IUCN President Mr Zhang Xinsheng and IUCN Vice President Mr Malik Amin Aslam visited Bangkok, Thailand from November 22 to 24. The trip highlighted IUCN’s ongoing commitment to supporting governments and civil society organizations further conservation and sustainable development efforts in Thailand and the Asia region.
During their visit, Mr Zhang and Mr Aslam met with the Minister for Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) of Thailand, H.E. General Surasak Karnjanarat and other high-level government officials to discuss challenges and potential solutions on key issues such as tiger conservation, illegal wildlife trade, protected areas management and transboundary conservation efforts.
Research has indicated that tiger numbers in Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary are increasing and starting to repopulate surrounding sites, therefore it is vital to ensure that these areas are well managed. This means using the latest technology and systematic law enforcement tools such as SMART (Spatial Monitoring And Reporting Tool). There also needs to be effective transboundary collaboration between Thailand and Myanmar.
In terms of protected areas, Thailand under the leadership of Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) has expressed interest in becoming a member of Asia Protected Areas Partnership (APAP). Members will have the opportunity to participate in technical workshops and experience sharing events on topics such as management effectiveness evaluation, participatory management approaches, benefit sharing, and mitigation of human-wildlife conflict.
President Zhang and Vice President Aslam also visited the IUCN Asia Regional Office where they attended a meeting with IUCN Members in Thailand, and met with IUCN Asia Regional Directorate Members to discuss collaboration opportunities in Thailand. Discussions also centered on collaboration with other Asian countries, particularly with China on exchange of experiences in World Heritage site management. This also led to discussion on IUCN’s 2017– 2020 Programme.
Prior to his visit to Thailand, Mr Zhang attended the Hanoi Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade. Held on November 17 and 18, the event brought together global leaders with the goal of eradicating illegal wildlife trade, and to ensure effective protection of endangered wildlife from the imminent threats of extinction.
“IUCN firmly believes that local communities can, and must, play a role in helping to combat illegal wildlife trade. This is not a new message, but it is one that continues to be overlooked given the current emphasis on law enforcement responses and demand reduction effort,” said IUCN President Mr. Zhang Xinsheng on the first day of the conference.