Putting Saint Petersburg into practice

Putting Saint Petersburg into practice

Geneva, 13 December 2010

Within days of the International Tiger Forum, held in Saint Petersburg, the Russian Federation, from 21 to 24 November 2010 (http://www.tigersummit.ru/eng/index), tiger range States are demonstrating their commitment to combating illegal trade in tigers and working with the international community.

During the Forum, leaders of tiger range States adopted the Global Tiger Recovery Programme and Saint Petersburg Declaration where they acknowledged that enforcement must be a priority and urged relevant international and non-governmental organizations to support national agencies.

On 2 and 3 December 2010, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Airport Security, Anti-Smuggling of Customs, Biodiversity Department, Border Guard, CITES Management Authority, Economic Police, Environmental Police, Forestry Protection Department, INTERPOL National Central Bureau, Market Control and prosecution officials came together in Hanoi, Viet Nam, to discuss enforcement issues. The workshop was organized by TRAFFIC and the Wildlife Conservation Society, in conjunction with the Government of Viet Nam, and was funded by the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility as part of the ‘Tiger Futures’ Project.

Specialized staff from a partnership called the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC), which was launched during the International Tiger Forum, acted as resource persons during the event, illustrating the added value that the Consortium can bring to national efforts. These included officials from INTERPOL and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Bangkok, the World Customs Organization’s Regional Intelligence Liaison Office in Beijing, and the CITES Secretariat in Geneva. A senior official from the ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN) Programme Coordination Unit in Bangkok and a wildlife law enforcement officer from South Africa also participated.

Photograph courtsey of TRAFFIC

The workshop, titled Strengthening transnational mechanisms for controlling illegal trade in tigers and other wildlife, allowed officials in Viet Nam to discuss with their international counterparts and colleagues the difficulties they face in combating illegal trade in wildlife. Special attention was given to illegal trade in tigers, elephant ivory, pangolins and rhinoceros horn.

Among the subjects for discussion were: recent confiscations of wildlife products by enforcement agencies in Viet Nam and how to dispose of these; effective communication, collaboration and coordination at national, regional and international levels; the gathering, analysis and dissemination of intelligence, how to prosecute wildlife criminals most effectively; liaison with prosecutors and the judiciary; identifying the criminals who organize wildlife crime and cross-border smuggling, seeking out their funding mechanisms and seizing their assets; strengthening current legislation; and examining recent case studies.

ICCWC partners and ASEAN-WEN briefed Viet Nam agencies on the support they can offer in the way of specialist training materials, capacity building, the provision of secure communication channels and coordination support in joint transnational operations, and the supply of intelligence to facilitate risk-assessment, profiling and targeting.

The workshop allowed the participants to understand better each other's needs and how agencies, whether national or international, can support one another in their efforts to combat illegal trade in wildlife.

For more information, contact John Sellar at john.sellar [at] cites.org