ARREST Mainstreams Wildlife Conservation into Asian Judges Environmental Network

ADB Judges symposium

From December 3 through 5, 2013, the USAID-funded Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking (ARREST) program joined the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in presenting to more than 100 judges and representatives of courts, environment ministries, prosecutor’s offices, lawyers from Asia and the Pacific during the Second Asian Judges Symposium on Environment in Manila. The meeting saw the formal launch of the Asian Judges Network on Environment, which is now focusing on “Natural Capital, the Rule of Law and Environmental Justice”.  ARREST, USAID, U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Court and U.S. Fish and Wildlife officers led discussions that linked Natural Capital to the illicit wildlife trade. “Natural Capital” is the stock of natural assets and resources including forests and oceans that can provide ecosystem services such as food and other valuable resources. The resources provided by natural capital are essential to all human life and lie at the foundation of many economies.  “Chief Justices and their senior judiciary play a critical role in improving environmental enforcement and strengthening the rule of law,” said Asian Development Bank (ADB) General Counsel Christopher Stephens. “They can champion and lead the rest of the legal profession, the law enforcement community, and broader public toward rule of law systems that promote environmental justice.”  ARREST was cited during the symposium as effectively combating wildlife trafficking which helps to protect natural capital. The symposium was hosted by ADB in partnership with the Supreme Court of Philippines, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), World Wildlife Fund (WWF) USAID and Freeland.

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