Closing remarks by CITES Secretary-General I. Higuero for the 2020 Asia Environmental Enforcement Awards ceremony

Updated on 28 October 2022

Asia Environmental Enforcement Awards - 2020 Theme: Fighting Transboundary Environmental Crime


Bangkok, 17 February 2021.


Ladies and gentlemen, esteemed colleagues and law enforcement professionals.

May I begin by warmly thanking the organizers for inviting me to this gathering. I congratulate you on your continued efforts to recognize and celebrate excellence in fighting transboundary environmental crime.
I also wish to thank our partners in these awards: the United Nations Environment Programme, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, INTERPOL, and the World Customs Organization.

Transboundary Environmental Crime, including crime involving illegal trade of wild fauna and flora, continues to be one of the most pressing challenges we face. This challenge has been made more difficult in the wake of the current pandemic, and the impacts it has had on us all. Yet these circumstances have not stopped law enforcement professionals from continuing their work to stamp out such forms of crime – making your efforts all the more remarkable.

Today, we recognize and celebrate excellence in enforcement by government officials, institutions and teams combating transboundary environmental crime in a region that is home to much of our planet’s biodiversity.

We say thank you for your dedication, perseverance, integrity, collaboration and leadership.
By its very nature, transboundary environmental crime, requires a response that transcends borders and jurisdictions. Your collective actions demonstrate that international cooperation, communication, and coordination are fundamental to combating environmental crimes globally.

They further show that such actions can bring concrete results, disrupting the activities of transnational criminal groups, and bringing perpetrators to justice. I applaud your efforts, and those of all CITES Parties and their enforcement agencies, in taking on this challenging task.

Wildlife crime is serious. It threatens species and ecosystems, but also human livelihoods and security, and it can impact entire national economies and even global public health. Criminal activities that involve illegal trade in wildlife species also chip away at the framework which CITES stands for. They further endanger vulnerable species, and undermine efforts in favor of sustainable use and conservation.

Responding to wildlife crime takes broad, holistic and well-coordinated national, regional and global responses. Moreover, CITES needs the full support and involvement of committed enforcement professionals to fully function. The actions of today’s laureates are a vivid example of the kind of cooperation we need to fight illegal trade and wildlife crime globally, and they support the full implementation of the Convention.

Today, at this prestigious Asia Environmental Enforcement Award ceremony, we recognize those who have excelled in fighting transboundary environmental crime.

Your collective resolve, your integrity, and your spirit of collaboration, cooperation and innovation, are an inspiration to all. And so too is the advancement of gender leadership that you have shown in combating environmental crime.

In closing these awards, may I encourage you to share your stories far and wide. Help others understand what was key to your success, so that together we can more effectively fight transboundary environmental crime.

We still have so much to do, but your successes may well inspire others to rise to this challenge. You are a beacon of hope showing that, by working together, we can make an impact and we can turn the tide on transboundary environment crime. 

We thank you for your service, commitment and sacrifice.

My warmest and sincerest congratulations to you all.


To discover the laureates of the 2020 Asia Environmental Enforcement Awards, click here.

To watch the recording of the CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero's remarks, click here.