March 2019, Chiang Mai

At the invitation from the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) of Thailand, the WEMS Secretariat at AIT Solutions organized an event titled “Evidence-based Approaches, Innovations and Technology: Smart Solutions to Address Illegal Wildlife Trade” in the margins of the Special ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Illegal Wildlife Trade on 21 March 2019. The event was organized as a part of the “Partners Dialogue on Illegal Wildlife Trade” in collaboration with the ASEAN Center for Biodiversity; Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation; Freeland Foundation; and International Fund for Animal Welfare.

The event featured a panel discussion with Mr. David Cowdrey, Head, Policy and Campaigns, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW); Mr. Steve Galster, Chair, International Management Committee, Freeland Foundation; and Mr. Manesh Lacoul, Deputy Director, WEMS Secretariat. The discussion was moderated by Mr. Robert Steele, Founder and Director, Systainability Asia.

Mr. Somkiat Soontornpitakkul, Director, Division of Wild Fauna and Flora Protection, DNP delivered the opening remarks while Dr. Theresa Mundita S. Lim, Executive Director, ASEAN Center for Biodiversity delivered the keynote address.

“In addressing the issue of wildlife crime from the source, a number of approaches incorporating technologies such as aerial monitoring with drones, real-time anti-poaching cameras, forensic analysis, use of sensors and trackers and new software for patrolling field data such as the CyberTracker could be implemented alongside innovative approaches incorporating community awareness about wildlife and protected areas, where the community sees themselves as a human fence protecting the PA, as eyes and ears of the authorities in preventing illegal activities from happening inside the PA”, said Dr. Lim.

The event was organized to:

1. Highlight the innovative technology and tools to counter wildlife and forest crimes;

2. Outline a set of solution-oriented strategies for the region to tackle illicit trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora;

3. Bring to attention of ASEAN’s political leadership the strategies, approaches and tools to enhance the governance of trade in wild fauna and flora and their derivative products; and

4. Facilitate collaboration among the stakeholders to support ASEAN’s efforts to advance evidence-based approaches to fulfill national targets and international commitments.

For the summary report of the event, please visit here.