TRAFFIC and the National Assembly of Viet Nam plan strengthened wildlife legislation and communications

Vietnam’s parliamentarians have confirmed the need for harmonisation and a clear delineation of responsibilities in future wildlife protection legislation. Original photo as published by Traffic.

TRAFFIC | November 20, 2020

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HA NOI, VIETNAM: TRAFFIC and the National Assembly of Viet Nam held a high-level dialogue today bringing together 50 parliamentarians, government officials, and conservation experts to plan a long-term wildlife legislation and communications strategy. The event, held in partnership with the National Assembly’s Elected Representatives Training Centre, focused on how national conservation laws could be strengthened to bolster enforcement and ways in which communications campaigns could best support wildlife legislation.

Parliamentarians confirmed the need for harmonisation and a clear delineation of responsibilities in future wildlife protection legislation. A lack of clarity in present laws was put forward as a main factor mitigating effective enforcement.

TRAFFIC led a discussion around the application of social and behaviour change communications (SBCC) to support laws against the consumption of rhino horn, ivory, and other illegal wildlife products. SBCC is an evidence-based communications approach designed to promote and sustain positive behaviours by delivering culturally specific messages to multiple levels of society. TRAFFIC has pioneered the application of SBCC to countering illegal wildlife trade in Viet Nam.

“Strategic communications are an essential part of a holistic strategy to combat illegal wildlife trade, which also includes robust law enforcement and sustainable community livelihoods. The more targeted those communications are, the more likely the strategy is to succeed,” said Sarah Ferguson, office director for TRAFFIC in Viet Nam.

Despite government efforts, Viet Nam remains a transit and destination point for illegal wildlife trade. Discussion points and recommendations from this dialogue will be collected into a reference guide to be kept in the National Assembly library and used to drive the development of effective future wildlife legislation and communication measures to counter wildlife trafficking.

The event was made possible through funding from Save the Rhino International aimed at empowering government officials to stand against the consumption of illegal wildlife products.