A Regional Meeting of the Focal Persons of the South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN) was held from 4-6 November, 2015 in Kathmandu. The focal persons of the member countries, except Afghanistan, participated in the meeting to discuss on wildlife crime issues in the region and institutionalization of SAWEN as an intergovernmental body to combat wildlife crime in the South Asia region. The major objectives of the meeting were to update SAWEN progress and achievements; discuss on the SAWEN Statute endorsement process, and provide a strategic direction to institutionalize SAWEN.
Inaugurating the meeting, Mr. Madhu Prasad Regmi, Secretary, Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, emphasized to create South Asia as a safe place for wildlife. Mr. Fanindra Raj Kharel, Chief Enforcement Coordinator of SAWEN, highlighted the wildlife crime as one of the major and immediate conservation challenges, and stressed on the need for concerted efforts to tackle wildlife crime in the region.
During the meeting, the delegates from the member countries underscored wildlife crime in South Asia as a serious problem that undermines decades of conservation efforts and threatens the existence of many iconic species. They expressed their continued commitment to minimizing the crime through collaboration and cooperation among the member countries. In addition, the delegates from the member countries agreed to expedite the current SAWEN Statute endorsement process from their respective Governments. The meeting also discussed on common issues such as communication and information exchange; reviewing progress; and enhancing partnerships with regional and international organizations for curbing wildlife crime in the region.
The meeting was jointly organized by the SAWEN Secretariat in collaboration with the Government of Nepal, National Trust for Nature Conservation, and the World Bank.