Viet Nam commits to decisive and urgent action to tackle global wildlife poaching crisis



Posted on 17 February 2014  | 
Black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis)
Black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis)
© Martin Harvey / WWF-CanonEnlarge
Hanoi, 14 February 2014 — Viet Nam joined heads of state, ministers and high level representatives of 45 countries, including those most heavily impacted by poaching and illegal trade of wildlife, to commit to taking “decisive and urgent action” to tackle the global illegal wildlife trade. The strongly worded declaration was issued following two days of closed-door negotiations hosted in London by the UK government. Their Royal Highnesses, Princes Charles, William and Harry also participated in the event.

Measures agreed by signatory countries include actions to eradicate the market for illegal wildlife products; agreements to strengthen law enforcement efforts and ensure that effective legal frameworks and deterrents are in place; and moves to promote sustainable livelihoods through positive engagement with local communities.

Mr Ha Cong Tuan, Vice-Director, Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development, Viet Nam’s Representative, also recognized the importance of the declaration and action plan. “The Declaration being delivered today reflects the various aspects of this issue and the Government of Viet Nam strongly supports this and we believe that it will make significant and practical contribution to ending the illegal trade of endangered wildlife. Viet Nam believes these declarations must be seen as long-term commitments that require objective measures, monitoring of progress and therefore suggests we create a platform that provides coordination for these various commitments and progress towards their implementation,” said Mr Tuan.

The current demand in Asia for products from endangered species like ivory, rhino horn and tiger bone alcohol, is driven by a belief that they affirm one’s economic and social status, and the underlying belief in the medicinal properties of endangered species products such as rhino horn and tiger parts. In 2013 over 1,000 rhinos were killed in South Africa for their horns, which were smuggled overseas to meet the soaring demand in Viet Nam and Asia. In addition, an estimated 22,000 elephants were killed by poachers last year. Tiger populations also face an uncertain future as demand for their body parts increases, with around 3,200 wild animals remaining.

WWF and TRAFFIC welcome the post-conference London Declaration for recognising the significant scale and detrimental economic, social and environmental consequences of illegal wildlife trade, including how poaching and trafficking are increasingly controlled by organized criminal networks that undermine good governance and encourage corruption.

“The London Conference is an excellent opportunity to guide the efforts to protect the worlds’ rhinos and to end the current rhino poaching crisis. The Vietnamese delegation in the Conference has shown the country’s high commitment to the global response to crack down on the illegal wildlife trade and reduce rhino horn consumption. In Viet Nam, we are working closely with the government to conduct a series of awareness raising activities as well as to help strengthen law enforcement and legislation in regards to illegal wildlife trade,” said Dr Van Ngoc Thinh, Country Director, WWF-Vietnam.

Illegal wildlife trade is a serious criminal industry worth more than USD19 billion a year. It not only endangers the existence of species, it drives corruption, threatens national security, feeds on poverty and undermines efforts to fight against other types of transnational crime.

“Viet Nam is making the right commitments, but the time to put those commitments into action on the ground is now: otherwise it will be too late for the world’s rhinos, elephants, tigers and many other species,” said Dr Naomi Doak, Coordinator of TRAFFIC’s Greater Mekong Programme. “All countries along the rhino horn trafficking supply route have a role to play in helping curb this international poaching crisis,” Dr Doak added.

WWF and TRAFFIC believe source, transit and demand countries must all improve their co-operation on law enforcement, customs controls and improving their judicial systems. While key to the long-term success of addressing the poaching will be efforts to reduce the demand in consumer markets that is fuelling the trade.

“The London Conference has endorsed the mechanisms to fight illegal wildlife trade, now it’s up to Viet Nam to live up to their international obligation to implement them, particularly in reducing the nation’s consumption of rhino horn and other wildlife products” said Dr Doak.

About WWF

WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organisations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.

About TRAFFIC

TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, works to ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature.
See www.traffic.org for more information

To learn more about WWF and TRAFFIC’s campaign, please visit: panda.org/killthetrade

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For further information or to schedule an interview with WWF or TRAFFIC, please contact:
WWF-Vietnam:
Tu, Nguyen Thi
WWF-Vietnam
Email: tu.nguyenthi@wwfgreatermekong.org, Mob: +84 914419174

TRAFFIC’s Greater Mekong Programme:
Alegria Olmedo, Communications Officer
Email: alegria.olmedo@traffic.org, Mob: +84 (0)1696429557
 
Black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis)
Black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis)
© Martin Harvey / WWF-Canon Enlarge

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