In December 2005, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) launched the ASEAN Wildlife Law Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN) as a regional effort to improve cooperation in combating wildlife crime in Southeast Asia. In the ASEAN statement for its launch, member states noted the “need to strengthen enforcement of CITES and other legislation for wildlife protection” and to “address the serious problem caused by illegal domestic and international trade in wild fauna and flora” given that the “available resources for enforcement are inadequate.”
The ten members of ASEAN are:
Although not a member of ASEAN, the United States provides foreign aid for ASEAN-WEN through USAID’s ECO-Asia ASEAN-WEN Support Project. Under this USAID program, the United States is assisting ASEAN-WEN to provide development and capacity building for national wildlife crime task forces, regional cooperation and interaction among task forces, and collaboration with the global law enforcement community.
Other regional efforts to combat the illegal wildlife trade similar to ASEAN-WEN have grown in popularity in recent years, though the United States is not as heavily involved in them at this time. These regional efforts are generally perceived by observers as a positive development, as they bolster regional commitments to solve a criminal activity that is inherently transboundary in nature. Some, however, question whether these new initiatives will be sufficient in curtailing the illegal wildlife trade.
- ASEAN Wildlife Law Enforcement Network website, accessed October 5, 2009
- “ASEAN Statement on Launching of the ASEAN Wildlife Law Enforcement Network at the Special Meeting of the ASEAN Ministers Responsible for the Implementation of CITES,” Bangkok, Thailand, December 1, 2005.
- USAID, “Environmental Cooperation-Asia (ECO-Asia) ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network.”
- International efforts to combat wildlife crime
- Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
- Coalition Against Wildlife Trafficking
Disclaimer: This article is taken wholly from, or contains information that was originally published by, the Congressional Research Service. Topic editors and authors for the Encyclopedia of Earth may have edited its content or added new information. The use of information from the Congressional Research Service should not be construed as support for or endorsement by that organization for any new information added by EoE personnel, or for any editing of the original content.
Note: The first version of this article was drawn from RL34395 International Illegal Trade in Wildlife: Threats and U.S. Policy by Liana Sun Wyler and Pervaze A. Sheikh, Congressional Research Service on February 2, 2009.