With the ASEAN Economic Community coming into effect in just over a year, the need for proper national regulatory frameworks to combat wildlife crime is becoming increasingly urgent.  Borders throughout ASEAN suffer from uneven enforcement, loopholes, and weak penalties for perpetrators of wildlife crimes. 

On September 18-22, the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) held its 34th General Assembly (GA) in Brunei Darussalam.  With the impending ASEAN economic integration, AIPA’s leading role in synchronization of regional and national policies is imperative to ensure better wildlife enforcement. In the plenary session, representatives from ASEAN-Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN) presented their successes, highlighting AIPA’s leading role in providing direct support to national task forces.

The USAID-funded program, ARREST (Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking) also called on AIPA leaders to discuss concrete partnership opportunities such as policy support to national parliaments, joint fundraising, capacity building activities, and joint missions to build upon the progress made at the 33rd General Assembly held last year in Indonesia.  At last year’s event, ASEAN parliamentarians passed a resolution to support ASEAN-WEN, its national task forces, and the implementation of ARREST.  

AIPA plays a role in supervising and overseeing all the activities undertaken by all member states.  The meetings underscored the importance of cooperation between the executives and parliamentarians in moving toward ASEAN community.

Source: USAID/RDMA Regional Environment Office Weekly Update