On May 27, 2014, more than 100 representatives from government, non-governmental organizations, and international donor agencies from around the globe participated in the ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network Partnership Workshop to discuss the future of the Network Discussions focused on opportunities to mainstream wildlife protection into existing ASEAN and non-governmental organization programs in the region.

ASEAN government financial contributions to the Secretariat (also known as the Program Coordination Unit) of ASEAN-Wildlife Enforcement Network were also discussed.  Participants agreed that ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network and the Program Coordination Unit play a vital role in combating global wildlife trafficking, and the importance of making it as effective as possible to better serve the needs and priorities of the ASEAN Member States.

Currently, Thailand is the only country contributing financially to the functioning of the Program Coordination Unit, but encouragingly Vietnam, as the workshop host, also pledged to provide assistance. USAID-funded Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking Program is now winding down financial support for the Program Coordination Unit, leaving financial responsibility in the hands of the ASEAN Member States according the ASEAN-Wildlife Enforcement Network Sustainability Strategy and Plan.

The matter was further discussed at the ASEAN-Wildlife Enforcement Network 9th Annual meeting, which ran back-to-back with the Partnership Workshop on May 28 to 29.  During the Annual Wildlife Enforcement Network Meeting Vietnam also offered official secondments to the Program Coordination Unit, while other countries pledged to take the message home to higher levels about the urgent need to provide sustainable funding for the Program Coordination Unit.

Source: USAID/RDMA Regional Environment Office Weekly Update