WWF-Pakistan concludedthirdconsultative workshop to develop a strategy tocombat illegal wildlife trafficking with the USAID support
Karachi, WWF-Pakistan concludedthe consultative workshop to develop a strategy to combat illegal wildlife trade in Pakistan. The closing ceremony of the event was held at Regent Plaza Hotel, Karachi. This workshop was a part of the project Combating Illegal Wildlife Trade by Establishing a National Monitoring Network that Benefits Local Communities and Environment today, supported by USAID through its Small Grants and Ambassador’s Fund Program.
Speaking on the occasion, Cdr.GaziSallah-u-Din, Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) shared that the Illegal Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (IUU) activities of the fishing vessels coming from neighbouring country are one of the key threat to our fisheries resources. He also urged that the fisher included in such activities could not be considered innocent who inadvertentlyenters into Pakistani waters, as their vessels are quipped with the Global Positioning System (GPS). According to the estimation of PMSA, about 600 Indian vessels comes to Pakistani waters for fishing illegally every month.
Muhammad Moazzam Khan, Technical Adviser, WWF-Pakistan shed light on various aspects of IUU fishing issues in Balochistan and urged for effective implementation of CITES and Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) regulation of which Pakistan is a signatory. He appreciated the fact that the workshop included representation of all major stakeholders that have a critical role in the battle against illegal wildlife trade, and is an important milestone to eliminate wildlife crime from the country. He also emphasised that such an event is an excellent opportunity to further strengthen the knowledge and skills of law-enforcement agencies and to develop partnerships amongst them to effectively curb wildlife crimes.
This two-day event included a consultation, focusing on developing an action plan to combat illegal wildlife trade in Pakistan. Experts from the Sindh and Balochistan wildlife departments, Ministry of Climate Change, Pakistan Customs, Judicial Academy, Marine Fisheries Department,WWF-Pakistan and other relevant department shared the national and provincial scale efforts being made to combat illegal wildlife trade and challenges associated to tackle this issue effectively. The agenda of this consultation workshop was focused on identifying gaps in existing laws that deal with wildlife crimes in the country, enhancement of inter-departmental coordination and confiscated wildlife welfare aspects. The recommendation of this workshop would be compiled in the form of an action-plan.
The participants in their recommendations emphasised to build capacity of relevant departments and enhance coordination between them to streamline existing efforts to control wildlife crimes. The participants also had an agreement of the opinion on developing an information sharing mechanism at a common platform. The presenters also highlighted that Sindh Wildlife Protection Act does not provide protection to the marine cetaceans which needs to be done on a priority basis. While sharing recommendations related to the rescued wildlife welfare aspects, it was pointed out that lack of capacity and wildlife rehabilitation facilities in addition to unclear role and responsibilities in the laws which deal with handling the confiscated wildlife are the key issues which require immediate attention. The participants also emphasised that the draft regulations to implement Pakistan Trade Control of Wild Fauna and Flora Act 2012 at provincial level should be finalised and implemented on immediate basis. They also suggested to setup wildlife information desks at potential exit and entry points which has been recognised as illegal trade hotspots.
Notable participants included Saeed Akhtar Baloch, Chief Conservator Wildlife Sindh;Shareef-ud-Din Baloch, Conservator Wildlife and National Parks,Balochistan Wildlife and Forest Department, Umeed Khalid, Conservator Wildlife, Ministry of Climate Change,Sammar Hussain Khan, Assistant Secretary Wildlife, Ministry of Climate Change; senior officials of the Sindh and Balochistan Wildlife department, Pakistan Customs, Karachi Zoo, Marine Fisheries Department, University of Karachi, Pakistan Maritime security Agency,Senior Officials of Pakistan Customs,media , academia, etc.
This workshop wasone of the three such events, which are conducted in different cities to develop a national level strategy to combat wildlife crimes in the country.The two-day consultative workshopwill be followed by training sessions aimed to enhance the capacity of field staff of theSindh and Balochistanwildlife departments, Pakistan Customs, Civil Aviation Authority, other law enforcement bodies as well as, Maritime Security Agency, Airport Security Forceto equip them with the basic skills to effectively tackle the wildlife trade related crimes. The training will familiarise participants with the species that are in high trade demand, common form in which their trade occurs, international regulations as well as national and provincial laws governing wildlife trade such as CITES and Pakistan Wild Trade Control Act, 2012, etc.
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