M'sia, US to host ARF workshop on combating wildlife trafficking

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia and the United States (US) will co-host the three-day Asean Regional Forum (ARF) Workshop on Combating Wildlife Trafficking, beginning March 30 in Tuaran, Sabah.

In a statement here today, the foreign ministry said the workshop would be held in conjunction with Malaysia's Chairmanship of Asean and as part of its commitment to the Hanoi Plan of Action to Implement the ARF Vision Statement.

The workshop will be officiated by Malaysia's Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman.

Also present at the workshop will be Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun and the US Under-Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment, Catherine A. Novelli, as well as Malaysia's Ambassador for Orangutan Conservation Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh, who is also an internationally-acclaimed actress.

The workshop focuses on enhancing trans-boundary and regional cooperation in combating wildlife trafficking, a pressing transnational issue demanding global cooperation.

Among the main topics of discussion include understanding the poaching and trafficking threat; Asean perspective; major challenges and areas for enhanced cooperation; best practices in prevention and investigation of wildlife poaching and trafficking; strengthening regional cooperation to combat wildlife trafficking; and communication and education awareness initiatives.

It will bring together expert speakers from selected ARF participating countries, as well as regional organisations involved with the issue of wildlife trafficking by featuring case studies, country experiences, lessons learned and sharing of public awareness campaigns.

Participants will also have the opportunity to visit Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Nature Reserve to observe rehabilitation programmes for orang utans.

The outcome of the workshop will be reported at the 22nd ARF Ministerial Meeting scheduled to be held in Malaysia in August this year. – Bernama