TRAFFIC receives award for building enforcement capacity in Thailand
Bangkok, Thailand, September 2011—For on-going technical support to the Royal Thai Government in combating the illegal wildlife trade including the training over 500 frontline staff since 2008, two key Thai government agencies have recognised TRAFFIC Southeast Asia with an award.
The award was presented during celebrations to mark the ninth anniversary of Thailand’s Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department (DNP) and 115 years of its Royal Forestry Department.
A significant part of TRAFFIC’s work in the region involves helping governments train and build capacity to counter the illegal wildlife trade among enforcement officers working in transportation hubs and at the country’s border checkpoints. To this end, it has assisted in 13 specialised wildlife trade workshops and training courses over the three and a half years.
These workshops have helped familiarise officers with the policies and procedures under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and equip officers with the skills to detect concealed wildlife, falsified permits, and to identify wildlife parts and products they encounter during searches or raids. One of the most significant tools produced for police, airport security staff and wildlife, forestry and customs officers, is a comprehensive set of user-friendly local language species identification sheets.
TRAFFIC’s training and capacity building work in the region, including in Thailand, has also covered courses on investigation, prosecution and awareness of the scale and depth of illegal wildlife trade for judges and prosecutors.
In addition, TRAFFIC has jointly organized skills development and training courses with Thai government agencies focused on wildlife forensics, the training of trainers, ivory identification skills and has provided support in other areas such as the technical review of key wildlife legislation.
In congratulating TRAFFIC, Watana Vetayaprasit, Director of Wildlife and Wild Plant Conservation and Protection Division said:
“The DNP and I appreciate the support from TRAFFIC Southeast Asia over the years, particularly the training courses they have helped coordinate. It has been of great value to our officers working to conserve Thailand’s wildlife.”
“We thank TRAFFIC for its hard work and for supporting us in our effort to protect biodiversity,” he added.
The award was presented to TRAFFIC by Sakda Nopprasit, the Secretary to Thailand’s Environment Minister at a ceremony on Sunday 18th September, attended by 150 guests from government agencies, corporations and non-governmental organisations. Interim Greater Mekong Programme Co-ordinator Sulma Warne accepted the award on behalf of TRAFFIC Southeast Asia.
“TRAFFIC is honoured to have received this reward from the Royal Thai Government which provides inspiration to continue working with relevant agencies to stop the trafficking of wildlife,” said TRAFFIC Southeast Asia Regional Director Dr William Schaedla.
“Specialised skills and knowledge is crucial if Thailand wants to step up its fight against wildlife crime and stay one step ahead of smugglers. This is particularly important given that Thailand will be hosting the next CITES Conference of the Parties in 2013,” said TRAFFIC Southeast Asia Training and Capacity Building Co-ordinator Claire Beastall.