Posts Tagged ‘ASEAN-WEN’

Wildlife Crime Police Expand Scope

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

Here’s some new developments in international environmental law enforcement worth paying attention to.  First, earlier this month INTERPOL’s General Assembly voted unanimously in favor of a resolution encouraging greater global policing efforts to stem environmental crimes.  This may sound like diplo-speak for more nothing, but it is a necessary step to Interpol’s Environmental Programme moving forward.  I was at Interpol HQ for talks in Lyon, France earlier this year.  The program has a lot of potential and offers a fairly neutral forum to address transnational environmental crime, but it is so poorly funded it relies on a couple of NGOs for its budget.

The second development is the new International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) “eye-kwik,” which will bring together INTERPOL, CITES, World Customs, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the World Bank into a new effort.  These are key international institutions related to wildlife and crime but ICCWC is yet another committee and the word “wildlife” tends to yield next to no money/government commitment when it comes to crime.  It remains to be seen what the group will produce.  An alternative might have been to step up authority for INTERPOL’s environmental programme without creating a new entity. 

ICWCC is touted in this linked story as an alternative to ASEAN’s wildlife enforcement network, criticized here for not taking down the real Mister Bigs of SE Asia.  WEN could certainly do more, but it has made progress.  And that is more than most wildlife trade bodies can say. 

Check out Azrina Abdullah’s excellent comment below:

Courts are Everything

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

In researching The Lizard King I discovered that historically the most important innovation in wildlife law enforcement was not more money or more cops, but a committed court.  The creation of the Wildlife and Marine Resources Division in the US Dept of Justice and its attendant Environmental Crimes Section in the wake of the Henry Molt reptile smuggling case was the single most important development in getting wildlife crimes prosecuted. AUSA (now judge) Chris McAliley modeled her prosecutorial office in Miami after the DOJ’s Environmental Crime Section as did a prosecutor in California, resulting in the two of the most effective wildlife enforcement jurisdictions in the world.   It’s worth adding that John Webb (below) was McAliley’s mentor.  As usual, Azrina Abdullah says it best:

Judges warm up to green issues  by Azrina Abdullah (22 Nov 2010)

MUCH has been said in my column and letters to the editor about the need for stronger enforcement and laws to shed Malaysia’s image as an illegal wildlife trade hub. The focus has been on enforcement. And to the government’s credit, laws have been improved and enforced, in addition to investigations by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission of a senior staff of the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan).

However, many tend to forget that judges play an essential role in the efforts to reduce wildlife trafficking. It is only in recent years that the judiciary was recognised as a key agent in the (more…)

Thai Success a Failure?

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Thailand’s Wildlife Crime Task Force arrested a Malagasy national attempting to smuggle 218 critically endangered Radiated and Ploughshare tortoises from Madagascar into Bangkok last night.  This arrest comes just 12 days after the arrest of a Pakistani man smuggling an astonishing 1,140 endangered star tortoises into Thailand in his luggage, and is the sixth arrest of a wildlife smuggler in seven weeks, according to the Thailand-based NGO Freeland.  This work may appear commendable, but there is a big problem.

Catching couriers may get press releases but it does not stop wildlife trafficking.  What stops trafficking is (more…)