Published 24 May 2016


Prominent civil society organisations lead zero tolerance of wildlife crime

Ha Noi, Viet Nam, 24th May 2016—Leaders from across major sectors of Vietnamese civil society are taking on new roles in a nationwide campaign to promote zero tolerance of illegal wildlife trade through consumer behaviour change.

Representatives from two CSOs review behaviour change principles as they brainstorm messaging © TRAFFIC

At a workshop today, four prominent civil society organizations (CSOs), with guidance from local communications experts and government agencies, including the Central Committee for Propaganda and Education (CCPE) and the National Center for Health Communication and Education (T5G), agreed to begin to disseminate new, highly-targeted messages to reduce demand for illegal wildlife products in Viet Nam. 

The workshop, organized by TRAFFIC and WWF, supports TRAFFIC’s consumer behaviour change programme to reduce demand for rhino horn in Viet Nam. The programme's messages are tailored using consumer research and feedback to address the specific motivations for using rhino horn among identified consumer groups. 

Today’s meeting, funded by the Agence Française de Développement, equipped the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), the Vietnam Ecommerce Association, the Center for Women and Development, and the Vietnam Automobile Transportation Association to develop wildlife protection messages and action plans for their corporate partners.

The specially-designed messages will be integrated into their codes of conducts and corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies and will be widely shared with their business partners and staff.

“Illegal wildlife trade is a significant threat to biodiversity conservation in Viet Nam and in the region. As CSOs responsible for supporting businesses, the organizations present today and others like us can encourage businesses to demonstrate CSR by integrating wildlife protection into their business policies, which will help these businesses avoid risks, create competitive advantages and, in the long term, achieve sustainable development,” said Dr Pham Thi Thu Hang, General Secretary of VCCI. 

As Viet Nam’s economy continues to grow, the country faces a changing set of development challenges, including increasing threats to the environment. Civil society has a progressively important role to play in tackling these new development issues. 

“Rising levels of income in Viet Nam have led to a trend of conspicuous consumption of ‘high status’ goods, including rhino horn. This increased demand for illegal wildlife products is causing immediate and lasting damage to local and global biodiversity. Only through the combined efforts of the government, civil society and the private sector can we reduce the demand for illegal wildlife products that drives wildlife crime,” said Madelon Willemsen, Head of TRAFFIC’s Viet Nam Office. 

Today’s workshop provided an example of how this collaboration may work, as CSOs and government agencies shared their expertise to develop effective behaviour change messages and action plans that will ensure the zero tolerance of wildlife crime permeates through all levels of Vietnamese society.