SPECIAL AWG-CITES AND WE 25 January 2019, Bangkok, Thailand

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Bangkok, Thaland, January 25, 2019 – This week Thailand’s Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (MONRE) hosted the ASEAN-wide “Special Meeting of the ASEAN Working Group on CITES and Wildlife Enforcement” as part of the ASEAN’s commitment to step up its fight against organized poaching and trafficking of wild animals and plants that threatens the biodiversity of Southeast Asia.

The Special Meeting convened in preparation for a Special ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM) to Combat Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) scheduled for March 2019 in Chiangmai, Thailand. The meeting discussed strengthening and streamlining intra-ASEAN forestry, wildlife and CITES and program integration, signifying the evolving ASEAN response to wildlife enforcement protection.

The meeting aims to strengthen ASEAN cooperation and advance efforts to combat illegal wildlife trade, and will provide an opportunity for ASEAN Member States to enhance collaboration and law enforcement actions.

Thailand’s leadership in 2019 will highlight ASEAN efforts against wildlife trafficking through a strong statement at the Special Ministerial Meeting. The statement calls on ASEAN Members States and partners to further enhance cooperation in addressing on illegal trade in wildlife in ASEAN, in particular consolidating mandates, strategy and resources of the ASEAN Working Group on CITES and Wildlife Enforcement (AWG CITES WE) and the ASEAN SOMTC Working Group on Illicit Trafficking of Wildlife and Timber (SOMTC WG ITWT).

AWG Chairman and Lao PDR’s Deputy Director General of the Department of Forest Inspection (DOFI) Mr. Thongpan said, “This progress demonstrates ASEAN member countries' commitment and collaboration to mutually fight the illegal wildlife trade that is robbing our region of irreplaceable flora and fauna”.

Deputy Permanent Secretary of MONRE Pongboon Pongtong said, "As wildlife crime knows no national boundaries, we must all work together -- nationally, regionally, and globally -- to disrupt criminal networks that are damaging the earth’s biodiversity.”.