Counter-IWT Projects - Best Practices

Best Practices in Viet Nam

Viet Nam harbors an extraordinarily rich biodiversity, with habitats ranging from rain forests and dry forests to mangroves and coral reefs, with the marine ecosystems of Vietnam covering an area of more than 1,000,000 km2. In addition, Birdlife International listed the country as one of five endemic bird zones of the world and it has been ranked as the 16th most biologically diverse country in the world. However, the country’s biodiversity is rapidly declining as a result of habitat loss, poaching, fuelwood collection, etc. In 2020, Viet Nam banned imports of wildlife and wildlife products in 2020, eliminating wildlife markets, including online sales. This directive is an important step, even though for now it only covers wildlife for consumption, excluding the uses of wildlife for medicine and as pets (BBC, 2020). The ban further explores additional destruction of rhino horn and elephant ivory stockpiles, and includes the establishment of a database of captive bred farms/facilities (TRAFFIC, 2020). With its in 2018 revised Penal Code No. 100/2015/QH13, Viet Nam expanded species protection.

Strengthening Partnerships to Protect Endangered Wildlife in Viet Nam (WLP Project)

Project information: The project Strengthening Partnerships to Protect Endangered Wildlife in Viet Nam (WLP Project) is a 4-year project implemented from 2019-2022 and is funded under the GEF-6 cycle with a Total Project Cost of USD 10.2 million. The project is implemented at the national level with the World Bank as the Implementing Agency, and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) as the Executing Agency. Its three project components are: 1) Strengthening the legal and regulatory framework, 2) Enhancing capacity to effectively implement and enforce policies and regulations related to wildlife protection, and 3) Promoting knowledge sharing and awareness raising. Combating IWT is one of its objectives. Foremost, the project aims to set up partnerships with different stakeholders for biodiversity conservation, such as NGOs, civil society organizations, and government partners. This includes working closely with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD); the Central Committee for Communication and Education; and the Environmental Police under the Ministry of Public Security. Viet Nam entered into MOUs on combating IWT/biodiversity conservation at the provincial level with Cambodia, Lao PDR, and the PRC, and at the national level, MOUs on biodiversity conservation exist with the Czech Republic, South Africa and with Indonesia. Viet Nam is considered a transit and destination country for IWT.

Introduction of a public information sharing mechanism at the national level: The public information sharing mechanism will include information on prioritized threatened species. These are covered by two legal documents: 1) Decree 160/2013/ND-CP, promulgating lists of “endangered, precious and rare species prioritized protection”, administered by the MONRE, and 2) Decree 06/2019/ND-CP, managing trade related matters and CITES-listed species, administered by the MARD. In a previous project, Wildlife Consumption in Viet Nam: Reforming Policies and Practices to strengthen Biodiversity Conservation (GEF-4, 2012-15, WB/GEF), a database and information sharing system on wildlife crime cases was set up under MONRE. Although in the pilot phase, some wildlife law enforcement agencies, such as the Environmental Police, the Forest Protection Department (FPD), and Customs, use it in and around Hanoi to share and update information on wildlife trade cases. The project aims to make it more efficient and to focus on prioritized species. Under the WLP project, Viet Nam also plans to build an information sharing mechanism at the national and local levels on the protection and conservation of prioritized endangered species. This activity aims to promote scientifically sound conservation of endangered species prioritized under Decree 160 across agencies. This will also be useful for the national reporting to e.g. CBD and CITES, and further improve the legal framework for the protection of threatened species.

Legal Framework for Wildlife Conservation Facilities: Under the law of biodiversity, Biodiversity Conservation Facilities (BCFs) are defined to include three types of facilities: (i) Facilities rearing or planting species on the list of endangered precious and rare species prioritized for protection; (ii) Wildlife rescue centers; (iii) Facilities storing endemic, endangered precious and rare crop plant varieties, domestic animal breeds, microorganisms and fungi which have special scientific, medical, economic, ecological, landscape, environmental or cultural and historical values; and facilities storing and preserving genetic resources and genetic specimens. They may receive e.g. injured or confiscated animals, which are not restricted to only the animals categorized as protected. The key goal of the BCFs is to support the conservation of these species. Any commercial wildlife farms or sales are not included under the BCFs’ mandate and objective, but are instead managed under the MARD. So far, mostly breeding facilities have not been officially registered as BCFs, including many of rescue centers. The project is conducting survey on the status of these facilities to create a legal corridor and incentives for the registration as official BCFs, which will require them to adhere to certain wildlife management criteria in order to receive a BCF permit from MONRE. For this purpose, the project will develop a Decree, to complement the Law of Biodiversity, which will stipulate in more detail how the operations of a BCF should be managed and regulated, which criteria need to be fulfilled to become a BCF, the kind of government support that will be provided, and which are potential funding mechanisms.

Awareness raising among civil servants on the consumption of threatened wildlife products: Even though there have been many activities targeting stakeholders on the consumption of threatened wildlife products, civil servants have usually been excluded from these awareness raising campaigns, even though previous surveys showed that policy and decision makers are involved in wildlife consumption. The project will therefore work closely with the Central Committee for Communication and Education to target civil servants at the national level and in the provinces to raise awareness and advocate for their support to not consume threatened wildlife species. Close collaboration will take place with WWF under its “Voices for Diversity – Safeguarding ecosystems for Nature and People (VfD)” project.

Conservation Program for selected Critically Endangered (CR) species: MONRE is responsible for developing conservation programs for the species listed under Decree 160/2013/ND-CP, which is revised by Decree 64/2019/ND-CP. So far, several conservation programs have been approved by the government for selected Critically Endangered species. These programs are drafted per taxonomic group, such as for tigers, bears, turtles, tigers, etc., and include objectives for conservation, tasks and solutions, stipulations on program funding, and a list of the organizations that are part of the plans’ implementation. Governmental conservation agencies submit funding requests for the implementation of these programs in their annual budgeting plans to the Ministry of Finance and, whereas some conservation program are funded by the state budget resources for some others are also mobilized from other sources. The project will support the implementation of the activities under the selected programs among five already approved conservation programs for CR species. In addition, the project is planning to design a framework conservation program for the remaining species under Decree 64. This will serve as the legal basis to guide the conservation activities prepared and conducted by NGOs or other stakeholders, and save time and effort as compared to submitting individual conservation programs to the Government for approval. Program activities include, among others, reviewing and improving legal regulations and technical guidelines, developing and implementing population restoration projects, protecting and restoring habitats, enhancing the effectiveness of law enforcement, carrying out capacity building programs, and conducting awareness raising activities.