Manifesto on Combating Wildlife Crime in Asia
Resulting from the International Workshop “A Forgotten Crisis: Arresting Wildlife Depletion in Asia through Strengthened Regional Cooperation and Effective Partnerships”
Hosted by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Thailand, The Royal Thai Police and the ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network Program Coordination Unit
Workshop Co-sponsored by FREELAND Foundation, Save the Tiger Fund, TRAFFIC, the United States Agency for International Development and the World Bank
Experts and representatives from 21 countries, 12 intergovernmental organizations and agreements, and 29 non-governmental organizations, having met in Pattaya, Thailand, from 10 to 12 April 2009, agreed:
Wildlife crime poses a serious threat to Asia.
Illegal harvest and trade in wild plants and animals involves organized crime, criminal networks and pervasive corruption driven by sheer greed. It presents risks to human health, biosecurity and livelihoods. It exploits local communities. It offends religious beliefs and moral values. It results in significant loss of revenue to governments. It generates massive proceeds for criminals and the trade has been exploited by insurgent groups.
Wildlife crime stands alongside other major threats to the natural systems that sustain human life. It is a significant transnational problem, which must be addressed with the same tools of law enforcement as drug, human and arms trafficking.
These are not problems that countries can tackle individually. Neither will enforcement alone resolve them. Indiscriminate demand for wildlife products is a driving force of wildlife crime. Effective demand reduction strategies must be developed and implemented.
The ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network has made important inroads toward tackling wildlife crime in Southeast Asia. Establishment of a similar wildlife enforcement network in South Asia is urgently needed.
Workshop delegates call upon relevant governments, organizations and civil society to make the following pledges, to be known as:
The Pattaya Pledges
Governments in Asia
Protect natural resources from theft and destruction through:
- Crime prevention and deterrence;
- Intelligence-led enforcement, effective patrolling and anti-poaching activities;
- Effective and accountable governance and management of fragile ecosystems;
- Fostering stewardship by communities;
- Effective control of illegal domestic wildlife use;
- Reducing demand for illegal wildlife products;
Disrupt and dismantle organised wildlife crime networks in source and demand countries by:
- Identifying, investigating and prosecuting significant cases, obtaining significant terms of imprisonment and fines, and seizing and forfeiting the proceeds and tools of the criminal activities;
- Using laws against corruption, money laundering, fraud, organized crime, smuggling, as well as criminal and non-conviction based forfeiture, to combat wildlife crime;
- Ensuring effective collaboration and cooperation among enforcement agencies;
- Ensuring timely and effective mutual legal assistance
- Enacting and implementing stronger legislation, which ensures penalties on a par with drug and arms trafficking;
Ratify and vigorously implement the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) and related protocols. Monitoring to ensure compliance with the conventions is essential;
Provide all human, financial, technical and training resources to law-enforcement personnel, prosecutors and the judiciary to combat wildlife crime;
To fully support the ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network and a similar enforcement network in South Asia, and;
To engage with the international community in implementing the above pledges.
The CITES Secretariat, ICPO-Interpol, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the World Bank and the World Customs Organization, among others, to provide support to the ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network and a Similar South Asia enforcement Network;
The World Bank will use its convening power and leadership to:
- Generate political will and influence public policy for the emergence of a development paradigm that integrates biodiversity values;
- Enhance financial and technical resources to reverse the serious decline of wildlife and improve management of high conservation value landscapes;
- Support national capacity building
- Continue support to the Global Tiger Initiative
The South Asia Co-operative Environment Programme (SACEP) to continue to pledge its support to the establishment of a wildlife enforcement network in South Asia and ensure its collaboration with other enforcement networks, particularly ASEAN-WEN;
IUCN to call upon its members to seek high-level political commitment to actively support efforts to combat illegal wildlife trade in Asia;
The United Nations system to recognise that wildlife crime poses a significant threat to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
Civil society organisations increase support for communities seeking alternative livelihoods that results in reduced local involvement in wildlife crime and increased support for law-enforcement efforts to protect natural resources;
Reduce consumer demand for illegally-sourced wildlife and its products;
Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) assist with finding resources to sustain wildlife law enforcement efforts and to effectively deliver the latest information on poaching and illegal trade arising from their research and analysis to the appropriate agencies responsible for countering illegal trade and managing wildlife and protecting ecosystems;
Commercial sector to conduct and facilitate wildlife trade in a legal and sustainable manner and support and promote efforts to combat illegal trade, including consumer education.
The participants recognize that the wildlife of Asia will continue its perilous course to extinction unless the pledges made here are kept. We do not want our grandchildren to remember us as the generation that stood by while their natural heritage was stolen and destroyed. Let us bequeath to them a healed and intact world where rivers run clear, air is clean and rich, forests are pristine and there are still wild places where wild creatures run free. Our children deserve this heritage and we must not fail them.
Participants noted with sincere appreciation the Royal Government of Thailand’s intention to convene a Ministerial meeting in 2009 to tackle this ‘forgotten crisis’ in Asia.
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