HANOI, June 26, 2018 – From June 26-28, the International Cooperation Department of the Vietnam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Forest Service organize a workshop on “Law enforcement to Combat Illegal Logging and Associated Trade” in Hanoi. This bilateral workshop, the first on this topic between Vietnam and the United States, allows the participants from the two governments to exchange information on best practices that they use in investigating and prosecuting cases involving illegal logging and trade in illegally harvested timber and wood products.
The World Bank has estimated that illegal logging worldwide generates at least $11 billion annually in criminal proceeds. This illegal trade in timber and wood products harms forest ecosystems and deprives governments of tax revenues derived from legitimate trade.
The workshop includes discussions on Vietnam’s Forestry Law and Timber Legality Assurance System and the laws of the United States and other countries that import timber products that prohibit trade in illegally harvested timber, including the U.S. Lacey Act. It also explores investigation methods for identifying illegal timber and common theft methods; targeting methods used by customs agencies to detect illegal timber in trade; investigation of the illegal trade in CITES-protected timber species that are threatened with extinction; investigating financial crimes related to illegal logging; and work being done by international organizations such as INTERPOL and UNODC to combat illegal logging and associated trade.
Agencies of the United States Government participating in this workshop include the Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resources Division, the Forest Service International Programs Office, and the Department of Homeland Security Homeland Security Investigations. The workshop is receiving financial support from the Department of State Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs and the United States Agency for International Development, Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment.
Agencies of the Government of Vietnam participating in the workshop include the Forest Protection Department and Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Management Authority of MARD, Ministry of Public Security, General Department of Vietnam Customs, Supreme People’s Procuracy, Ministry of Industry and Trade, and Border Army, as well as officials from provincial agencies in Quang Binh, Gia Lai, and Kon Tum Provinces.
The workshop also includes participants from INTERPOL, the International Police Organization, and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), as well as the nongovernmental organizations TRAFFIC and Sustainable Rural Development Center.