Nepal’s enforcement efforts against poaching and illegal wildlife trade received new impetus with a collaboration between WWF Nepal and Judges’ Society Nepal. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the two organizations on 24 April 2017 introduces a new stakeholder, the judicial sector, to WWF Nepal’s ongoing partnership with the government in curbing wildlife crime in the country. The partnership with Judges’ Society Nepal, a non-government organization, opens up avenues to engage with the judicial authorities in the critical area of legal action against wildlife crimes in Nepal.
Gopal Parajuli, Chairperson of Judges’ Society Nepal stated, “Nepal serves as a transit point for illegal wildlife trade hence it is critical to aware the judicial sector about the country’s wildlife laws as well as the global scenario. Judges’ Society Nepal is committed to build awareness and capacity of the judicial authorities to join the country’s efforts in curbing wildlife crime.”
Nepal is going through a federal restructuring under which, prosecution of wildlife crime will fall under the jurisdiction of the district court. The MoU, effective for five years, will help build capacity of the judges and justices of Nepal by providing training on wildlife crime while facilitating more informed and stringent legal action against perpetrators.
“An informed judicial system builds stronger ground for Nepal’s fight against wildlife crime,” stated Anil Manandhar, Country Representative of WWF Nepal. “This partnership is an important step towards achieving zero wildlife trade and a new working model to help address the immediate threats to iconic species such as tigers and rhinos both in Nepal and internationally.”