US support Vietnam strengthen wildlife protection

Saturday, 2021-08-28 09:39:56
 Font Size:     |        Print
 

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) celebrated the completion of the USAID Saving Species project on August 27.
 Font Size:     |  

NDO - The US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) celebrated the completion of the USAID Saving Species project on August 27.

The virtual event was attended by delegates from ministries, state agencies, business associations, social organisations, and international organisations which have united in their efforts to protect Vietnam's wildlife.

Over the past five years (2016-2021), the USAID Saving Species has effectively supported the Government of Vietnam to improve and harmonise the legal system related to wildlife protection, strengthen law enforcement and prosecution of wildlife crimes, and reduce the demand for and illegal consumption of wildlife.

The USAID Saving Species project has supported the development, amendment, and adoption of four important legal documents that are key to ensuring the consistent management and protection of wildlife in Vietnam, thus resolving legal gaps and overlapping regulations.

Training staff on skills and knowledge related to handling wildlife crimes.

Through the project, more than 2,600 officials from agencies including forestry protection departments, customs officials, environmental police, wet market managers, border guards, courts, and prosecutors have been trained to more effectively tackle wildlife crimes. The prosecution rate for wildlife violation arrests has increased from 25% in 2018 to 75% in 2021.

In coordination with CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) Management Authority of Vietnam, the project ran three large social behaviour-change communication campaigns that raised public awareness on wildlife protection legislation, targeting consumers of ivory, rhino horn and pangolin products, and encouraged traditional medicine practitioners to reduce their use of wildlife products in health treatments.

Those campaigns reached tens of millions of people with messages about protecting wildlife and reducing the demand for wildlife products and resulted in millions of online interactions, with significant results. A recent consumer impact survey indicated that recipients of the USAID Saving Species communications campaign messages are less likely to buy ivory, rhino horn, and pangolin products than they were prior to the campaign. Among high income earners, the percentage of buyers of ivory decreased from 16% in 2018 to 9% in 2021; and the percentage of buyers of rhino and pangolin products decreased from 8% in 2018 to 6% in 2021.

The USAID Saving Species project benefitted from its partnerships with MARD and CITES Management Authority of Vietnam. Through subsequent projects, USAID will continue to support the effective protection of wildlife and strengthen the cooperation of the two countries in wildlife crime prevention and control.