Vietnam Public Hearing: Suggested recommendations from the audience and around the world

Wildlife Justice Commission’s Public Hearing on the Nhi Khe case: suggested recommendations from the audience and around the world

The Wildlife Justice Commission (WJC) would like to thank everyone in the audience and around the world for bringing forward the below suggestions to address the issue of illegal wildlife trade in Vietnam and more generally. These suggested recommendations have been raised by the audience at the Wildlife Justice Commission’s Public Hearing on Nhi Khe on 14 and 15 November in the Peace Palace in The Hague or have been submitted by e-mail from interested people around the world. They do not concern recommendations by the Designated Independent Review Panel or the Wildlife Justice Commission.

Vietnam Public Hearing - WJC

  • Young people and social entrepreneurs should be addressed in the search for innovative solutions. We have seen successful recent examples of online campaigning in the context of other environmental fields and politics, and there is a need for the anti-wildlife-trafficking community to engage with experts in the areas of entrepreneurship, social media, art, design, innovation, marketing, and social behavior. A former celebrity fashion designer gave an account of how her business has changed out of her new values and suggested that for wildlife crime to end, new innovations should be combined with the targets. To change the world, we need co-operate in all fields, such as design, technology etc.;
  • Financial incentives into technology and innovation schemes would help in combating wildlife crimes;
  • Tourism could be a mechanism to trigger positive change, eco-tourism on one hand, and boycotts on the other, for instance by airlines refusing to transport illegal wildlife products, and tour operators avoiding areas where poaching is prevalent. Promoting wildlife could be an alternative to poaching and can demonstrate that animals are worth more alive than dead. The tourism industry could be used by WJC, to create shame and pressure around the wildlife products. The shame around these products would stimulate pressure. (WJC needs to get creative to broaden the impact of their work);
  • Money can be put back into the community from tourism. This would add value especially to the youth who are easily influenced into killing these animals because they have not much regard for the animals or the tourism industry right now. Putting the money from such tourism back into the communities would help grow respect and value for the animals and in turn this would help yield respect and value for these animals, and perhaps reduce the poaching;
  • We should better understand the networks, work from supply to demand might bring more perspective then just working from a legal perspective. Naming and shaming could also be counterproductive, so looking into diplomacy especially with Vietnam, encouraging them in this fight too would be a better approach;
  • We should look for ways to debunk the myths upon which the traditional medicine market is built, and on ways to reduce the demand for other rhino horn products, including jewelry. One speaker drew attention to scientific studies into the effectiveness of rhino horn traditional medicine, which showed its limited cost-effectiveness;
  • Ivory trade should be banned completely;
  • The civil society should hold their governments to account. Governments need to fight corruption in wildlife authority agencies. More work has got to be done by the governments;
  • The WJC should aim to have the UN create a new agency dedicated to wildlife crime issues;
  • ASEAN member states could be involved to increase pressure on Vietnam and sharing best practices on how to help Vietnam;
  • The WJC should encourage the donors to monitor the use of their funds and evaluate the progress in stopping wildlife crime;
  • The WJC should maybe take a regional approach rather than single out Vietnam, since countries like Japan have stopped in the past and new countries started the same trend. This could mean that after Vietnam has been pressured into stopping, another country like Cambodia could be next to pick up the trend. Working to change the whole region’s mentality and outlook on ivory could be the answer;
  • Multinationals that manufacture their products in Vietnam should put pressure on the Vietnamese government to design and implement an educational program to help the population be educated and aware of the benefits of the conservation of wildlife. Multi media campaigns could put pressure on the multinationals to do so;
  • TV commercials that show the mistreatment and suffering of animals resulting from poaching could raise awareness on this issue and publicly outlaw wildlife trafficking;
  • “Wechat” should clearly state in their legal clauses accepted by the subscriber that wildlife products and parts trading is illegal and prosecutable by local laws;
  • Starving the source (by means of removing the elements of social distress) rather than the middle man may have the desired cascade effect to eliminate demand;
  • Efforts at a national level are often difficult to apply at a regional or local level. Legislation should be tailored to the local level.