A Symposium hosted by the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, Nepal and co-hosted by South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN), Global Tiger Forum, Global Tiger Initiative, WWF, and National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC) was kicked off in Nepal on 2nd February, 2015 and ends on 6th February, 2015. The symposium aims to share and understand best practices to improve anti-poaching actions and promote the launch of an Asia-wide escalation of activities to combat poaching of tigers, Asian rhinos, Asian elephants and other threatened species in the region. Wildlife experts from 13 tiger range countries and representatives from relevant organizations were participated in the symposium. Addressing the inaugural ceremony, Honourable Mahesh Acharya, Minister for Forests and Soil Conservation, Nepal called for region-wide action, noting the choice was zero poaching or zero wildlife. “Our efforts should now focus towards controlling the illegal wildlife trade, break the network of poachers and implement stringent law enforcement strategies to protect our wildlife,” he said.
'Nepal has achieved outstanding results in setting a role model for zero poaching for Asia as well as other parts of the world for four years,' said Mr. Sharad Chandra Paudel, Secretary of Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation. He further added that the fight against poaching in the initial stage since the political insurgency of 2000 was challenging and sounded almost impossible. Mr. Tika Ram Adhikari, Chief Enforcement Coordinator of SAWEN and Director General Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, Nepal cited poverty, greed, unemployment, corruption, lack of awareness, political instability and weak law enforcement as the main factors behind the rise in poaching and wildlife crime. He also highlighted the role of local community participation for combating wildlife crime. In this backdrop, SAWEN is coordinating its eight member countries including Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Kingdom of Bhutan, Republic of India, Republic of Maldives, Nepal, Republic of Pakistan and Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka for regional cooperation, sharing of best practices and lesson learn from weakness for combating wildlife crime in the South Asia region. SAWEN secretariat will facilitate the member countries on bridging the gap on better cooperation through regular assessment, promoting of best technologies usage, building the capacity, encouragement of community engagement, and enhancing the effectiveness of law enforcement. (Source : SAWEN)