In a first-of-its-kind event, a Chinese government official concluded a three-month secondment to the ASEAN-WEN secretariat. Ms. Shi Ronghong, Deputy Chief of Convention Affairs of the CITES Management Authority of China, was based in Bangkok from January 6 through April 6, 2013, on a work exchange program.
While ASEAN countries and the US have been seconding their officers to the ASEAN-WEN Program Coordination Unit for over five years, this was the first secondment from China. This groundbreaking step was a result of the first Sino-ASEAN technical cooperation meeting on CITES’ larger capacity building agreement for its member institutions. It also paves the way for an official agreement under the ASEAN +3 (China, Korea and Japan) framework.
During her secondment, Ms. Shi Ronghong provided important links and assistance to ASEAN-WEN activities. She also facilitated cooperation between China and Thailand on CITES and wildlife law enforcement.
Synergy between China and ASEAN-WEN is crucial since the former is the destination for much of the wildlife trafficked from Southeast Asia. With the China government committing to more secondments in the future, a new avenue for regional cooperation has been opened.