An innovative legal capacity-building and research support initiative, this program was set up to help provide legal-based solutions to combat transnational wildlife trafficking in Southeast Asia, via legal analyses, toolkit development, training, in-country missions, and research support to ASEAN-WEN and its member agencies.
ASEAN-WEN Regional Stakeholders Law and Policy Workshops
The first ASEAN-WEN Regional Stakeholders Law and Policy Workshop, set up as a forum for consultations and networking, was held in Singapore in December 2014 and was attended by law enforcement officials, parliamentarians, judges, prosecutors, and legal experts from all 10 ASEAN countries and the US. The workshop discussed how best to use available legal resources to combat transnational wildlife trafficking.
Pre-SOMTC (ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crimes) Research Support
Outputs of the workshop in Singapore and preliminary findings would be endorsed by ASEAN for the SOMTC (Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime) Leaders Meeting in March 2015 to guide their plans to support environmental crime/wildlife crime as a new focus area in their home states.
Development of a Law Enforcement Handbook
One of the program’s objectives is to create a law enforcement handbook to provide criminal justice and law enforcement officials from the ASEAN region with an array of key national hard and soft laws for the prosecution of wildlife crimes. These include international cooperation, mutual legal assistance, anti-money laundering statuses and extradition. The handbook will also provide guidance on how these tools might be relevant to the investigation and prosecution of wildlife crime cases.
Policy and Legislative Reforms: Enhancing Policies
Strengthening relevant laws and their enforcement remains the biggest challenge, which is why it was a great moment for the Freeland/ARREST Program when a resolution approved by the General Assembly at the ASEAN Parliamentary Summit in 2012 recognized wildlife crime for the first time as an important issue. This led to the signing of an agreement of cooperation with Freeland to support the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) and its national parliaments in December 2012. AIPA is ASEAN’s network of parliamentary leaders and institutions.
Moving forward, the program supports national legislative consultations in selected ASEAN Member States working on strengthening policies to support wildlife enforcement and consumption reduction. Other novel approaches, such as parliamentary-ranger/investigators field interactions, are being developed, all to raise awareness of the plight of wildlife enforcers and the natural heritage which they protect.
Latest Law and Policy News
ASEAN Member States launched a new first-of-its-kind ‘ASEAN Handbook on Legal Cooperation to Combat Wildlife Crime’ in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry of Indonesia, the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN) and Freeland.
ASEAN Legislators and Civil Society Congratulate Ministers for Upgrading Wildlife and Timber Trafficking to Serious Organized Crime.
A multi-country Parliamentary Effort Takes a Serious Stand Against Wildlife Crime. Freeland congratulates the 36th General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) on their approval today of a resolution to combat wildlife crime, making wildlife crime a permanent item on the AIPA Caucus Agenda.
Law enforcement officials, parliamentarians, judges, prosecutors, and legal experts from all 10 ASEAN countries and the United States convened in Singapore recently to build a new program designed to reduce the poaching and trafficking of wild animals and plants in Southeast Asia.
Thailand’s Wild Reservation and Protection Act B.E. 2535 (1992), commonly known as WARPA, has been debated for 14 years, and is in need of updating to deter criminals from trafficking wildlife in The Kingdom. Thailand’s current law includes a maximum fine of US$1,300 for wildlife criminals and up to four years in prison, though very few traffickers have gone to jail.