USAID-supported ASEAN Handbook on Legal Cooperation to Combat Illegal Wildlife Trade approved by ASEAN

From May 26 to 27, USAID Wildlife Asia supported the ASEAN Working Group on CITES and Wildlife Enforcement to finalize and present the ASEAN Handbook on Legal Cooperation to Combat Illegal Wildlife Trade. On May 27 the draft handbook was approved and endorsed for submission to the ASEAN Senior Officials on Forestry in July 2021 and ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Forestry in October 2021.

USAID Wildlife Asia provided extensive technical and operational assistance including legal review and drafting to produce the handbook as a key deliverable for the Plan of Action of the ASEAN Cooperation in CITES and Wildlife Enforcement 2021-2025. The handbook provides information on international and ASEAN national frameworks for addressing the illegal wildlife trade; One Health and zoonotic disease; and best practices and key innovations.

Illegal wildlife trafficking is driving key species, such as elephants, rhinos, pangolins, and tigers, to extinction.  Often driven by transnational organized criminal networks, this threat can only be addressed comprehensively and effectively through regional ASEAN-wide approaches.  Central to these efforts are alignment and harmonization of the laws and policies of all ASEAN Member States; the ASEAN Handbook on Legal Cooperation is a key tool enabling this to occur.