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Thursday
Jul012010

Thailand strengthens commitment to curb illegal wildlife trade

Enforcement officers in southern Thailand receive intensive training on ways to tackle wildlife crime Click photo to enlarge © TRAFFIC Southeast Asia Thailand, 1 July 2010—More than 50 airport staff from Hat Yai International Airport (including check-in counter attendants, baggage handlers, Customs and immigration officers, police and security officials) and nearby wildlife checkpoint officers have just completed 4 days of intensive training to detect and stop wildlife trafficking through southern Thailand.

Experts from TRAFFIC plus relevant government departments helped train the staff on topics ranging from illegal wildlife trade, CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), relevant national laws and regulations, plant and animal identification, and ways to detect smuggling operations.

The course was organized by the Royal Thai Government and hosted by the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plan Conservation (DNP) and was based on the ASEAN WEN Wildlife Trade Regulation Course developed by TRAFFIC Southeast Asia as part of the USAID-funded ASEAN-WEN Support Program.

Meanwhile, in Bangkok, members of ARPEC (the Asia Regional Partners Forum on Combating Environmental Crimes) met to develop more effective ways to tackle wildlife crime in the region.

Environmental crime is one of the most profitable forms of criminal activity worldwide. It is a serious and growing international problem that is having devastating impacts on the environment. The problem is exacerbated by porous borders that facilitate illegal trade, ineffective laws, weak enforcement, a lack of knowledge and coordination among the enforcement community.

The issue of illicit wildlife trade was highlighted through the presentation of two new reports: The Globalization of Crime, published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which contains chapters on wildlife crime and an Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) investigation into the illegal ivory trade in Zambia and Tanzania.

Topics examined by ARPEC partners ranged from methods to tackle illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing to the potential of working more closely with academic institutions in the region.

Participating ARPEC agencies included the ASEAN-Wildlife Enforcement Network (WEN), the National Academy of Customs Excise and Narcotics of India (NACEN), Royal Thai Customs, Royal Thai Police, the Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Suppression Division (NRECD), World Customs Organization Regional Office for Capacity Building (WCO ROCB), United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP ROAP), TRAFFIC, Freeland Foundation, Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and new partners Greenpeace Southeast Asia and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) plus some from the private sector. 

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