The US$15 million, five-year project, called Saving Threatened Wildlife, will work toward increasing Viet Nam's leadership in addressing wildlife crime by enhancing the commitment of Government of Viet Nam leaders at the national and provincial levels, improving law enforcement effectiveness, and reducing demand and consumption of illegal wildlife products.
"At current rates, experts predict that the world's most iconic endangered species, including rhinos, elephants, pangolins and tigers, will perish from the planet within the next decades. Through this new project, USAID will work with MARD to reduce demand for and consumption of illegal wildlife products, and save our threatened species," said Ann Marie Yastishock, USAID/Viet Nam Mission Director.
"The effective implementation of the Saving Threatened Wildlife project will help address the issue of illegal wildlife trafficking, and therefore reflect the highest commitments of the Government of Viet Nam in this effort, contributing to biodiversity conservation and environment protection in Viet Nam," said Le Quoc Doanh, Vice Minister of MARD.
The project focuses on protecting species that are at risk from international trafficking into Viet Nam such as African rhinos, African and Asian elephants, and pangolins, as well as animals that are regularly poached and traded domestically or internationally, such as primates, muntjacs, and big cats. The project is implemented by World Wide Fund for Nature, in cooperation with TRAFFIC and Education for Nature﹘Viet Nam.
Also at the project launch, USAID and MARD opened a new chapter of cooperation on environmental issues. Mission Director Yastishock and Vice Minister Le Quoc Doanh signed the first bilateral partnership agreement—called a Limited Scope Grant Agreement—between USAID and MARD, on climate change cooperation in the Mekong Delta for the period 2022 to 2027.
With an estimated budget of up to $50 million, through this agreement, USAID will help MARD in reducing methane emissions from the agriculture sector, building resilience for the Mekong Delta's vulnerable populations, promoting nature-based solutions, and developing climate-resilient and low-emissions policies.
The signing was observed by MARD Minister Le Minh Hoan and Deputy Secretary Sherman.
"I commend USAID and MARD for working together to help the people of the Mekong Delta region adapt to the changing climate and reduce agricultural emissions. Addressing the climate crisis must be a collective effort, and it must incorporate everything from building environmental resilience, to reducing emissions, to conserving biodiversity. And I commend USAID and MARD for working together to combat illegal wildlife trafficking. The United States is proud to be Viet Nam's partner in this effort," said Deputy Secretary Sherman.
The Saving Threatened Wildlife project builds and expands on the progress achieved by USAID's previous five-year (2016-2021) project, Saving Species.
The project supported the Government of Viet Nam to improve and harmonize the legal system related to wildlife protection, strengthen law enforcement and prosecution of wildlife crimes, and reduce demand and illegal consumption of wildlife.