South Asian law enforcement agencies have sought strong collaboration among member countries working to combat wildlife crime and vowed to streamline and standardize the legal policies of their respective countries. Concluding a three-day second annual conference of the South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN) on Friday, the participants from member countries also endorsed its statute, but could not finalize a proposed action plan to combat wildlife crime in the region. Megh Bahadur Pandey, director general of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC), who is also chief enforcement coordinator of SAWEN, said the members will recommend policies to their respective governments and organizations to make SAWEN more effective.
“The conference strongly felt the need for intra-country law enforcement initiatives through intelligence sharing on wildlife crime,” he said.
The SAWEN meeting was a milestone in bringing South Asian law enforcement agencies under one roof to share skills and experience in the conservation of fauna and flora, according to DSP Sabin Pradhan, a participant from the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) of Nepal Police.
The meeting dwelt at length on poaching trends and illegal wildlife trade, and related threats to biodiversity within and across the countries of the region. It discussed promotion of partnership with relevant institutions for research and information sharing, training, capacity building, technical support and sharing of DNA fingerprints of the most-poached wildlife in the region.
Over 50 participants from the governments of South Asian countries and international experts attended the meeting. SAWEN is an inter-governmental body of South Asian countries including Nepal, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. SAWEN was formally launched in 2011 in Bhutan. Its next meeting has been planned for 2015 in Dhaka.