ASEAN-WEN Charts Course for Sustainability

ASEAN-WEN logoASEAN-WEN 8th annual meeting

All ten ASEAN Members States finally agreed to financially sustain the ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network during their 8th Annual ASEAN-WEN Meeting in Chiang Mai, Thailand from June 3-5.  Members agreed that each country should prepare financial contributions to the regional Secretariat (called the Program Coordination Unit).  All ten countries already pay for their own national WENs (task forces), as well as their own travel to ASEAN-WEN meetings, following a gradual scaling down of financial support from USAID through the ARREST Program. “Our dream is finally coming true,” said PCU Director Manop Lauprasert.  “Some of the world’s oldest international networks are still sustained by donors, and we are very proud that ASEAN-WEN, going into its 8th birthday, is fast becoming independent.”  There are still more steps to take before the PCU is fully sponsored by member states.  The ASEAN Secretariat will next help the PCU set up a bank account, into which member states and partners can contribute, followed by ASEAN making ASEAN-WEN a permanent budget line.  Member states did not give themselves a strict deadline for starting their annual contribution, so the PCU, ASEC, and ARREST will be following up with the AMS.  Member states will continue to send government officials on secondment to the PCU to help run the regional hub.  More than 100 Government, intergovernmental and non-governmental officials from more than 20 countries attended the meeting, which addressed sustainability, national updates, regional working group progress and plans, and cross border operations, such as Operation Cobra.

 

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