News archive 2014


Law enforcement officials consider adding forest and wildlife crime to the list of Serious Transnational Crimes in the ASEAN Region

During a three-day workshop held in Bangkok from 22 to 25 April, senior law enforcement officials from member countries of the Association for Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) met to discuss whether to include forest and wildlife crime under the list of Serious Transnational crimes. This would make them new priority areas for law enforcement in the ASEAN region. The workshop was organised by the Senior Officers Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC), which falls under the Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime. Several specialist international organisations including the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network were invited to share their experiences and ideas during this regional debate.

FAO, with input from the EU FLEGT Facility, gave a presentation on crime and law enforcement challenges in the forestry sector, which outlined: 

• the nature of the challenge
• its significance and scale
• the demand-side and supply-side approaches to combating illegal logging and associated trade
• what is needed to address the challenge.

The 14th SOMTC was held in Brunei in June 2014. Workshop participants recommended the following: 

• recognise environmental crime as a serious transnational organised crime
• consider reviewing the ASEAN Plan of Action to Combat Transnational Crime to include environmental crime as an area of cooperation under SOMTC
• invite the chair of the ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN WEN) to present its activities and consult on wildlife crime issues
• play a supporting role to ASEAN WEN on wildlife crime, where appropriate
• enhance interagency coordination with all other relevant agencies on national and regional levels
• strengthen information sharing and cooperation among relevant ASEAN sectoral bodies to avoid overlap and duplication of effort.

These workshop recommendations, if adopted by the ASEAN SOMTC, are in line with a recent draft resolution presented by Norway, Peru and the United States to the 23rd session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (Vienna, 12–16 May 2014).

For more information, visit the workshop website or see the presentation.