29 April 2014, Bangkok: IUCN, represented by its Thailand Programme, and the FREELAND Foundation entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for working together to achieve better conservation outcomes. IUCN Thailand and FREELAND will cooperate in areas that further the protection and conservation of Thailand’s natural heritage.
IUCN and FREELAND share common goals to enhance the protection of nature and conserve biodiversity for future generations. This MoU is the outcome of discussions between the two partners and provides the basis for further cooperation.
Over the past few months, IUCN and FREELAND have notably been working together on finding solutions to illegal logging of Siamese Rosewood in the Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. FREELAND became an IUCN member earlier this year.
On the occasion of the MoU signing, IUCN Thailand emphasized IUCN’s vision, “A just world that values and conserves nature”, and the crucial role played by its over 1,000 member organizations worldwide. FREELAND, in turn, delivered a presentation on Asia’s Response to Endangered Species Trafficking Programme (ARREST) running from 2011-2016. This is a regional effort to combat illegal trafficking of endangered species.
On this occasion, Mr Steve Galster, founder and Executive Director of FREELAND, said “We are looking forward to working with IUCN; particularly on awareness raising, actively involving communities, and training and engaging security personnel for more effective nature and wildlife conservation actions. This links to our wider objectives of good governance, law enforcement and public awareness. FREELAND is thrilled to be joining IUCN as a member because we have so many common objectives and ideas, all of which we can accomplish faster and with more impact together.”
The underlying principles for the IUCN-FREELAND collaboration are conveyed in some of the key activities driving their partnership. Both organisations will explore the commonalities and intersections in their work so as to better the protection of Thailand's protected areas; facilitated through education, capacity building, supporting rangers and buffer zone communities, and mainstreaming the protection of wildlife and nature into the national security apparatus.
Collaboration for consumer campaigns directed at reducing the demand for illegal wildlife and wood products (or those taken in an unsustainable manner) will also be considered, as and when opportunities arise. For meeting their wider conservation goals, IUCN and FREELAND will pursue joint fundraising. Both organisations will come together in dialogue for actualizing the environmental and wildlife protection objectives, as laid down in the MoU. They will also decide to focus on particular conservation priorities and activities requiring joint collaboration, which will enable them to respond to existing or emerging threats as they come to be known. Dr Chamniern Vorratnchaiphan IUCN Thailand Country Representative stated, “The signing of the IUCN-FREELAND MoU comes at the time when a focus on wildlife protection and conservation is becoming increasingly essential. To achieve this, transboundary collaboration with members is important. We are keen to work together more intensively with FREELAND in the future.”
By Ria Sen
Note for editors
IUCN is a global union of states, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and affiliate institutions. In addition to its members, IUCN has networks of almost 11, 000 experts who are members of its specialized Commissions. IUCN’s membership in Asia numbers 246 as of April 2014. The mission of IUCN is to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable. For more information, visit www.iucn.org
FREELAND is a frontline counter-trafficking organization working for a world that is free of wildlife trafficking and human slavery. FREELAND’s team of law enforcement, development and communications specialists work alongside partners in Asia, Africa and the Americas to build capacity, raise awareness, and promote good governance to protect critical ecosystems and vulnerable people. FREELAND coordinates two international counter-trafficking alliances: ARREST (Asia's Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking); and Liberty Alliance (a counter human trafficking partnership with Liberty Asia and Exodus Road). For more information, visit www.freeland.org also; follow FREELAND on twitter @FREELANDpeople or facebook.com/freelandfoundation