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Laos, China and Viet Nam enhance cooperation to combat transnational wildlife trafficking networks

(12:50:46 PM 06/04/2016)
(Tinmoitruong.vn) - Frontline enforcement officers from Laos, China and Viet Nam take commitments out of the meeting room and conduct first-of-its-kind field mission from Guangzhou to Vientiane to strengthen international cooperation and coordination

April 5th, 2016–Frontline enforcement officers from key provinces, ports and border posts in Laos, China and Viet Nam completed aninter-agency field mission this week to share experiences, approaches and update the situation on wildlife smuggling networks along the major Indo-Burma trade route.

 

Laos, China and Viet Nam enhance cooperation to combat transnational wildlife trafficking networks



Twenty-five participants from police, customs anti-smuggling bureau, border army, and CITES management authorities travelledfrom China’s Guangzhou City, through Nanning, the Dongxing – MongCai border crossing into Viet Nam, Quang Ninh province, Ha Tinh province, the Cau Treo-Nam Pha border crossing into Laos, Bolikhamxay province and ending in the capital city, Vientiane.

Throughout the mission participants visited key sites along the trafficking network such as the Qingping traditional medicine market in Guangzhou and significant smuggling points along international borders. Meetings with local officers were heldto better under the situation on the ground, build relationships,share intelligenceon recent cases and enhance strategies for cooperative actions.

This trade route across Indoburmais believed to cover the most significant illegal flow of elephant ivory, pangolins scales, tiger bones, and freshwater turtles and tortoises. Whilst governments in the region have provided a political voice to combatting wildlife trafficking networks, this is yet to translate on the ground action at the network level and trafficking networks continue unabated.

In order to summarize the results of the mission, the Department of Forest Inspection (DoFI) of Laos hosted a meeting in Vientiane. Participants discussed past challenges to effective transnational cooperation and drafted a roadmap for collaboration in 2016. This includedestablishing direct communication protocols and mainstreaming wildlife trafficking into bi-lateral meetings between frontline agencies through the development of further bilateral agreements between neighboring provinces.

Mr. Yin Bangxiang - Deputy Director of Guangxi Anti-Smuggling Office, praised the action: “in many countries enforcement cooperation is restricted to political pledges in a meeting room; so it is very encouraging that each participant should pay more effort to advocate the government to operate their commitments immediately”.

Mr. Air Vilarket, Deputy Director Department of Wildlife and Aquatic Life Inspection, DoFI was pleased with outcomes of this mission. “Participating in the mission benefited our participants greatly. We learned about wildlife trade along the route, the mandate of law enforcement of each country and in near future we hope this will facilitate targeted training and information exchange to improve regional collaboration.

Mr. Pham Quang Tung, CITES MA Viet Nam stated that: "Wildlife trade is a serious transnational crime and its critical that we enhance sharing information across borders for frontline officers, we hope to develop mechanisms at provincial level to enable this in the coming year based on available agreement such as MoU between CITES MA Viet Nam and CITES MA China.

The mission was hosted by the CITESManagement Authority of China and Vietnam, the Department of Forest Inspection (Lao PDR), facilitated by the Wildlife Conservation Society and support from the Critical Ecosystem, Partnership Fund (CEPF) and the Blue Moon Foundation.

TIN MÔI TRƯỜNG (tinmoitruong@tinmoitruong.vn)