SAARC level anti-wildlife trade network soon

Kathmandu, January 31:

A two-day workshop of SAARC secretaries at the ministries of environment and forest began in Kathmandu today.

The workshop aims at sharing experiences and drafting mechanisms for SAARC level cooperation for controlling cross-border trade in wildlife.

“The workshop will develop a SAARC level network to curb the cross-border poaching and trading in wildlife, which is increasing at an alarming rate in the region, Roland Melisch chairman of Traffic International said. “Cooperation among neighbouring states is always a welcome step. A joint commitment will make a difference,” he said, addressing

the workshop.

Dr Arvind Boaz director general of South Asian Cooperative Environment Programme (SACEP) said that the SAARC member countries would explore joint efforts to curb smuggling of wildlife from the area. “The workshop will also try and find out ways to regulate trade in wildlife,” he said.

Tirtha Raj Sharma, secretary at the Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation, said Nepal will be glad to join hands with the international community to save the wildlife from illegal traders.

A long effort is necessary to control the multi-tiered network of wildlife traders, Anil Manandhar, the country representative of WWF Nepal, said. Representatives of Afghanstan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka briefed the participants on the present status of wildlife, illegal trade and the efforts by their respective governments to control them.

The workshop is jointly organised by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment, SACEP, Traffic International and WWF-Nepal.