On November 22, 2013, international and government organizations met in Bangkok for the 15th Meeting of Asian Partners Forum on Combating Environmental Crime (ARPEC).  The regional forum provides a platform for stakeholders to showcase new efforts and further develop strategic partnerships to combat environmental crime, including the trafficking of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS), hazardous materials, electronic waste and wildlife.

Participants included members of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Customs Organisation (WCO), the Norwegian Environment Agency, Interpol and the USAID-funded Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking (ARREST) program, among many other organizations.  Freeland, the implementing partner of the ARREST Program, presented two tools to combat wildlife crime.  First, Wildscan, a species identification and response mobile application which is still under development and PROTECT FIST, a field information support tool.  

PROTECT FIST is a mobile information exchange application used by law enforcement which has already been tested and used by Thai rangers combatting environmental crime.  Both of the presentations received great feedback and it was clear the initiatives of the ARREST Program to develop mobile solutions were not only innovative but inspirational as well.

Source: USAID/RDMA Regional Environment Office Weekly Update