Vietnam Takes Steps to Minimize Transnational Wildlife Crime

Aligning Efforts to Address the Crime; and Considering Destruction of Stockpile of Rhino Horn, Elephant Ivory and Tiger Bone

Hanoi, 24th March 2014 -
The Vietnam CITES Management Authority of the Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development today hosted a roundtable meeting that marks the nation’s first step toward synergy to minimize the transnational wildlife crime affecting this nation; and further, a Vietnam official indicated they are considering destroying stockpiles of rhino horn, elephant ivory and tiger bone.

The meeting was called to strengthen coordination of key policy initiatives and interventions of governments, international organizations, NGOs and donor agencies and to facilitate discussion of the challenges and priority actions for Vietnam to overcome transnational wildlife trafficking.

Participants included representatives from embassies of the United States, United Kingdom, China, Switzerland, Thailand, Mozambique and representatives of the German government, Asian Development Bank, and the key central agencies of the Vietnamese government such as the Supreme People’s Procuracy, Police and Customs.

The threats posed by wildlife trafficking to biodiversity, human health, and security have recently received unprecedented attention at a global level, with a number of governments, including the United States and United Kingdom at the highest levels, launching anti-wildlife trafficking initiatives at global scales.

In Vietnam, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung issued a top-level directive earlier this month to all key line ministries prioritizing enforcement at all levels and across ministries to combat poaching and trafficking of African elephant ivory and rhino horn. However, among the different parties and Vietnam itself there has been no coordination for more aligned efforts.

Dr Susan Lieberman, Executive Director of Conservation Policy for the Wildlife Conservation Society welcomed this initiative by the Vietnam Government:

“In recent years, the international community has recognized that Vietnamese citizens have emerged as key players in global illegal wildlife trade, as traders, transporters, traffickers, and end-consumers for wildlife. The Wildlife Conservation Society is committed to continue its long-standing collaboration with the Government of Vietnam, and other governments around the world, to effectively tackle this problem. We welcome this enhanced collaboration between the Government of Viet Nam and the Governments of United States, United Kingdom, Germany, the European Union, the Asian Development Bank and the UNODC to tackle the insidious threat of wildlife trafficking.

“We also welcome the statement of the Vice-Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam today, who announced that his Ministry is considering the destruction of Vietnam’s stockpiles of rhino horn, elephant ivory, and tiger bone, telling both the world and its citizens that there is no place in Viet Nam for wildlife trafficking, or the consumption or trade in endangered species such as rhinos. If this decision is turned into action, it will set a high standard for other governments, and reinforce Vietnam’s commitment to treating wildlife crime as serious crime.”

CONTACT:
Vietnam: Duong Viet Hong, dvhong@wcs.org, +844-3514-9750
United States: Stephen Sautner, ssautner@wcs.org, 718-220-3682


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