Vietnam’s forest fragments form islands of biodiversity amidst a sea of almost 100 million people. They are under continued threat from hunting, logging, harvesting and agriculture. In 1996, when it had become apparent that law enforcement alone was not the answer to this problem, Flora and Fauna International set up an education programme based around the Cuc Phuong National Park, led by Vu Thi Quyen.
In four years Quyen undertook a mammoth task: Conservation Clubs started in 45 schools, involving more than 15,300 students, and an adult-focused project reached all 16 communities bordering the park. Quyen also successfully transferred the management of the education programme to local leadership. Her success encouraged regional, national and international policymakers to shift their focus from enforcing law to inspiring behaviour change.
On the back of this success, Quyen founded Vietnam’s first environmental NGO in 2000: Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV). Her Whitley Award will help her reach more than 50 protected areas in Vietnam with community-based education programmes.
2003 CONTINUATION FUNDING
WFN is supporting Vu Thi Quyen’s ongoing work, providing environmental education to thousands in schools and communities around Vietnam’s national parks. Continuation Funding will help her scale-up her awareness campaign, as ENV begins to reach millions of people through broadcasts on television, radio, elevator screens, airports, buses, trains, and virally on social media.
2005 PROJECT UPDATE
While education is the primary way to ensure future generations protect their environment, Quyen has become increasingly concerned by the major and immediate threat to Vietnam’s forests from the illegal wildlife trade. In response, ENV have launched a toll-free hotline through which the public can report wildlife crime. When ENV receives such a report they work with law enforcement to ensure live wild animals are confiscated quickly, wildlife products are seized and destroyed, and wildlife criminals are arrested and prosecuted.
2008 PROJECT UPDATE
Since 2005, ENV’s Wildlife Crime Unit has responded to thousands of hotline reports, bringing hundreds of wildlife traffickers to justice including leaders of major criminal networks.
In addition, ENV has helped strengthen important wildlife protection laws. ENV is becoming instrumental in resolving conflicts between laws and closing loopholes that have a had a negative impact on national wildlife conservation efforts.
ENV’s hard work and commitment have helped transform wildlife conservation across Vietnam, and continues to do so by strengthening national wildlife policy, bringing transparency and accountability to law enforcement, and increasing public involvement in protecting Vietnam’s biodiversity.
2020 CONTINUATION FUNDING
Project: Ending illegal wildlife trafficking in Vietnam to prevent future pandemics
Continuation Funding Award: £70,000 over 2 years
Vietnam plays a global role in illegal wildlife trafficking. Many criminal networks operating around the world are run through Vietnam, while the country itself is a major consumer of wildlife as well as a back door to China.
Wildlife trafficking is a major threat to wild animal populations in Vietnam and its neighbouring countries. While progress has been made in the past decade to curb public demand and decrease trade, criminal enterprises keep evolving as highly profitable illegal activities remain undetected by law enforcement. And COVID-19 has shown us that it’s not just other animals at risk: the potential for pandemics to be caused by overexploitation of wildlife highlights the urgent need to foster a more sustainable relationship between humans and nature.
With Continuation Funding, Quyen and her team will keep encouraging the public to report wildlife crime through their effective hotline. ENV’s Wildlife Crime Unit has so far responded to 17,500 wildlife crime cases, over half of which have been prosecuted and resulted in jail sentences. Quyen will also address national policy issues such as the management of non-commercial wildlife facilities, as well as commercial farming and trade of endangered species. She will aim to set new standards for law enforcement, working with authorities to strengthen wildlife protection laws and monitor facilities to ensure that regulations are not violated.
Quyen’s actions will help mitigate the illegal wildlife trade, protecting wild animal populations from further exploitation and reducing the risk of future zoonotic diseases affecting our global health.