Aug 27, 2021 / 18:07

US-supported project strengthens Vietnam’s efforts to protect wildlife

The project enables Vietnam to boost law enforcement and reduce illegal consumption of wild animal products.

A five-year project supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) has helped Vietnam improve and harmonize the legal system related to wildlife protection and law enforcement.

The USAID Saving Species project in 2016-2021. Photos: USAID 

The USAID Saving Species project in 2016-2021 also increase prosecution of wildlife crimes and reduce demand and illegal consumption of wild animal products.

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

It also provides training to more than 2,600 officials from agencies including forestry protection departments, customs officials, environmental police, wet market managers, border guards, courts, and prosecutors to help them more effectively tackle wildlife crimes.

As a result, prosecution rates for wildlife violation arrests have increased from 25% in 2018 to 75% in 2021.

 The project helps strengthen law enforcement in wildlife protection in Vietnam. 

In coordination with the CITES Management Authority of Vietnam, the project ran three large social behavior change communication campaigns that raised public awareness about wildlife protection legislation, targeting consumers of ivory, rhino horn, and pangolin products, and encouraged traditional medicine practitioners to reduce their use of wildlife for health treatments.

These 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.

The results are significant as 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.

 It helps improve the capacity of forestry protection forces.

“USAID is proud to support Vietnam to reduce consumer demand for illegal wildlife products, build wildlife law enforcement and prosecution capacity, as well as augment and harmonize the legal framework for combating wildlife crime in Vietnam. We are very pleased to see that the cooperation between the two countries through this project has brought meaningful results. Vietnam is a critical partner of the United States for countering wildlife trafficking,” said USAID/Vietnam Mission Director Ann Marie Yastishock at the closing event today [August 27].

Associate Professor, Dr. Le Quoc Doanh, Deputy Minister, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), emphasized: “The joint effort of USAID and Vietnamese government through USAID Saving Species project has contributed significantly to protect wildlife species and maintaining important eco-services to the national and regional sustainable socio-economic development.”