Illegal trade represents one of the largest threats to biodiversity in Asia. At current rates of illegal wildlife trade (including fisheries) up to 40 percent of Asian wildlife species could be lost in this century. Wildlife trafficking is the fourth largest black market in the world, with an estimated annual value of $20 billion. Overfishing and destructive fishing practices are driving Asian fisheries to the brink, and negatively impact marine and coastal resources that sustain more than 120 million people living in the region. Unsustainable wildlife trade also degrades the health of ecosystems, human health, governance structures and economies. As Asia develops and regional connectivity increases, so does the need for protection of the region’s globally important natural resources. In response to these threats, RDMA oversees two flagship regional biodiversity programs, Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking (ARREST) and the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI).
Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking (ARREST):
ARREST addresses illegal wildlife trafficking through strengthening regional institutions and networks by developing and replicating best practices to reduce illegal trade. The program supports seven regional environmental platforms to protect biodiversity and combat illegal wildlife trafficking. Through ARREST support, these platforms adopted and implemented 16 regional agreements, strategies, plans and protocols that combat wildlife crime. The five-year program is designed to reduce public demand for illegal products, raise awareness about endangered species, and increase wildlife trafficking arrests and seizures by training more than 8,500 government officials in effective law enforcement techniques. ARREST is also strengthening cooperation between the 10- nations that make up the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) through development of a Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN) that has been replicated in other parts of Asia and Africa as a model for addressing transnational wildlife crime.
Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI):
Asia is home to the greatest concentration of marine biodiversity in the world, including the Coral Triangle, which spans six Southeast Asia and Pacific countries. The five-year CTI program helps to sustain marine resources by strengthening regional and national governance, improving coastal and fisheries management across 28,000 hectares of the CTI ecosystem, and implementing climate change adaptation measures to promote food security and resilient livelihoods. The program has developed a first-of-its-kind Marine Protected Area System Network framework, and created the Coral Triangle-Atlas, a premier regional online geospatial information hub on coastal and marine habitats and marine protected areas. Additionally, it has assisted in the development of 70 national policies promoting marine conservation, and trained 4,300 national and sub-national government officials on improved management of biological and economically vital marine resources.
Complementing these programs, RDMA also builds the science capacity of female scientists engaged in biodiversity research by investing in the global Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) scholarship project.
Last updated: June 17, 2014