(Tegucigalpa, Honduras). The Central American and Dominican Republic Wildlife Enforcement Network (CAWEN, or ROAVIS in Spanish – www.roavis.net) successfully completed its annual meeting in Tegucigalpa, Honduras February 20-21, 2018, with the unanimous commitment by the participants to strengthen data generation in the network and to plan national and binational operations in 2018.
In 2018 CAWEN/ROAVIS will focus on implementing a common methodology for the collection and management of data on wildlife law enforcement activities, inspections, and legal actions in the countries. This will serve to generate data on CAWEN/ROAVIS and in turn, contribute to the illegal wildlife trade report that countries must submit annually to the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
This regional meeting emphasized data and its importance to document the results of the work carried out by CAWEN/ROAVIS countries. During the meeting, the participants held a videoconference with the CITES Secretariat Legal Officer, Juan Carlos Vásquez, and the International Consortium to Combat Wildlife Crimes (ICCWC) Support Officer, Edward van Asch, both based in Geneva, Switzerland, who reiterated the need for updated and reliable data from the countries, to help best decide on how to address the trafficking of wild flora and fauna.
The members of the delegations of Central America and the Dominican Republic also exchanged experiences with two U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Attaches for Latin America and the Caribbean/Senior Special Agents, who presented on their roles and work in the region and on the USFWS data management system. And representatives from the U.S. Embassies in Costa Rica and Honduras attended as well.
Through country presentations, the focal points of the network (environmental prosecutors and solicitors), as well as police and judicial investigation agencies of each country and the national CITES authorities, confirmed that there is a lot of data in each country on different aspects related to the trafficking of flora and fauna species, but the challenge is to harmonize and systematize information nationally. The presentations also contained information on trafficking routes, legal reforms, public education campaigns, and training of government officials conducted in 2017.
Finally, working groups defined the variables that will be considered in the collection of national data. Proposals from Costa Rica and Guatemala will serve as a platform for the preparation of final formats for the collection and reporting of information.
The 7th annual meeting of CAWEN/ROAVIS was chaired by the Special Prosecutor for the Environment of the Public Ministry of Honduras and current Secretary of CAWEN/ROAVIS, Lorena Alfonsina Fernández, and was facilitated by the U.S. Department of the Interior – Technical Assistance Program International (DOI-ITAP), with funds from the U.S. Department of State — partners that have supported CAWEN/ROAVIS technically and financially since its founding in 2010.
With the support of: