During the 2nd National Wildlife Law Enforcement Summit held at Hotel Stotsenberg in Clark Freeport on November 22, 2018, the project, Illegal Wildlife Trade: Combatting Environmental Organized Crimes in the Philippines, was launched.
The project is a brainchild of the Global Wildlife Program (GWP), a global partnership on wildlife conservation and crime prevention for sustainable development. The GWP is composed of 19 countries in Asia and Africa that work together to reduce wildlife poaching and trafficking, and promote livelihood activities by local communities. Under the project, which is funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Global Environment Facility (GEF), wildlife crime will be addressed through policy and legal reforms, capacity building in the law enforcement chain, public awareness, and reducing demand for wildlife and wildlife parts. The main sites for this project are Metro Manila, Cebu and Butuan City, which are considered as hotspots, and destination or transit points of illegal wildlife trade.
Undersecretaries Atty. Jonas Leones (represented by Director Lourdes Wagan of the Foreign-Assisted and Special Projects Service) and Atty. Analiza Teh of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and Assistant Director Armida Andres of the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB), all welcomed and supported the project, and encouraged everyone to cooperate and participate in its implementation.
Bruce Dunn, ADB Director for Sustainable Development and Environmental Safeguards, acknowledged that illegal wildlife trade is a critical issue for biodiversity conservation, economic growth and community livelihoods. He reiterated that it is through cooperation and partnerships that the country could make a difference in addressing this issue and in ensuring sustainability of our actions.
Representatives from the regional offices of the DENR, Department of Justice, police, navy, maritime group, customs, ports, and other law enforcement agencies from all over the country witnessed the launching of the project. (IWT Project Team)