Do you know that HIV, Ebola, H5N1, SARS, etc., have all been proven to be zoonotic diseases, which originate from wildlife and transmit to humans?
The People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature) held a workshop in Hanoi on November 6 to discuss promoting cooperation among social organizations in the fight against wildlife and timber smuggling in ASEAN.
Held by PanNature – a non-profitable organization operating in wildlife protection in Vietnam, the event was within the framework of the ASEAN Peoples’ Forum 2020.
Addressing the opening ceremony, Director of PanNature Trinh Le Nguyen said regional biodiversity is being seriously threatened due to excessive exploitation, illegal hunting, and trading. The event is expected to offer initiatives to enhance cooperation among stakeholders in social organizations towards dealing with threats from wildlife trade crime in the bloc.
Dr. To Xuan Phuc from Forest Trends organization said the Chiang Mai Statement of ASEAN Ministers responsible for Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and Wildlife Enforcement on Illegal Wildlife Trade in March 2019 also reaffirmed that crime related to wildlife is a threat and strong cooperation and action in the region is needed.
He said in order to deal with illegal timber exploitation and trade, ASEAN member states need to encourage bilateral talks to share data and approaches to trans-border issues taken by social organizations.
Dwi Adhiasto, an expert on illegal wildlife trade from Indonesia, said many have been found to use social media to sell wildlife products due to high profit and low risk since 2019.
He proposed that in the near future, many countries should strive to build a network of information on ASEAN illegal wildlife trade, improve the capacity of social organisations and stakeholders in terms of approaches, cybersecurity, inter-national connectivity and inter-continental cooperation.
Participants at the event highlighted a need to forge stronger coordination not only between ASEAN governments, social organizations but also other organizations specialized in wildlife preservation and prevention of wildlife-related crimes via different activities.