Posted on 09 September 2023
Civil society organisations and professional associations proactively promoted a direct dialogue with elected representatives at all levels to attract the attention of authorities to have effective policies to prevent and end illegal wildlife trade and consumption.
The Forest Owners Sustainable Development Association of Thua Thien Hue province (TTH-FOSDA) has pioneered in implementing the initiative mentioned above by advocating the Fatherland Front Committee of Thua Thien Hue province and the National Assembly Delegation of Thua Thien Hue province to organise a Conference for voters to discuss on the topic of "Sustainable Forest Protection and Development" dated September 8, 2023, in Hue City. The conference was chaired by Mr. Le Truong Luu, Member of the Party Central Committee, Secretary of the Provincial Party Committee, Chairman of the Provincial People's Council, and Head of the Provincial National Assembly delegation with the participation of nearly 200 voters across the province. WWF-Viet Nam is honoured to accompany this event through a cooperation agreement between the Project of "Voices for Diversity - Safeguarding Ecosystems for Nature and People" (referred to as VfD/WWF) and TTH- FOSDA.
The working session recorded more than ten opinions from participants who are voters presented at the Conference. Their ideas focused on proposing mechanisms and policy recommendations on community and production forest management and wildlife protection. In particular, the Government should strengthen policies to encourage, support, and effectively engage communities in patrolling forests and protecting wildlife animals, for example, having labour accident insurance for community members who are participating in forest patrolling, supporting job creation, and increasing income for people living near forests; Having a timely reward mechanism for the communities when detecting people who are trading or hunting wildlife animals, catching officials who are using forest animals illegally and need to report to local authorities or voluntarily hand over wildlife animals to the local competent agencies. It’s necessary to have policies to encourage and mobilise village elders, village heads, and reputable community members to participate in propaganda work and build up an excellent example for the community in forest and wildlife protection.
Government voters at the grassroots level also would like to propose that the Central and Provincial Governments pay attention to allocating separate budget lines for communications on wildlife protection, building a separate section on wildlife protection to broadcast on television stations, Providing financial support for district People's Committees to implement the Proposal for "Preventing illegal hunting, trading and consumption of wildlife animals in the area from 2023 to 2030"; Additional funding for management boards of protected areas and national parks to conduct patrolling, raid, and remove traps for wildlife animals and support funding for investment in equipment, temporary cages, and staff training on rescuing practices to be better in accepting and rescuing wildlife animals, etc.
Mr. Hoang Hai Minh, Vice Chairman of Thua Thien Hue Provincial People's Committee, summarised voters' opinions and requested the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to preside and coordinate with relevant units/agencies to review overlapping contents to advise the Provincial People's Committee to raise issues to competent agencies for their consideration on adjustment.
Mr. Le Truong Luu, Secretary of the Provincial Party Committee Head of the Provincial National Assembly Delegation, emphasised that the Central Committee has just issued Conclusion No. 61-KL/TW of the Secretariat Board dated August 17, 2023, on continuing to implement Directive No. 13-CT/TW of the Secretariat Board dated January 12, 2017, on strengthening the Party's leadership in forest management, protection and development. To implement this conclusion, the Provincial Party Committee has assigned the Party and Youth Union of the Provincial People's Committee to develop a specific action plan, and recommendations of the voters today will also be included in the action plan of the Provincial People's Committee. The Party, Youth Union of Provincial People's Committee and The Party, Youth Union of Provincial People's Council also need to research to have a thematic Resolution of the Provincial People's Council related to the management, protection and development of local forests. The content of wildlife protection will also have its own Directive and requires strict implementation, with a review of violators and rewards for people who report violations, etc.
Ms. Nguyen Thi Thanh Hai, VfD Project Manager, WWF-Viet Nam, said that the Conference marked a significant milestone that civil society organisations and local communities could proactively propose dialogues and speak out their opinions, provide more information and voices of voters to National Assembly Delegates in the field of forest and wildlife protection through the Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee in localities. This event has also shown the close attention and commitment of the Leaders of the National Assembly Delegation, People's Council, and People's Committee of Thua Thien Hue province for this issue. This will be a good model for other localities and civil society organisations to learn and replicate to create a meaningful information channel, helping to improve the quality of policy formulation and implementation of legal regulations on forest and wildlife protection in Viet Nam.
More information: The VfD project is funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) through WWF-Viet Nam with a focus on Strengthening the capacity of civil social organisations (CSOs) and raising awareness of indigenous people and local communities (IPLCs) to undertake effective advocacy for the inclusive conservation of biodiversity which contribute to reducing demand for illegal wildlife and wildlife products, and promoting good governance, raising awareness and social responsibility of Government agencies to combat and deter IWT through increased accountability and responsiveness.