Officials from China and Lao PDR receive CITES law enforcement training
Xishuangbanna, Yunnan province, China, July 2016—A law enforcement and training workshop held last month in Xishuangbanna was attended by 14 enforcement officials from Lao PDR’s CITES Management Authority and Customs and Forest Supervisory Department, as well as 27 Chinese officials, including representatives from China's CITES Management Authority, Forest Police and Customs.
The two countries share a borderline of 710 km, across which more than 130 species of plants and animals have been recorded in trade, 71 of them forbidden for import and export under domestic and/or CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) legislation.
They include 19 species listed in Appendix I of CITES, whose commercial international trade is banned and a further 32 species listed in Appendix II of CITES, trade in which is by permit only.
Historically, open illegal wildlife trade has been frequent across the border, although strict law enforcement by China has meant it has almost disappeared on the Chinese side.
However, TRAFFIC’s investigations have revealed that in recent years Chinese citizens have been travelling to Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) to consume wildlife products there rather than attempting to take them back to China, indicating the need for a direct collaboration mechanism between the two countries’ enforcement departments to tackle wildlife crime.
Representatives also highlighted the need to strengthen bilateral co-operation to fulfil each country’s CITES obligations, for example through building on an existing local police co-operation platform which currently deals with drugs and human trafficking and telecom fraud.
“This was a very successful workshop. The two parties identified and nominated clear counterparts, [contacts for CITES enforcement co-operation] which is beneficial for taking the next steps in information exchange, joint law enforcement actions, experience exchange and co-operation,” said Zhang Shanning, Director of the Enforcement and Training Division of China’s CITES Management Authority.
“Building direct contact between the Laotian and Chinese border enforcement departments will help combat transnational smuggling and illegal wildlife trade effectively and deter the criminal networks behind them. TRAFFIC will continue to provide support for law enforcement agencies in both countries,” said Zhou Fei, Head of TRAFFIC’s China Office.
The Laotian delegation expressed their interest in assisting TRAFFIC to organise awareness raising activities for Chinese enterprises and Chinese citizens living in Lao PDR.
TRAFFIC was among the NGOs helping with the meeting, which was kindly supported by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF).