Joint efforts key to end wildlife threats
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
ASEAN could obliterate the illegal exploitation of wildlife in the region through collective efforts and coordinated joint actions, said a senior government official yesterday.
Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources (MIPR) Hjh Hasnah Hj Ibrahim said such joint efforts could promote greater unity and integration in the region.
Hjh Hasnah was speaking during the launch of the 10th ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network (10th ASEAN-WEN) and the 11th ASEAN Experts Group on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (11th AEG-CITES) yesterday.
In her opening remarks, the deputy permanent secretary said that illegal wildlife exploitation could be reduced and prevented to help preserve the region’s endangered wildlife and ecosystem.
“In the past century, over forty per cent of wildlife in the region has been wiped out because of illegal exploitation of wildlife,” she said.
Hjh Hasnah highlighted illicit wildlife trafficking as an environment-related crime that involves illegal trade, smuggling, poaching, capture or collection of endangered species.
“Plants and animals are being trafficked across borders and have far-reaching implications towards society as well as threaten the national and international security,” she added.
Hjh Hasnah said that ASEAN could work together to address and tackle wildlife issues in the region through the development of the post-2015 Strategic Plan of Actions (SPA).
The SPA strengthens regional cooperation and integration, and aids ASEAN-WEN in strengthening the regional network of collaborative activities to reduce the supply of and demand for illegally-traded wildlife.
It could also educate and raise public awareness and improve legislation and policy.
“The key principle at play here is for us to take a tough stance that, whilst freer movement and integration is promoted, the sanctity of our countries’ borders must be respected,” Hjh Hasnah said.
The annual four-day meeting is taking place this week at the Rizqun International Hotel in Gadong.
Brunei has taken action to ensure the preservation of wildlife and promote awareness on the country’s endangered animals following the establishment of the Wildlife Division at the MIPR in October 2012.
Since June 2012, Brunei has prohibited the catching and selling of sharks as a measure to ensure the shark resources in the country’s waters are preserved for generations to come.
The Brunei Times