Interpol.int-Joint enforcement strategy to combat illegal wildlife trade in central asia
A regional workshop on illegal wildlife trade in Central Asia was organized on 17 and 18 September 2015 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. It was attended by representatives of national law enforcement agencies from Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia and Tajikistan, as well as inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations from the region.
The workshop was organized by the Government of Kyrgyzstan, the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystems Protection Program (GSLEP), the Snow Leopard Trust and the United Nations Development Programme, in close collaboration with INTERPOL. It led to the development of a joint regional enforcement strategy to combat wildlife crime.
“Wildlife crime occurring in the region includes poaching, trafficking and trade primarily in endangered snow leopards, bears, ungulates and birds”, said Mr. Rustam Muratov of Tajikistan. Only a small proportion of these illegally trafficked wildlife products ultimately end up in Central Asia – but delegates at the workshop recognized that their countries are frequently used for transit of such products on their way towards illegal markets in East Asia, the Middle East, Europe and America.
“We need to align our efforts in the preparation and implementation of an Action Plan to combat illegal wildlife trade in our countries and work together in a coordinated manner”, said Sabir Atadjanov, Director of the State Agency for Environmental Protection and Forestry, Government of the Kyrgyz Republic.
Corruption, lack of competence of executing bodies, low incentives, lack of accountability, insufficient coordination between organizations and inadequate capacity of frontline staff were identified as the main challenges to implementing effective law enforcement strategies to combat wildlife crime in the region. “Providing targeted training to frontline staff including rangers, police, custom officers and border service personnel is essential”, added Kubanychbek Jumabai Uulu, the Kyrgyzstan program director for the Snow Leopard Trust. “Thanks to a grant from the UK government, we’ve already begun to train rangers in Kyrgyzstan’s protected areas in cooperation with INTERPOL. Such efforts could be scaled up across the region”, he added.
INTERPOL’s Luke Bond added, “there is need for a multi-agency coordinated, collaborative and strategic regional response supported by National Environmental Security Task Forces within each participating country to combat the threat posed by wildlife crime.” Such a regional network was proposed as part of the draft enforcement strategy that the delegates developed. Its goal will be to focus on common themes cutting across international boundaries to provide greater control over poaching and trafficking of wildlife, to share intelligence, conduct joint operations, engage in advocacy and identify capacity building opportunities.
The workshop was followed by a five-day standard enforcement training for frontline wildlife officers from Kyrgyzstan. The training was delivered by INTERPOL and organized by the Snow Leopard Trust and the Protected Area Department of Kyrgyzstan. 24 rangers from 20 protected areas across Kyrgyzstan participated in the training. Participants were trained on a range of standard enforcement skills, operational planning and crime scene investigation.
This was the first phase of a three-year commitment that has been made to Kyrgyzstan, in a collaborative program by the Snow Leopard Trust and INTERPOL. The commitment is funded by a grant from the United Kingdom Illegal Wildlife Trade Fund.
For more information, please refer to: globalsnowleopard.org