26 October 2016, Dhaka. The third SAWEN Annual Meeting of South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN) kicked off today in Dhaka. Honorable Minister Mr Anwar Hossain Manju, MP, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh inaugurated the meeting during a special event organized here today.
SAWEN is an intergovernmental wildlife law enforcement support body of South Asian countries represented by Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. It promotes wider cooperation and collaboration to combat wildlife crime in South Asia.
Inaugurating the meeting, honorable minister highlighted the serious threat to the plight of numerous wildlife species caused by unprecedented level of poaching and illegal trade in wildlife. Stressing on the need for collaborative action, he further said "Bangladesh Government believes intergovernmental and inter-organizational collaboration, coordination, commitment and action can reduce the poaching and illegal trade".
During the occasion, the Chief Enforcement Coordinator of SAWEN, Mr Gopal Prakash Bhattarai announced that five member countries have endorsed the SAWEN Statute making SAWEN a legitimate intergovernmental regional organization. In October this year, the Government of Bangladesh had endorsed the SAWEN Statute becoming the fifth member country endorsing the Statute.
Recognizing the regional cooperation as an imperative approach to deal with highly transnational and complex wildlife crime, SAWEN was launched in 2011 during the second meeting of the South Asia Experts Group on Illegal Wildlife Trade in Bhutan. The first and second annual meetings were organized in Sri Lanka in 2012 and in Nepal in 2014 respectively.
The third meeting aims to stock take the progress made by the member countries in combating wildlife crime, plan for the implementation of the SAWEN Statute, promote and enhance collaboration with regional and international organizations to combat wildlife crime, and garner multi-agency and multi-disciplinary approach to address wildlife crime.
On the eve of the third annual meeting, the First Executive Committee Meeting of SAWEN was held on 25 October 2016. The meeting discussed and made important decisions regarding further institutionalization of the organization.
The third meeting was organized in collaboration with the Bangladesh Forest Department with the financial support from the World Bank. The meeting is attended by delegates from 6 member countries and representatives of various international organizations including CITES, INTERPOL, UNODC, The World Bank, IUCN, TRAFFIC, WWF and other development organizations including USAID, GIZ.
For further information:
Ashit Ranjan Paul, Conservator of Forests, Bangladesh Forest Department
Pradeep Bhattarai, Environment Officer, SAWEN Secretariat