NGOs demand ‘real action’ on illegal wildlife trade

On the eve of the Hanoi Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade, 13 organisations working in Vietnam to tackle illegal trade in wild species have come together to call on the Government of Vietnam to deliver on its commitments to address illegal wildlife trade.

In a joint statement, Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and a further 12 organisations (Animals Asia, Education for Nature Vietnam, Four Paws, Frankfurt Zoological Society, FREELAND, Free the Bears, GreenViet, TRAFFIC, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, WildAct, Wildlife Conservation Society, and WWF-Vietnam) commit to ongoing cooperation with each other and with the Government of Vietnam to address illegal hunting and trade in wild species by strengthening policy and law enforcement and implementing behaviour change for wildlife protection.

The collective also urge the Government of Vietnam to undertake several specific and strategic measures to strengthen its immediate response to this critical issue.

In Vietnam FFI’s community-based approach is helping to protect the Western Black-crested gibbon from illegal hunting and forest loss. Credit FFI.

In Vietnam, FFI’s community-based approach is helping to protect the Western Black-crested gibbon from illegal hunting and forest loss. Credit: FFI.

On 17-18 November, the Government of Vietnam will host the Hanoi Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade, the third in a series of global conferences on the topic. High-level representatives of more than 40 countries are attending, with the intention of adopting a Hanoi Declaration that would include a roadmap for unified action against illegal wildlife trade.

The Duke of Cambridge – president of United for Wildlife who is also in Vietnam at the moment to support efforts to fight the illegal wildlife trade – will speak at the conference.

“We recognise that Vietnam has already made many important national and international commitments and agreements to end illegal wildlife trade, but now it’s time to turn these commitments into real action to close down illegal wildlife markets and reduce consumer demand for these products,” said a spokesperson representing the collective of NGOs.

“The world’s attention is on Vietnam, and this is a golden opportunity for Vietnam to show that it’s serious about combating wildlife crime.”

International cooperation is crucial on this issue that spans almost every country and region across the world, but we also need to work together better within each country too,” said the spokesperson. “Bringing an end to illegal wildlife trade and improving wildlife protection will take time and require the combined experience, resources and skills of all of us, and that is why we stand together to encourage Vietnam to seriously follow through on its commitments. We’re here and we’re ready to support Vietnam to make a difference.”

The joint statement will be delivered to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Ministry of Public Security, and the Office of the Prime Minister.