KATHMANDU, Aug 25: Senior officials of the governments of South Asian countries, and regional and international experts working in combating wildlife crime have descended on Kathmandu to formulate an action plan to combat wildlife crimes in South Asia.
Over 50 participants from the governments of South Asian countries and other international experts will be attending the 2nd annual summit meeting of South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN) that kicks off Tuesday.
SAWEN, an inter-governmental body of South Asian countries represented by Nepal, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka has planned to announce an action plan for the next six years. The summit will conclude Thursday.
“While organized criminals have been poaching and trafficking invaluable wildlife, the meeting aims to provide a common platform for sharing experience and helping standardization of polices and laws to curb them," said Megh Bahadur Pandey, Director General of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC).
Pandey, who is also the chief enforcement coordinator of SAWEN, said that illegal wildlife trade and poaching of valued wildlife are alarmingly high in South Asia and elsewhere.
The proposed draft of six-year action plan includes capacity building, strategic information sharing; harmonize the policies and laws in the region to fight crimes, review performances and enhancing collaboration with various partners and donors, according to Dr Maheshwar Dhakal of DNPWC.
The sessions will also focus on specific endangered wildlife, use of technological innovations to tackle the crimes, modes of recording DNA fingerprints of most-poached wildlife, and creating database of wildlife, he said.
According to SAWEN, experts from China, CITES Secretariat, UN Office ON Drugs and Crime (UNODC), INTERPOL, TRAFFIC, and WWF Tigers Alive Initiations among others will be participating in the summit. SAWEN was formally launched in 2011 in Bhutan and the first annual meeting was held in Sri Lanka about two years ago.