USAID and agriculture ministry launches project to combat wildlife trafficking

June 14, 2022 - 14:55

The Saving Threatened Wildlife project aims to help Việt Nam control the increasingly serious wildlife trafficking situation.


Representatives launched the $15 million, five-year project Saving Threatened Wildlife which aims to help Việt Nam control the increasingly serious wildlife trafficking situation. Photo

HÀ NỘI  -- The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) on Monday launched a new project to help Việt Nam control the increasingly serious wildlife trafficking situation.

US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman joined the launching ceremony.

The $15 million, five-year project, called Saving Threatened Wildlife, will work toward increasing Việt Nam’s leadership in addressing wildlife crime by enhancing the commitment of Việt Nam leaders at the national and provincial levels, improving law enforcement effectiveness, and reducing demand and consumption of illegal wildlife products. 

At current rates, experts predict that the world’s most iconic endangered species, including rhinos, elephants, pangolins and tigers, will perish from the planet within the next decades. Through this new project, USAID will work with MARD to reduce demand for and consumption of illegal wildlife products and save our threatened species,” said Ann Marie Yastishock, USAID/Vietnam Mission Director. 

“The effective implementation of the Saving Threatened Wildlife project will help address the issue of illegal wildlife trafficking, and therefore reflect the highest commitments of the Government in this effort, contributing to biodiversity conservation and environmental protection in Việt Nam,” said Lê Quốc Doanh, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Việt Nam remains a global hub of the illegal wildlife trade and is a major destination, origin, and transit country in the illegal trade supply chain. The new project focuses on protecting species at risk from international trafficking into Việt Nam, such as African rhinos, African and Asian elephants, and pangolins, as well as animals regularly poached and traded domestically or internationally, such as primates, muntjacs, and big cats. The project is implemented by the World Wide Fund for Nature, in cooperation with TRAFFIC and Education for Nature﹘Việt Nam.

Also, USAID and the ministry opened a new chapter of cooperation on environmental issues at the project launch. Mission Director Yastishock and Deputy Minister Doanh signed the first bilateral partnership agreement—a Limited Scope Grant Agreement—between USAID and MARD on climate change cooperation in the Mekong Delta from 2022 to 2027. 

With an estimated budget of up to $50 million, through this agreement, USAID will help the ministry in reducing methane emissions from the agriculture sector, building resilience for the Mekong Delta’s vulnerable populations, promoting nature-based solutions, and developing climate-resilient and low-emissions policies. The signing was observed by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Lê Minh Hoan and Deputy Secretary Sherman.

“I commend USAID and MARD for working together to help the people of the Mekong Delta region adapt to the changing climate and reduce agricultural emissions. Addressing the climate crisis must be a collective effort, and it must incorporate everything from building environmental resilience to reducing emissions to conserving biodiversity. And I commend USAID and MARD for working together to combat illegal wildlife trafficking. The United States is proud to be Việt Nam’s partner in this effort,” said Sherman.

The Saving Threatened Wildlife project builds and expands on the progress achieved by USAID’s previous five-year (2016-2021) project, Saving Species.

The Saving Species project supported Việt Nam to improve and harmonise the legal system related to wildlife protection, strengthen law enforcement and prosecution of wildlife crimes, and reduce demand and illegal consumption of wildlife. VNS