USAID supports wildlife conservation dialogue

March 27, 2023 | 12:00
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A wildlife protection dialogue in Vietnam has been organised by many key players in the field.
USAID supports wildlife conservation dialogue

Under the Saving Threatened Wildlife project, supported by USAID, the Management Board for Forestry Projects, WWF, TRAFFIC, Intelligent Media, and the Training Centre for Elected Representatives, organised the high-level policy dialogue with the National Assembly of Vietnam on improving policy and communication strategies in wildlife protection

In Vietnam, the unsustainable consumer demand for wildlife products like rhino horn, pangolin scales, or elephant ivory is a leading cause of threats faced by the species worldwide.

To reduce the demand for consumption, TRAFFIC has gathered National Assembly members, representatives of relevant ministries, and international experts to bring more attention to wildlife protection and management efforts.

Between 2018 and 2021, three high-level dialogues have been organised to discuss wildlife-related issues, including demand reduction, law enforcement, and areas for improvement in Vietnam's wildlife protection policies.

Last week, this series of dialogues resumed with 50 high-level leaders and officials from relevant Ministries, agencies; and Parliamentarians, meeting in Hanoi to continue promoting impactful demand reduction efforts across the Party and government network.

"With one of the strongest legal frameworks on wildlife protection and management in the region, Vietnam is in a favourable position to take stronger actions in the fight against illegal wildlife trade. The dialogue was a great opportunity to bring relevant Ministries and agencies together to redouble our efforts to combat illegal wildlife trade and reemphasise the importance of promoting sustainability at the same time," said Nguyen Tuan Anh, deputy head of the Board of Deputy Affairs at the National Assembly.

Throughout the event, discussions brought a better understanding of the existing national wildlife protection efforts and associated legal frameworks.

“The Saving Threatened Wildlife project thrives for comprehensive, systematic and impactful efforts to reduce the demand for illegal wildlife products. We believe the National Assembly to be the most powerful instrument for mass attention and generating high-level communications strategies. Today we are delighted to see their strong interest and commitment in combating illegal wildlife trade and are looking forward to seeing on-the-ground initiatives following this dialogue," said Michelle Owen, chief of party - Saving Threatened Wildlife, WWF.

USAID supports wildlife conservation dialogue

Experts were invited to propose ideas and solutions to strengthen wildlife conservation and Social Behavior Change Communication in the country. Actions the government should take to proceed, such as increasing the penalty for consumption of illegal wildlife products in the current law, were discussed with Parliamentarians, focusing on applying demand reduction efforts tools within government networks and society.

Do Quang Tung, acting chief of Management Broad for Forestry Projects, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Developmen said, "To ensure success in implementing impactful wildlife protection strategies and action plans, there requires efforts for collaboration and coordination with authorities and social organisations. Only by working together can we develop effective solutions to combat wildlife trafficking and protect our natural resources for future generations."

The event highlighted the leadership of the National Assembly in tackling wildlife trafficking as a serious and organised crime and the desire for a responsible and legal social norm in Vietnamese society. The dialogue outcome on implementing wildlife conservation, especially demand reduction initiatives more effectively, will be documented and disseminated within the government network to feed further action.

"Increasing anti-trafficking enforcement efforts will have only limited effect unless we work simultaneously to address the persistent market demand that drives this trade. We have worked with various partners nationwide, including the government, the transportation industry, the tourism sector, companies operating internet marketplaces, and the general public to stop demand. In all our endeavours, the partnership with the National Assembly is key to securing the political will, determination, and direction for more reduction efforts," said Nguyen Tuyet Trinh, TRAFFIC Vietnam's office director.

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By Thanh Van

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