8 May 2018, Kolkata, India: A Regional Meeting of the member countries of the South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN) was kicked off today in Kolkata, India. The meeting will be held from 8-10, May 2018. This is the first meeting of its kind organized by SAWEN in India with its focus on combating wildlife crime in South Asia through a regional effort. The focal persons of the member countries, except Pakistan, are participating 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 are to update on the SAWEN progress and achievements; to discuss on a strategic direction to institutionalize SAWEN; and to explore collaboration opportunities with partners.
The meeting was inaugurated today in Kolkata. The Chief Guest of the inaugural event was Shree Man Mohan Singh Negi, Additional Director General of Forest, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. Other dignitaries present in this auspicious event were Mr. Man Bahadur Khadka, Chief Enforcement Officer, SAWEN; Mr. Ravi Kant Sinha, PCCF (wildlife) and Chief Wildlife Warden, Government of West Bengal; and the focal persons from the SAWEN member countries. Three member delegates from all the SAWEN member countries which include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are participating in this workshop. Also participating in the workshop are representatives from INTERPOL, CITES, USFWS, GTF, WWF, ZSL, TRAFFIC, UNODC, ICIMOD, WCS India, WEMS, UNEP, USAID, US Embassy, US State Government, and National Trust for Nature Conservation, Nepal. Speaking in the inaugural event, Shree Negi emphasized on close collaboration among the member countries in order to combat wildlife crime in South Asia. Mr. Khadka, Chief Enforcement Coordinator of SAWEN, highlighted the wildlife crime as one of the major and immediate conservation challenge, and stressed on the need for harmonization of laws and policies of the SAWEN member countries to tackle wildlife crime from the region.
This event is jointly organized by the SAWEN Secretariat in collaboration with the Government of Nepal, Wildlife Crime Control Bureau of India, and National Trust for Nature Conservation, Nepal.