge. To be successful in crushing illegal wildlife trade in the ASEAN we must have a common vision, which is wildlife in the ASEAN Region belongs to every nation in the ASEAN and loss of wildlife in ASEAN is a concern to people in ASEAN. ASEAN countries combat illegal wildlife trade with unity.”
The Meeting welcomed the recent establishment of the Cambodia-WEN Coordination Unit (CWCU) and partners, which is seen as a major step forward in protecting Cambodia’s biodiversity. Lao PDR’s recent workshop to begin discussion of its own national Wildlife Enforcement Network Coordination Unit (Lao-WEN) was also acknowledged and Malaysia updated the Meeting of its national Malaysian WEN (My-WEN) activities.
The Meeting highlighted the strengthening of region-wide efforts to control trans- boundary trade in wild fauna and flora through the ASEAN-WEN to implement commitments to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), as it directly relates to the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Roadmap for 2009-2015.
The biggest challenges facing the ASEAN-WEN and its mission were identified to be: growing global demand for exotic wildlife; developing law enforcement agencies’ capacity to respond; and increasing awareness of the scale and impacts of poaching and illegal wildlife trade. Significant progress was acknowledged in wildlife crime prosecution, judicial mechanisms, and major transnational investigations of African ivory trafficking.
Newly developed ASEAN-WEN Training Management Packages and Manuals were launched at the Meeting to improve national capacity building and enforcement trainings that can be tailored to each member country’s specific needs. These tools include an Enforcement Ranger Manual, Nature Crime Investigators Manual, and packages to guide implementation of the Enforcement Ranger Training Course, Nature Crime Investigations Course, Wildlife Trade Regulation Course, and Judicial Workshop on Protecting Wildlife. The ASEAN-WEN has also developed Species Identification Guides in all ASEAN national languages and English to help front-line enforcement officers identify illegally trafficked wildlife and understand common smuggling techniques.
The planned establishment of the ASEAN Wildlife Forensics Network to improve the region’s use of forensic science to combat wildlife crime, as well as collaboration between scientists and enforcement officers, was a further capacity building initiative welcomed by the Meeting.
For more information, visit the ASEAN-WEN website (www.asean-wen.org) or contact:
ASEAN-WEN Program Coordination Unit
Ground Floor, Department of National Parks (DNP)
Piroj Suvanakorn Building
61 Phaholyothin Road, Lad Yao, Chatuchak,
Bangkok 10900, Thailand
Tel: +662 940 6286