ASEAN countries listen to the #YoungVoices on this World Wildlife Day 

3 March 2017 - Today, the world celebrates the Wildlife Day under the motto "Listen to the Young Voices", encouraging youth around the world to rally together to address ongoing major threats to wildlife, including illicit trafficking, over-exploitation and habitat loss. 

To mark the date, and as an opportunity for young people to make a difference, UNODC's Global Programme for Combating Wildlife and Forest Crime partnered with the Thailand Institute of Justice Youth Forum to amplify young ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) voices on what needs to be done to fight against wildlife trafficking. 

Almost one-quarter of the world's population is between 10 and 24 years old, and as the future leaders and decision makers, it is crucial that young people are engaged and empowered to act at both local and global levels to protect wildlife.

In some ASEAN countries, the ratio of young people is substantially higher - such as Viet Nam which is currently recording its highest proportion ever of 10 to 24 year olds at nearly 40% of the population, and Lao PDR where two-thirds of the population is under the age of 25 - which presents a unique chance in history for young people in the Southeast Asian region in particular to influence and contribute to a positive change.

World Wildlife Day 2017

 

"First, the law itself should be clear. Vague and abstract law articles create loopholes for traffickers to [slip] through. Secondly, neighbouring states should cooperate to set up a regional framework, especially a unified list of endangered species which is consistent with CITES to solve cases in which the offenders use various methods of transportation to dodge the territorial principle. Governments should also establish legal cooperation with the private sector (i.e. logistics stakeholders and e-commerce companies) and provide them monitoring for wildlife products listed to stop both online and offline trading." 
Hoang Anh Thi Vo, 19 years old from Vietnam, student at the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam 



"The rule of law can be promoted by increasing regional law enforcement and prosecution, and changing light sentences into severe ones." 
Ingyin Hmwe, 20 years old from Myanmar, student at University of Yangon 



"The law must be clear and applied evenly. One of the major causes of wildlife trafficking these days is an unequal application of the law, which comes from corruption of public officials and leads to ineffective enforcement of the law." 
Thunthorn Chumwangwapee, 22 years old from Thailand, student at Chulalongkorn University 

"As the agents of change, the youth have a significant role to play to contribute to wildlife protection efforts. Participating in social campaigns regarding wildlife trafficking is the most practical thing we can do, and we can be spectators [to monitor] how the decision and policy makers work. Youth have no boundaries in terms of creative and innovative ways of thinking to find the solution and contribute to wildlife protection." 
Andhika Irawan Saputra, 21 years old from Indonesia, student at Universitas Padjadjaran 



"As the saying goes, 'out of sight, out of mind'. Perhaps people tend to care more about water, land or air pollution because its effects are more visible and prevalent. They unintentionally neglect the issue of wildlife trafficking, for it does not affect their daily life directly. Youth worldwide should unite to inform people of the seriousness of this issue in order to reduce the consumption and illegal trade of endangered species. We need to help them realize that it is just as important as other environmental problems.  However, we have to start with the rich - not the poor - the buyers and consumers; because when they stop buying, the whole supply system collapses. More importantly, we should set good examples ourselves by avoiding wildlife products so we can make a positive influence on the way people around us behave." 
Hoang Anh Thi Vo, 19 years old from Vietnam, student at the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam 

"Wildlife trafficking is a problem that relates directly to young people who are the future of this world. I have the strong belief that today's young people will become the protectors [of wildlife], if they have opportunities to learn in the right way. We can play a big role to protect the animals so that they will stay with us forever." 
Phouthavong Xaisouliane, 21 years old from Lao PDR, student at the National University of Lao PDR 



"We cannot just stand by and watch wildlife being poached and hunted every day. We have to stand against wildlife trafficking for the sake of the future generations and to keep the existence of wildlife in nature". 
Andhika Irawan Saputra, 21 years old from Indonesia, student at Universitas Padjadjaran 



"The mere existence of wildlife is the reason the world still survives, as wildlife is a necessary part of a healthy, effective ecosystem." 
Thunthorn Chumwangwapee, 22 years old from Thailand, student at Chulalongkorn University 



"Let's be part of the strength in tackling wildlife trafficking. Let's sustain our planet, which sustains us, as it is our responsibility together to protect wildlife and maintain the balance of nature." 
Ingyin Hmwe, 20 years old from Myanmar, student at University of Yangon  

Further Information:

UNODC's Global Programme for Combating Wildlife and Forest Crime

UNODC in Southeast Asia and the Pacific

Video: Serious About Wildlife Crime - 2016 Public Service Announcement

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