The South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN), an inter-governmental wildlife law enforcement agency, in its first-ever meeting in India, adopted many resolutions to curb wildlife crime in the region.
At the two-day conference held here from May 8-10, representatives of seven out of eight countries participated, and the members agreed on having an operational framework for strengthening the regional body to combat wildlife crime.
SAWEN is a regional network comprises eight countries in South Asia –Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
It aims at working as a strong regional intergovernmental body for combating wildlife crimes by attempting common goals and approaches for combating illegal trade in the region.
The significance of SAWEN:
The South Asia region is very vulnerable to illegal traffic and wildlife crimes due to the presence of precious biodiversity and large markets as well as traffic routes for wildlife products in the region. The collaboration in harmonising as well as enforcing the wildlife protection in the region is considered very important for the effective conservation of biodiversity.
How will it help India?
India along with other member countries will take initiatives to bring “harmonisation and standardisation” in laws and policies to conserve fauna and flora and will also document the trend of poaching, illegal trade and related threats to the natural biodiversity.
This will also strengthen institutional responses to combat wildlife crime by promoting research and information sharing, training and capacity building, technical support, sharing experiences and outreach and to encourage member countries to prepare and implement their national action plans in curbing wildlife crime.
Wildlife crime has emerged as one of the greatest threats to the survival of many wildlife species in South Asia as well as across the globe. This organized crime involving multi-billion dollars is highly trans-national and remains flourishing as a result of the weak legal framework and/or lax enforcement in the source, transit, and destination countries. Curbing the wildlife crime demands well-coordinated multi-agency and multi-country efforts with the high level of commitment and advancement.