Updated: Oct 17, 2018
This week the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Wildlife Enforcement Network, USAID and Freeland launched WildScan, a new mobile application that identifies endangered species. It is designed to help law enforcement officials combat wildlife trafficking, an illicit trade estimated at $19 billion per year and run by organized criminal syndicates. WildScan contains photos and important information for more than 280 endangered species and illegal wildlife products commonly trafficked into and throughout Southeast Asia. The app is meant to help properly identify the animals and create a rapid response to rescue them. "The U.S. Government is strongly committed to working with partners in the region to address this serious and growing problem, and smart and creative use of technology, like WildScan, will contribute much to these efforts," said U.S. Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney. "The application makes it possible for all of us to report wildlife trafficking and do our part to support ongoing law enforcement efforts to counter this illegal trade.” WildScanwas produced through a collaborative partnership between academics, law enforcement, scientists and other wildlife specialists. Developed under the USAID-funded Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking (ARREST) Program and implemented by Freeland, the application allows users to input information such as the color and size of the animal to quickly identify the species. It also includes essential animal care instructions and a simple reporting function. The ARREST Program will work closely with all stakeholders to improve the app going forward and WildScan will be integrated into all future trainings for law enforcement. Download the app here. Read more about the launch event here.
USAID PFAN-Asia Supports Feasibility Studies for Next Generation “Smart" Street Lighting Systems in Three Indonesian Cities The USAID Private Financing Advisory Network-Asia and city officials from three Indonesian cities - Denpasar, Solo and Bandung - signed letters of support for feasibility studies for energy efficient street lighting upgrades. The estimated investment necessary for each of these three projects is approximately $20 million. There is significant potential for similar lighting projects in many other cities across Indonesia as well as in South and Southeast Asia region. The use of energy efficient street lighting technology can result in substantial savings in both energy usage and ongoing maintenance, with installations in Paris and Shenzen resulting in anticipated savings of 35 and 52 percent, respectively.
USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific Partners with United Nations Development Programme to Boost Access to Climate Finance in Asia and the Pacific Government delegates from more than 20 Asian and Pacific Island Nations came together this week along with development partners to identify national and regional priorities for strengthening their public financial management systems in order to better access and manage financing for climate change adaptation projects. During the two-day USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific Third Annual Forum, organized in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, country delegations verified and updated inventories of the systems used in their country for public management of climate adaptation finance. The forum provided a platform for participants to share experiences that strengthen specific aspects of their country systems, such as climate-sensitive policy development in Bhutan, the economic assessment of adaptation projects in Thailand and climate finance budget tracking in Nepal, and to identify solutions to overcome climate financing challenges. Participants identified priorities that show a persistent need in the region to build the capacity to develop strong climate-resilient project proposals in order to be able to access climate adaptation financing. Proceedings of the Forum detailing the outcomes of country work and group discussions are forthcoming. Read more here.
Government delegates from over 20 Asian and Pacific island nations shared experiences on climate finance at the USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific Third Annual Forum. Lao and Vietnamese Officials Exchange Information on REDD+ Study Tour In a step forward for cross-border and regional collaborative efforts on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+),10 officials from Laos visited Hanoi and Vietnam’s Lam Dong Province the week of September 8 to learn and exchange information on the province’s Provincial REDD+ Action Plan. USAID's Lowering Emissions inAsia's Forests (USAID LEAF) program has worked with UN-REDD and the Multiple Benefits REDD+ project to assist Lam Dong in developing the plan. Officials from Vietnam’s Thanh Hoa province joined those from Laos’ Houaphan and Attapeu provinces as well as national government agencies for a week of discussions, presentations and a trip to Lam Dong province’s Bidup Nui Ba National Park. USAID LEAF collaborated with USAID’s Vietnam Forests and Delta Program to organize the tour. As a follow-up, tour participants agreed on exploring further collaborative cross-border actions under a memorandum of understanding signed between Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Laos’ Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. Suggested collaborative actions included REDD+ information exchange, forest patrolling and protection, information exchange on protected area management, agricultural production and reforestation actions. Banners at Rural Southeast Asian Borders Warn Against Wildlife Trafficking Large banners warning against wildlife trafficking were recently placed at rural border crossings in Vietnam and Laos, displaying warnings to potential traffickers written in both Laotian and Vietnamese. The rural border crossings between the two countries are not secured and transnational smuggling of illicit goods, including wildlife trafficking, occurs regularly. As the trafficking of timber, primates and reptiles is common at the rural borders in Southeast Asia due to a lack of public knowledge, creating awareness at key crossing points is important to reduce the pressure on the region’s endangered species.The banners were presented to local border liaison offices during trainings on transnational crime suppression held between September 8 to 12 and September 15 to 19, conducted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. The USAID-funded Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking Program collaborated with United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to produce the banners. Additional banners will be placed at various border liaison offices between Vietnam, Laos and China at future trainings. USAID PFAN-Asia Supports Clean Energy Entrepreneurs in India From August 21 to 22, the USAID Private Financing Advisory Network-Asia (USAID PFAN-Asia) program supported a mentoring workshop hosted and sponsored by the Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) in Bangalore, India. Along with their PFAN mentors (commercial transaction advisors active in the business), nine clean energy project developers from throughout India participated in the workshop along with representatives from Climate Technology Institute-Private Financing Advisory Network, REEEP, USAID PFAN-Asia, and USAID India's Partnership to Advance Clean Energy- Deployment. The goal of the workshop was to assist project developers in strengthening aspects of their businesses and business plans and to prepare them to effectively engage further with investors, whether they are local banks, private equity or others. The nine projects included start-ups and more mature companies and featured clean energy technology from the bio-energy, solar and energy efficiency fields. USAID PFAN-Asia will continue to support these projects until they reach financial closure. The USAID PFAN-Asia program is currently supporting approximately 35 clean energy projects and companies in India, including those most recently admitted to the Asia Forum for Clean Energy Finance, the program’s annual business plan competition. India is a priority country for USAID PFAN-Asia, so the program expects that the number of projects in that country that they support to reach financial closure will grow considerably in the months and years ahead.