AMID accusations of the country’s involvement in illegal ivory trade, the Vietnamese government has announced that enforcement of sanctions against wildlife crime is to be prioritised across all ministries.
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung was quoted in a statement posted on Conservation Action Trust website yesterday as saying the move seeks to combat poaching and trafficking of African elephant ivory and rhino horn from Tanzania, Kenya and other countries.
“The move highlights that the Vietnamese government sees wildlife crime not only as an environmental threat, but also as a threat to the countries’ economies, national security, public health and international relationships,” the premier said.
Among the key requests of the directive are a strong judiciary response to prosecute those convicted of the sale and transport of rhino horn, ivory and other wildlife specimens; the deployment of inter-agency teams at border gates to detect and prevent smuggling of wildlife across Vietnam’s border; central agencies to co-ordinate investigations into trafficking syndicates and education and mass media reporting on regulations on wildlife trade.
The directive also acknowledges the need to collaborate with non-governmental organizations in order for Vietnam to meet its national and international commitments to tackling illegal wildlife trade.
“Vietnam is willing to cooperate with all CITES member states and international organisations to develop a long-term and comprehensive vision to eradicate cross-border illegal wildlife trade via appropriate measures that ensure the harmonization between conservation and sustainable development with the active engagement of all sectors,” said Dr Ha Cong Tuan, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and Chairman of Vietnam’s National Steering Committee for Wildlife Law Enforcement Network (Vietnam- WEN).
“This commitment from the highest political level is a turning point for this issue to be addressed in Vietnam,” said Ms Elisabeth McLellan, Co-Lead, Global Wildlife Trade Campaign, WWF International.
“The Prime Minister is sending a clear signal to his Government and citizens that illegal wildlife trade in elephant ivory, rhino horn and other products will not be tolerated.”
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