Vietnam this week has pledged to expand its efforts to tackle illegal wildlife trade by strengthening law enforcement and improve cross border cooperation, amid growing concerns from international groups about the future of endangered species.
The country’s officials made the promise during the Hanoi Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade, which ended on Friday.
Known as one of the biggest consumers of elephant ivory and rhino horn worldwide, Vietnam has been asked to strictly monitor domestic markets and eradicate illegal wildlife trade points. According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, customs officers have discovered 45 cases of wildlife smuggling between 2015 and June 2016.
In the statement released at the end of the conference, Colman O’Criodain, WWF Wildlife Practice Policy Manager, praised Vietnam’s role as the host country of the conference.
“Vietnam’s decision to host the conference is admirable and it has helped shine a much needed light on the illegal wildlife trade across the Greater Mekong Region – a trade that is emptying forests of wildlife and impacting species such as rhinos, elephants and pangolins in Africa,” O’Criodain said.
He said Vietnam has promised to take action, but much more detail is needed, especially on legislative reform and the closure of tiger farms.
Organized by the British Embassy and Vietnam's Administration of Forestry, the conference was attended by high-ranking delegates from more than 50 countries and 10 international organizations.
The two-day event saw donor countries including the U.S., the U.K and Germany grant more funding to the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime.