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PHL outlines plans to combat illegal cross-border trade of endangered flora, fauna

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The Philippines has outlined three steps to take as this year’s chair of ASEAN-Wildlife Enforcement Network (WEN) to further combat illegal cross-border trade of endangered flora and fauna, and increase public awareness of wildlife crime and its impacts to reduce consumer demand.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said the country statement was delivered by Philippine Ambassador to Thailand Linglingay Lacanlale at the recently concluded launch of Asia's Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking (ARREST) in Bangkok.

The ambassador said the first step is "to continue exploring mechanisms to strengthen cooperation and coordination in the region and nationally, through our respective task forces and inter-agency coordination platforms."

The second step, she mentioned, is to continue raising the profile of ASEAN-WEN by talking about its achievements at every appropriate forum.

Finally, Ambassador Lacanlale stated that the third step is to continue building partnerships and creating linkages with countries outside Southeast Asia in as much as wildlife trafficking is transnational in character that requires joint concerted action by governments worldwide.

The Philippines, through Director Theresa Mundita Lim of the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), assumed the one-year chairmanship of ASEAN-WEN in May 2011 at the 6th Annual Meeting of the Network in Manila.

ARREST, a program funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), will complement the work of ASEAN-WEN in combating illegal cross-border trade in endangered flora and fauna.

Lacanlale also noted the accomplishments of ASEAN-WEN since its founding in 2005, including several enforcement actions by national teams and inter-agency task forces that led to the recovery of live wildlife, animal parts and derivates worth millions of dollars in Manila, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Cambodia, and the arrest, investigation and prosecution of those responsible.

Lacanlale assured of the Philippines' commitment to continue the excellent work done by Thailand, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia and Myanmar as previous Country Chairs in advancing the goals and objectives of ASEAN-WEN. (PNA)




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