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Looking back on the 10-year journey of Department of Foreign Affairs of Tien Giang province
Looking back on the 10-year journey of Department of Foreign Affairs of Tien Giang province - 13/04/2021

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A review of implementing the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora in Tien Giang province in the context of Covid-19 pandemic

According to Wikipedia, CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), also known as Washington Convention is a multilateral international treaty. Its manuscript was adopted in 1963 in a meeting of members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The convention was signed in 1973 and entered into force on July 1st, 1975. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species in the wild, and it accords varying degrees of protection to more than 34,000 species of animals and plants.

Vietnam joined the CITES Convention in 1994 and became the 121st member of the total 178 member countries. This was one of the first important international commitments to the protection of wildlife and biodiversity that Vietnam participated in. According to the report of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Viet Nam, in order to implement the commitments and provisions of CITES, the Government of Viet Nam has made efforts to issue 16 legal documents on policies, principles and regulations based on CITES; and established a system of enforcement agencies, including CITES management agencies and CITES scientific institutions. The CITES management agency is based at the headquarter of Viet Nam Administration of Forestry under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. CITES scientific institutions include the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources, the Center for Natural Resources and Environmental Studies, Vietnamese Academy for Forest Sciences, and the Research Institute for Marine Fisheries.

From signing the convention, the implementation in Viet Nam has made some remarkable achievements, such as: control of farming, trading, transporting, importing and exporting endangered plant and animal species listed in the CITES appendixes; creating jobs and increasing income for people from the farming activities; contributing to raising people's awareness of environmental protection, biodiversity, especially the protection of endangered species of wild fauna and flora.

However, there is still an overlap in the regulations on wild fauna and flora between the List of rare endangered species prioritized for protection (prescribed in Decree No. 64/2019) and the List of rare endangered forest fauna and flora (prescribed in Decree No. 06/2019). In addition, there are also some drawbacks between managing the conservation of and exploiting, farming and trading wild fauna and flora that need protection.

In the process of implementing the Convention as well as the related laws, there are some difficulties such as: Knowledge and awareness of a large number of people in general and those who can afford to use products from wildlife in particular are wrong. Specifically, they mistakenly believe in the effectiveness of rhino horns and pangolin scales in treating diseases or using alcohol soaked with wild animal carcasses to improve their health. The society also does not have a strong critical attitude towards the poaching, trafficking or using of endangered and rare wildlife for food, medicine, decoration, jewelry or gifts, which indirectly encourage wildlife traffickers to continue their illegal trade as well as reducing the effectiveness of law enforcement activities to prevent and fight against this problem.

Viet Nam is considered to be in the illegal transport route of wildlife from Africa and Southeast Asia to the world's major consumption market (China). The international cooperation on preventing the international trafficking and handling its real evidence isn't good enough. The management of CITES agencies does not meet the requirements of implementing the Convention.

In Tien Giang province, in recent years, implementing the direction of the Central Government and agencies as well as CITES Convention, the provincial People's Committee has carried out some specific tasks such as:

- Popularisation among civil servants, government officials, workers and citizens in the province  for their abiding by the laws on management, protection and conservation of wild animals; coordinating with relevant authorities to intensify the inspection and control and strictly handle illegal activities of importing, trading, storing and processing wild animal specimens according to laws; prohibiting the import of wild animal specimens (excluding the processed animal parts in medicine, perfume, watch, bag, etc.)

- Holding 11 training courses on environmental protection for 249 wildlife rearing households with 440 participants so that they will follow the regulations on conditions for rearing wild fauna and flora stated at the appendixes of CITES convention and the laws of Viet Nam.

- Issuing Decision No. 61/QD-UBND dated June 4th, 2019 to announce the list of administrative procedures within the management of the agriculture and rural development sector, including those on registering numbers of rearing and planting precious, rare, endangered forest fauna and flora in Appendix II and wild, endangered fauna and flora in Appendix II and II of CITES-BNN-TGG-288458.

In general, the implementation of the CITES convention as well as the central Government's regulations done by Tien Giang as well as other provinces and cities in the country is still modest and there are not strong enough actions.

According to a report of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF, 2016), human impact has pushed the extinction rate of wild species in the world today into an approximately 4,000-time faster pace than the dinosaur mass extinction period. The report also warns that without urgent actions, the world will see a sixth mass extinction of wildlife within the next three decades. At the same time, if humans do not act promptly and effectively, we will be the victims of this mass extinction.

According to an article of Vietnamnet on January 28th, 2020, scientists from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said that checks confirmed the deadly coronavirus pandemic in China began at Huanan wholesale animal market, Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China.  It is not clear which animal carried the coronavirus but the market was home to stalls trading dozens of different wild species, including rats and wolves, snakes, etc.

Huanan Market is attractive to the local people because this place provided the fresh meat slaughtered on site at affordable prices. It is reported that hundreds of live animals were sold and slaughtered there every day.

According to AFP, relating to the sale and consumption of wildlife at Huanan market, to control the COVID-19 outbreak, on February 24th, 2020, Chinese Government issued a comprehensive ban on wildlife trading and consumption at Huanan market. CCTV reported that the ban was expected to help eliminate "bad habits" of over-consumption of wildlife and protect human's health and lives.

To contribute to implementing the CITES Convention to well manage the wildlife rearing activities and effectively prevent and fight against violations of laws on wildlife protection in the whole country and Tien Giang province, leaders of all levels of government should focus on implementing the following solutions:

- Continuing to do popularisation on the regulations relating to protecting wild animals, especially precious, rare, endangered species, focusing on making civil servants, government officials and local citizens fully understand them and implementing Decree No. 06/2019/ND-CP dated January 22nd, 2019 of the Central Government on the management of precious, rare, endangered forest plants and animals and the CITES implementation.

- Continuing to strictly implement the Directive No. 03/CT-TTg dated February 20th, 2014 of the Prime Minister on strengthening the direction and implementation of measures to control and conserve rare, endangered wildlife species; Directive No. 28/CT-TTg dated September 17th, 2016 of the Prime Minister on a number of urgent solutions for preventing and fighting against illegal actions towards wild animals.

- Encouraging organizations, households and individuals to rear wild animals of legal origin; prohibiting raising wild animals of illegal origin or caught in natural forests.

- Directing relevant government agencies to intensify their inspection of restaurants, eateries, markets, business, residential areas and households that are rearing or keeping wild animals in captivity for promptly preventing and strictly handling any violations in hunting, trading, transportation, rearing, captivity keeping, processing, display and commercial advertising of wildlife and specimens of wild animals; inspecting conditions on farm safety and environmental hygiene at wildlife rearing places, especially those for precious, rare, endangered animals to ensure safety for people and the environment.

- Closely supervising and inspecting the rearing places for ordinary, wild animals and precious, rare, wild, endangered ones in accordance with laws; Granting the codes for wild animal rearing places according to the Decree No. 06/2019/ND-CP dated January 22nd, 2019 of the Central Government and rescuing individual wild animals or releasing them into natural environment in accordance with laws.

- Mobilize domestic and international resources to implement international treaties and commitments on wildlife conservation through cooperation in the region and the world.

- Humans and nature have a symbiotic relationship, in which the natural world is the foundation for human existence and development. However, at the present, during their development, humans are disregarding relevant rules, acting violently towards nature, which is responding to those actions. Therefore, proper understanding of the relationship between humans and nature, including the conservation of rare, precious, wild fauna and flora, will be an important prerequisite for environmental protection and human adaptation to nature in the context of climate change in Viet Nam in general and provinces and cities in the country in particular, including Tien Giang./.

 

Translated by the Department of Foreign Affairs

 

The member countries of the Convention implement a ban on international trading of endangered wild fauna and flora. Nearly 5 thousand species of animals and 29,000 species of plants are listed for protection. These species are listed in 3 appendices.

Appendix I           

There are about 1,200 species that are threatened with extinction and may be affected by the trade. Trading these species is illegal. If it is not commercial, an import-export license is required. The famous animals listed in Appendix I include: All rhinos; Red panda; gorillas; Chimpanzee (Pan spp.); Leopard; Jaguar; Cheetah; Asian elephant; Tiger (Panthera tigris); Asiatic lion; Some populations of African bush elephant; dugong and Manatee (Sirenia).

Appendix II

This includes about 21,000 species that are not yet threatened with extinction, but are in danger of extinction if the trade is excessive, unregulated. The species listed in Appendix II can be traded but require an import-export license. Some species listed in Appendix II are such as: Great white shark; American black bear; Hartmann's Mountain zebra; Grey parrot; Green iguana; Pink conch; Varanus mertensi, etc.

Appendix III

CITES member countries have asked CITES to help control the trade in about 170 species, for example: two-toed sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) in Costa Rica; African civet (Civettictis civetta) in Botswana, and alligator snapping turtle (Macrochelys temminckii) in the USA.


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