The workshop held in Hanoi on Friday.
The report is the result of analysis conducted using the Wildlife and Forest Crime Analytic Toolkit, which was developed in consultation with the partners of the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC), including CITES Secretariat, INTERPOL, World Bank, and World Customs Organization. It was a Government-led process, carried out with the participation of relevant stakeholder agencies across the country.
Wildlife and forest crime (WLFC) is a growing threat globally, with criminal networks benefiting from illegal fishing, logging and poaching, and illicit trafficking in endangered species. WLFC often funds other crime types, and is linked to corruption and money laundering.
Organised crime groups exploit natural resources, leading to a devastating impact on biodiversity, security, the livelihood of communities, and economies. Vietnam has recognised WLFC as a serious and growing threat, and there is commitment from the highest level of Government to respond with coordinated and concerted effort.
As part of the Toolkit process in Vietnam, representatives from UNODC, Viet Nam CITES Management Authority, and Wildlife Conservation Society Vietnam (WCS) undertook a fact finding mission from 26 January to 10 February, 2015 to various parts of the country; ranging from border crossings, national parks, sea and airports, and markets, to the two major cities, and many provinces.
Consultations were held with representatives and officials from central, provincial and local Government, donor countries, and civil society groups, including judges, prosecutors, customs officials, police, border guard officers, forest and park rangers, and NGO representatives.
The findings and recommendations of the analysis described in the report reflect both the strengths and weaknesses of Vietnam’s capacity to tackle wildlife and forest crime (WLFC).
It highlights the need for timely and reliable information and actionable intelligence sharing in Vietnam, coupled with the necessary technical skills and advanced capabilities to identify, target and arrest criminals.
It also identifies room for improvement across all sections of the legal framework, and some serious regulatory deficiencies that are having a paralysing effect on successful prosecutions, particularly in relation to wildlife.
The report also provides 48 recommendations to strengthen Vietnam’s response to wildlife and forest crime; including the revision of the Penal Code to include liability of legal persons, the introduction of stronger deterrent penalties, enhancing the knowledge and awareness of the judiciary, procuracy and law enforcement agencies about the specialised nature of wildlife and forest crimes, strengthening the coordination and cooperation between enforcement agencies, and developing Vietnam’s forensic analysis capacity.
At the workshop, comments and input were collected from relevant Government agencies, as well as other stakeholders such as donors, embassies and non-governmental organisations.
The report will be further revised and finalised, to become an important base line study which will be used to design a detailed programme for national capacity building and technical assistance delivery in Vietnam.
This was one of the activities carried out under the UNODC Global Program for Combating Wildlife and Forest Crime.