|Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Ha Cong Tuan and Deputy Minister for the South African Department of Water and Environmental Affairs Rejoice Mabudafhasi.— Photo CITIES
PRETORIA (VNS)— Viet Nam and South Africa signed an action plan on Monday to implement a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on biodiversity conservation and protection in South Africa's capital Pretoria.
The plan, which is effective until 2017, is the direct result of co-operation and continued negotiation following the MoU signed in Ha Noi last December, which included an important component on tackling illegal wildlife trafficking.
The decisive action plan was signed by Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Ha Cong Tuan and Deputy Minister for the South African Department of Water and Environmental Affairs Rejoice Mabudafhasi during Tuan's working visit to South Africa.
The priority areas of co-operation include biodiversity management, conservation and law enforcement in compliance with domestic frameworks and internationally binding conventions, including the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
The two sides will strengthen co-operation by exchanging information, developing technology and raising awareness through educational campaigns on biodiversity management.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Tuan reiterated Viet Nam's commitment to promoting co-operation in biodiversity conservation with South Africa as the pair fight the illegal poaching of endangered species, particularly rhinos. During an interview with a Vietnam News Agency correspondent, Mabudafhasi said that South Africa was delighted with the agreement and appreciated Viet Nam's efforts to fulfill their commitment in the field.
She said she hoped that continued co-operation would mean the rhino poaching crisis would eventually come to an end.
During their working visit, the Vietnamese delegates will study the management structures at a number of national parks.
Rhino poaching numbers in South Africa have surged from 13 in 2007, to over 600 in 2012. There were 246 people arrested in connection with the poaching of rhinos and the illegal trade of rhino horn in South Africa in 2012 alone.
Last August, TRAFFIC - the wildlife trade monitoring network - released a report that identified Viet Nam as the prime destination for much of the illegal rhino horn. — VNS