Environmental conference aims to protect rare species

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VietnamNet English - 100 month(s) ago 5 readings

The training, led by German CITES experts, will focus on the regulations, implementation and enforcement of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), the primary international agreement regulating trade in wildlife and wildlife products.

VietNamNet Bridge – More than two dozens of Viet Nam’s environmental police gather this week in Ha Noi for four days of training on wildlife trade enforcement.

The workshop is one of two being conducted by the Greater Mekong office of TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, in co-operation with the German CITES Management Authority.

The training will be held in Ha Noi for environmental officers from northern Viet Nam, while the second will take place on November 30 to December 3 in HCM City for officers from southern provinces.

Both workshops are sponsored by the German Ministry for Environment and the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BFN) and will include a field trip to nearby wildlife centres and farms to give trainees hands-on experience in animal identification and CITES compliance.

In Viet Nam, as in other parts of Southeast Asia, the illicit wildlife trade has pushed species such as tigers, Asian elephants, Javan rhinoceros and hawksbill turtles to the brink of extinction, and caused a sharp decline in wild populations of many others.

Although relatively new, the Department of Environmental Police has shown an ever-increasing commitment to ending wildlife trafficking since its inception in 2007. It has expanded to a force of nearly 1,000 officers stationed around the country, and has been increasingly more active in investigating and seizing illegal wildlife products.

The growing frequency of wildlife seizures by authorities indicates an improved understanding of illegal trafficking and CITES regulations, thanks in part to two previous training sessions conducted by TRAFFIC in 2008.

According to Nguyen Dao Ngoc Van, senior project officer with TRAFFIC Greater Mekong Programme, such results are encouraging for Viet Nam’s CITES enforcement efforts.

"When the environmental police were first created, officers didn’t know which plants and animals were protected. Now we see the evidence of the effectiveness of the training in providing the technical skills and knowledge necessary to monitor and confiscate illegal wildlife," said Van.

The training takes place over the next two weeks and will include an element of capacity building for the environmental police. A selection of the 50 workshop participants will be taught how to lead their own training sessions for other officers in their units, thereby ensure the long-term sustainability of CITES enforcement in Viet Nam.

"It is the quickest way for Viet Nam’s environmental police to familiarise its officers with basic CITES knowledge," said lead trainer Franz Bohmer, who has more than two decades experience conducting CITES training.

VietNamNet/Viet Nam News

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