Partnerships imperative in battle against illegal wildlife trade
Community and government partnership can stop Illegal wildlife trade
MANILA – Efforts to stop illegal wildlife trade will go nowhere should the community and government fail to act against poachers and traders deep into the nefarious business.
According to Cecilia Fischer, IWT Coordinator for the Asian Development Bank, it is imperative to enforce existing laws and address the deeply rooted causes of poaching including poverty.
In her closing remarks during the 3rd weekly Demand Reduction Workshop sponsored by USAID-SIBOL, Ms. Fischer said in terms of transport, stakeholders, particularly law enforcement authorities should improve scanning and detection mechanisms in airports, seaports and road check points. She added there is a need to raise the general public’s awareness through relevant campaigns and the identification of both local and national champions promoting these messages.
“Demand is defined as the willingness and ability to purchase a commodity. In demand reduction campaigns, we try to turn the willingness into refusal and in demand reduction campaigns, our main weapon is education,” she said.
Ms. Fischer explained with communication, education and public awareness campaigns, the behavior turns modifiable as it depends on the underlying reasons how fast behavior can be changed in a sustainable and long-term manner.
“It depends also on the susceptibility of the person. It may be easier for someone to shift their consumption to a domesticated animal instead of a wild one, if no spiritual belief is attached to it,” she further said.
She called on the participants from law enforcement agencies as well as regulatory offices to “continue the campaigns and reach as many people as possible to achieve a common understanding and commitment to recognize the value an animal or plant provides to us by simply being alive and thriving in its original habitat.”
She added the Asian Development Bank stands ready to support existing and future initiatives to combat illegal wildlife trade and preserve the planet’s ecological balance.
The four-week webinar series coincides with the Philippines’ celebration of “Environment Month.” USAID has embarked on its Sustainable Interventions for Biodiversity, Oceans and Landscapes (SIBOL) Project. (Melo M. Acuña)
Ms. Cecilia Fischer, IWT Coordinator for the Asian Development Bank. (ADB Photo)