The SAWEN Secretariat in collaboration with the Government of Maldives organized the Fifth Executive Committee (EC) Meeting of SAWEN on 26 March 2019 in Malé, Maldives. The major objective of the regular meeting was to discuss on national and regional prospects in illegal wildlife trade and combating measures applied by the member countries and importantly upbringing of SAWEN with possible activities. The meeting was completed in presence of H.E. Dr. Abdulla Naseer, Honorable Minister of State for Environment, Maldives and was chaired by Mr. Man Bahadur Khadka, Chief Enforcement Coordinator of SAWEN.
Inaugurating the meeting, honorable minister Dr. Abdulla Naseer said 'we have to acknowledge that wildlife crime is prevalent, transnational and no country can tackle wildlife crime alone. Poaching, unsustainable harvesting, practices and trade in wildlife is indeed a threat in all our nations. SAWEN being an intergovernmental wildlife law enforcement support body of the South Asian countries can play a lead role in coordinating enforcement in the region.'
In a closing statement of the inaugural program, Mr. Man Bahadur Khadka, Chief Enforcement Coordinator of SAWEN, pointed out that in order to stop wildlife crime, there is urgent need to put the utmost effort to eradicate market for illegal wildlife products by ensuring strong enough laws to discourage the criminals and providing sustainable livelihoods for those who might otherwise be tempted by the short term gains of wildlife poaching. Reflecting the SAWEN vision, he has requested for every possible cooperation and collaboration to minimize the global threat of illegal wildlife trade in the region and beyond. He further requested to support in strengthening of SAWEN including by securing financial sustainability with funding from the SAWEN member countries.
Mr. Ahmed Shan, SAWEN focal person of Maldives and senior environmental analyst of Environment Protection Agency, Maldives, welcomed all the participants coming for the meeting.
Among eight, six member countries - Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka - participated in the meeting. SAWEN focal persons of Afghanistan and Bhutan could not participate in the meeting. The meeting discussed on national level wildlife crime scenario and control initiatives along with their associated issues for the better output and enhanced cooperation with other member countries. Different modus operandi, emerging of illegal trade of known and lesser known species, new routes and intervention approaches were shared by the member countries during first part of the meeting.
In the second part of the meeting, earlier decisions taken during previous EC meeting were reviewed. Further, the meeting discussed on future activities of SAWEN including sooner action in the CITES CoP18 to be held in May-June 2019 in Sri Lanka; regional workshop; high level meeting. Secretariat will prepare a consolidated action plan with reference to the action plans received from the member countries. Mobilization of endowment fund for regular activities of SAWEN was also discussed.