On the occasion of the visit by United States President Barack Obama to Vietnam on May 23–25, 2016, the Governments of the United States of America and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam launched a new U.S.-Vietnam Partnership to Combat Wildlife Trafficking (the Partnership) guided by the following principles.
The United States and Vietnam recognized that the illegal trade in and illegal consumption of wildlife and wildlife products are threatening the world’s irreplaceable biodiversity and adversely impacting communities and economies around the globe. Both countries acknowledged that wildlife trafficking is a transnational criminal enterprise that generates billions of dollars of illicit revenue annually, threatens national security, undermines the rule of law, and facilitates the spread of emerging infectious diseases.
Recognizing the urgency of the situation, the United States and Vietnam have decided to form a new Partnership to frame and advance joint activities to combat the illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products.
Under this Partnership, Vietnam and the United States are committed to strengthening their respective and collective efforts to combat wildlife trafficking and to improving collaboration in four strategic areas:
- Reduce Consumer Demand for and Consumption of Illegal Wildlife and Wildlife Products
- Strengthen Wildlife Law Enforcement and Prosecution
- Improve and Implement the Legal Frameworks for Wildlife Crime
- Bolster International Cooperation
The two countries intend to take a comprehensive, whole-of-government approach to addressing the issue of wildlife trafficking and intend to collaborate with the private sector, non-governmental organizations, academia, the scientific community, and other local and international partners. The two countries plan to cooperate actively through joint training, technical exchanges, information sharing, and public education and demand reduction campaigns.
To enhance the effectiveness of law enforcement, both leaders pledged to expand bilateral law enforcement cooperation on wildlife crime. Vietnam also highlighted its commitment to implement effectively the new wildlife crime provisions in its recently revised Penal Code. Both sides agreed to consider measures to reduce the domestic sale and commercial breeding of endangered species of wild fauna and reduce public demand for endangered wildlife. Both countries pledged to treat wildlife trafficking as a serious crime in accordance with the UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/69/314 on Tackling the Illicit Trafficking in Wildlife.
To further the implementation of activities under this new Partnership, the leaders of the United States and Vietnam anticipate launching a new five-year bilateral program to combat wildlife trafficking through the United States Agency for International Development whose counterpart is the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam for this program. The new program is aimed at reducing consumer demand for illegal wildlife products, building wildlife law enforcement and prosecution capacity, and augmenting and harmonizing the legal framework for combating wildlife crime in Vietnam. The United States also intends to support the protection of endangered and threatened species in Vietnam through a new conservation program in key provinces. The program is expected to build upon ongoing United States-Vietnam cooperation, supported by the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, among other U.S. government agencies, and partnering with a range of Government of Vietnamese partners to halt wildlife crime, to improve governance, and to reduce demand for illegal wildlife products.
As part of this Partnership, both countries reaffirmed their intention to fulfill their obligations under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Finally, the United States recognized Vietnam’s leadership at the international level, as evidenced by its planned hosting of the third Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade in Hanoi in November 2016, and noted the importance of Vietnam’s event in galvanizing the international community to take stronger action against wildlife crime.