By Nina Rygh, Asia Reporter
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Vietnam CITES Management Authority of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is implementing a Saving Species Project in Vietnam to combat wildlife trafficking. Other organizations are also contributing such as Traffic Vietnam and WCS.
Wildlife trafficking has risen to exponential rates, and the black market is valued up to $20 billion a year. In recent years, Vietnam has seen a drastic increase in illegal trade and consumption of poached items such as rhino horn, ivory, and other endangered species.
The USAID Saving Species Project has a budget of $9.9 million and a plan to implement three integrated and mutually reinforcing objectives. Through this project, they aim to harmonize and improve the legal framework for addressing wildlife crime, strengthen and improve law enforcement and the prosecution of wildlife crimes, and reduce consumer demand for illegal wildlife products.
The project’s primary biodiversity targets include African rhinos, African and Asian elephants, and pangolins. The project is also focusing on major urban centers where these target species are often consumed or trafficked, including airports, seaports, and specific land borders. The cities involved include Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Da Nang.
The project has also established an activity fund that will directly support partnering organizations for approved projects. The activity fund will also through contracts, grants and cost-sharing arrangements help organizations that wish to contribute to the three components