SA, Vietnam sign rhino action plan

7 May 2013

South Africa and Vietnam have signed an action plan to set in motion the biodiversity conservation and protection agreement signed by the two countries in December, aimed at curbing wildlife crimes, in particular rhino poaching.

“The implementation plan, effective until 2017, gives further impetus to the fight against wildlife crimes, particularly rhino poaching,” the Department of Environmental Affairs said in a statement.

South Africa’s Deputy Environmental Affairs Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi and Vietnam’s Deputy Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Ha Cong Tuan signed the follow-up implementation plan in Hanoi on Monday.

“The signing of the action plan is the culmination of intensive negotiations and discussions between the two governments,” the department said following the signing.

The memorandum of understanding on biodiversity conservation and protection was introduced to promote cooperation between the two countries in law enforcement and compliance with legislation such as the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

‘Joint efforts to conserve biodiversity’

“Put into action is the development of joint legislative efforts to conserve biodiversity, build capacity and promote participation of international organisations and non-governmental organisations in the process,” the department said.

Priority cooperation areas also include the use, transfer and development of technology, natural resource and protected areas management, wildlife trade and community development.

“The two countries will, in the next six months, share information on each country’s legislation in regards to the management of sport hunting for trophies of rhino and other wildlife with the aim of improving the management of imports of hunted specimens to Vietnam,” the department said.

“Awareness and education campaigns on biodiversity management, compliance with international regulations and legislation, forestry, skills development, sustainable utilisation and the improvement of livelihoods while conserving the environment and related matters, will also be conducted to ensure wildlife-related crimes are reduced.”

Further development of wildlife monitoring systems, including the introduction of a gene bank and training courses in wildlife forensic analysis and DNA sample techniques, also form part of the implementation plan to combat levels of wildlife crime.

“The two countries will share experiences on a regular basis, resulting in recommendations to enhance biodiversity, management, conservation and protection,” the department said.

SAinfo reporter