by muhammad anas | Oct 27, 2022

In cooperation and the support of the French’s Central Office Against Environmental and Public Health Crime (OCLAESP), the International Security Cooperation Directorate (DCIS) had organized a seminar on environmental crime, which was held on 18th to 20th October 2022, in Bangkok, Thailand. The seminar was organized with the aim to exchange good practices in the fight against trafficking of wildlife and endangered species inclusive of natural resources and establishing cooperation networks within ASEAN countries and with the European Union (EU).

Representing ASEANAPOL Secretariat in this seminar were ASP Khairul Izham Md Noh, Police Services Officer (PSO2), together with ASP Engku Nurul ‘Aini Engku Malek, Plans and Programmes Officer (PPO2). This event was conducted in a hybrid setting in which participants were mainly leading experts from around the world namely; from France Regional Police Attaché, OCLAESP, associated partners, and INTERPOL, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), EU delegation, the EU Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (EUROJUST), International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime (GI-TOC), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), National Risk Analysis and Targeting Center (N.R.A.C.), French Customs, Thai Customs, Malaysia Customs, Lao Police Force, Embassy of the Philippines National Police in Thailand,  Indonesian National Police, Royal Malaysia Police, Royal Thai Police, and other like-minded entities.

The three days seminar kick-started with a welcome speech and remarks by the Ambassador of France in Thailand, His Excellency, Thierry Matchou, the Ambassador of the EU in Thailand, Ms. Sara Rezoagli, Director of Wild Fauna and Flora Protection Division, Department of National Parks, Dr. Prasert Sornsathapornkul, Deputy Attorney General of Thailand, Mr. Jumpon Phansumrit, Commander Nutural Resources and Environmental Crime Suppression Div, Thai Police, Pol. Maj. Gen. Watcharin Phoosit, and the head of the OCLAESP, Brigadier General Sylvain Noyou, respectively.

The overall event was moderated by the Office of the Attorney General, Mr. Vipon Kititasnasorchai. The meeting went on with various presentations, from the respective organizations presented with sharing of various working group reports and recommendations. Organizations presented their strategic and operational overview focusing on combating environmental crimes. It was observed during these presentations, all the organization’s objectives are similar in nature, especially in their experience and expertise to fight against environmental crimes, mainly indiscriminate disposal of wastes, and wildlife crime. These organizations highlighted issues ranging from illegal trade in wildlife, dumping and illegal transport of hazardous waste, illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing to illegal logging and the associated timber trade. Environmental crime is one of the most profitable forms of criminal activity worldwide. It is a serious and growing international problem that is having devastating impacts on our environment. Having said that, the problem is exacerbated by porous borders that facilitate illegal trade, ineffective laws, weak enforcement, and a common lack of knowledge among the enforcement community and general public about how severe these crimes are. Criminal networks that are often highly organized and well financed take full advantage of these weaknesses. As a result, illicit goods are smuggled with ease across borders drawing high profits for the criminals involved.

ASEANAPOL Secretariat, through PSO2, had delivered his presentation with the title Assessment of Environmental Crime in ASEAN region. Besides that, he was involved in the round table session. He also shared the ASEANAPOL Electronic Database System (e-ADS) future development plan and indicated the opportunities for collaboration with other organizations focusing on one of the ten ASEANAPOL core areas of concern, that is, wildlife trafficking.

At the closing seminar, the France Embassy in Bangkok, encourage the possibility of implementing the Countering Transnational Organized Crime (CTOC) cooperation which is a strategic platform within the member states to strengthen law enforcement capacity and increase coordination to effectively combat criminal organizations and environmental crimes.

ASEANAPOL Secretariat takes these golden opportunities in this platform to network, collaborate, and coordinate any implementable projects that could assist or facilitate other like-minded entities such that together we can bring this trade down to the minimum and keeping endangered species on the Planet safe.