ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network Model Replicated in West Asia

ASEAN-WEN logoCITES Workshop West Asia

From October 29-31, 2013, the Environment Public Authority (EPA) of Kuwait organized a Workshop titled Strengthening Regional Cooperation to Combat Wildlife Crime in West Asia. The event invited key officers and representatives from countries in West Asia, namely Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, as well as representatives from international organizations such as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Secretariat, and the World Customs Organisation (WCO). The workshop also invited wildlife enforcement networks including long time partner of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) funded Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking (ARREST) program, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN) and the recently established Horn of Africa Wildlife Enforcement Network (HA-WEN.) The Workshop highlighted the promotion and development of a regional network as part of an action plan to continue enhancing collaboration and exchanges of information by countries in West Asia, particularly in the area of wildlife law enforcement as one of the region’s identified priorities in improving regional cooperation. In developing concrete next steps and recommendations to strengthen regional cooperation through a regional wildlife law enforcement network, the workshop considered the national perspectives presented by the country delegates, initiatives and tools existing with the CITES Secretariat and the WCO and experiences from ASEAN-WEN and HA-WEN. The International Consortium in Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) and the US Department of State provided support in having ASEAN-WEN and HA-WEN participate in the Workshop, to create more opportunities to increase cooperation and awareness among the regional networks. ASEAN-WEN shared experiences in ASEAN and ASEAN-WEN’s establishment as a regional initiative in Southeast Asia on wildlife law enforcement networking. The workshop culminated in the presentation of the Feasibility Study on Opportunities for Regional Enforcement Cooperation in West Asia, which highlighted the different opportunities available, current challenges and gaps, recommendations, and most importantly, a proposal to establish a West Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (WA-WEN).

 

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