The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) launched its first-ever Biodiversity Policy in Washington on July 8, setting forth an ambitious vision of conserving biodiversity globally for sustainable long-term development.
Over the past 50 years, the world has seen more progress toward economic prosperity and human development than during any other time in human history, but at the same time, humans have altered the environment at an alarming rate, with sometimes dire consequences for biodiversity and the ecosystem services that sustain our life. Vietnam is ranked as the 16th most biodiversity rich country in the world and also a major hub for wildlife trafficking, supplying domestic and international markets with a variety of live animals, animal parts and medicinal plants. Under the new policy, Vietnam is identified by USAID as a priority country for biodiversity programming.
“While USAID strives to conserve globally significant biodiversity under this new direction, we recognize the essential role that healthy ecosystems play in advancing resilient societies,” said USAID Vietnam Mission Director Joakim Parker. “We are also committed to a more specific focus on integrating biodiversity conservation with our other development work in Vietnam – such as economic growth and health.”
The new policy recognizes that conservation is central to USAID’s mission as an international development agency because healthy ecosystems provide goods and services that sustain life and improve human well-being. The U.S. Mission to Vietnam is working closely with our governmental and civil society partners to preserve biodiversity conservation and stop the illegal wildlife trade. It is a global challenge requiring global solutions, and the United States is proud to partner with Vietnam and other countries in the region to implement these important programs.
In Vietnam, the United States has been working closely with government, civil society, and international actors to tackle wildlife trafficking, including through USAID’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking (ARREST) program, which works to reduce consumer demand for wildlife products, and strengthen law enforcement, regional cooperation, and anti-trafficking networks. USAID expects to increase its wildlife trafficking assistance to Vietnam under the new policy.