USAID engages youth in continued efforts to broaden social inclusion in counter wildlife trafficking

Although the counter wildlife trafficking movement in Southeast Asia has grown significantly through the concerted effort of governments and donors alike, civil society and traditionally marginalized groups are seen as unrepresented and under engaged.

On March 3, 2022, World Wildlife Day, USAID Reducing Demand for Wildlife presented at the World Wildlife Day Regional Youth Symposium 2022: Recovering Key Species for Ecosystem Restoration in Southeast Asia. The youth-led, regional, virtual symposium was organized by the 2022 Youth Stewards for Nature group formed under the leadership of NParks, Singapore, the national authority that enforces and implements CITES regulations. The symposium put a spotlight on regional efforts to combat the illegal wildlife trade, and aimed to empower youth and build a collaborative youth network in the region towards species recovery, ecosystem restoration, and combating illegal wildlife trade. USAID provided an overview of the policy and legal framework on counter wildlife trafficking in the ASEAN region and answered questions from the youth participants. The event was opened by Singapore’s Minister for National Development, the Secretary-General of CITES and Executive Director of ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity.  Other presenters included NParks, UNODC, TRAFFIC, and Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, Thailand.