Vietnamese Officials Participate in U.S. Government-Supported Anti-Poaching Workshop April 3-5 in Gabon
HANOI, April 4, 2012 – Two officials from Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security are participating in a three-day workshop in Gabon to respond to increasing poaching and trafficking of protected and endangered wildlife.
The “Central African Sub-Regional Workshop on Wildlife Trafficking and Dismantling of Transnational Illicit Networks,” hosted by the U.S. Embassies in Gabon and the Central African Republic in partnership with the Government of Gabon, includes nearly 150 participants, primarily law enforcement and government officials, as well as leaders of conservation organizations actively working in the region. The U.S. Ambassadors to the Central African Republic and Gabon are co-chairing the April 3-5 workshop in Libreville, Gabon. President of Gabon Ali Bongo Ondimba opened the conference by underlining his government’s efforts to wipe out illegal exploitation of natural resources.
The workshop is a response to growing concerns among the international law enforcement community about threats posed by illicit criminal networks that poach and traffic protected and endangered wildlife. Wildlife poaching and trafficking are lucrative criminal activities which are intertwined with other illicit networks undermining the security and stability of economies in Southeast Asia, Central Africa, and elsewhere. In July 2011, President Obama’s National Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime and Converging Threats to National Security highlighted environmental crimes as one of the top five most lucrative criminal activities.
This information sharing effort among Central African wildlife enforcement and anti-poaching representatives, international organizations such as INTERPOL, CITES, and TRAFFIC, and demand-side countries such as China, Thailand, and Vietnam, is an important step towards creating stronger international approaches and collaborative platforms to combat wildlife poaching and trafficking.
The U.S. government has been at the forefront of international efforts to develop global partnerships to combat the illegal trade in wildlife and dismantle transnational illicit networks. In 2005, the U.S. Department of State launched the Coalition Against Wildlife Trafficking (www.cawtglobal.org), which works to end the illegal trade in wildlife by improving enforcement capacity, reducing demand, and catalyzing political action. The Department has helped to form regional wildlife enforcement networks in Southeast Asia (ASEAN-WEN), South Asia, and Central America.
Vietnam is also a participant in the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking, or ARREST, program, which fights trafficking in illegal wildlife by reducing consumer demand, strengthening law enforcement, and strengthening regional cooperation and anti-trafficking networks.