Posts by Editor Staff

Conservationists Urge Vietnam to Stamp out Wildlife Trade amid Epidemic

Fourteen wildlife non-profits have jointly called on Vietnam to scrap wildlife markets to prevent Covid-19 outbreaks, citing other global epidemics linked to wild animals.

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Conservation NGOs: Covid-19 disease and Vietnam’s Actions to Address Threats from Illegal Wildlife Trade

On February 16th, 2020, People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature) and 9 other Vietnamese and international non-profit organizations working in  nature and wildlife conservation (WWF-Vietnam,  GreenViet,  WCS Vietnam, FFI Vietnam, Education for Nature – Vietnam, Save Vietnam Wildlife, Wildlife at Risk, TRAFFIC Vietnam,  Animals Asia Foundation) have sent an Open Letter to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to propose that Vietnam should identify and close markets and other locations illegal wildlife is on sale to prevent Covid-19 disease outbreaks.

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His Excellency Nguyen Xuan Phuc,
Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam

We, the representatives of Vietnamese and international non-profit organizations working in nature and wildlife conservation, would like to bring to your attention one significant issue that we believe has the utmost importance in relation to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) and reducing threats from further outbreaks.

As you are aware, the Covid-19 outbreak, has caused considerable concern to Vietnamese citizens in regards to their health and considerable costs to the Vietnamese economy and public health to control this emerging threat. As with the outbreak of SARS in 2002, which claimed 5 Vietnamese lives, this novel coronavirus is thought to have been transmitted to humans from wildlife as a result of  close contact in a seafood market in Wuhan, China where illegal wildlife also was being sold. Peer-reviewed scientific publications have now demonstrated that the virus came originally from bats and has been passed via an intermediate wildlife host to humans. The species that acted as an intermediate host has not yet been identified for certain, although one research group in China has suggested it may be pangolins. Irrespective, it appears clear that transmission has occurred via close contact between humans and wildlife as part of ongoing illegal wildlife trade.

Looking back at recent history, several pandemics in the last twenty years showed clear links with virus reservoirs in wildlife populations. The SARS outbreak in 2002, which infected more than 8,000 people and resulted in 774 deaths in 37 countries, came from a novel betacoronavirus sourced from bats through masked palm civets as the intermediate host before reaching humans. The Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) outbreak in 2012, which infected 2,494 and cost 858 human lives, also came from another coronavirus passing though dromedary camels to humans[1].  The very recent bout of African Swine Fever (ASF) sweeping through China, Vietnam and nine other countries, has caused severe economic losses and is attributed to wild African suids[2]. By the end of  2019, all 63 provinces in Vietnam were affected by ASF with over five million pigs euthanized.

The ongoing Covid-19 outbreak will also certainly cause significant damage to Vietnam. An initial assessment by the Ministry of Investment and Planning showed that Vietnam’s GDP target will be 0.53% lower than expected if the outbreak is controlled within the first quarter of 2020 or 0.71% lower if the outbreak is controlled in the second quarter[3]. So far, the airline sector of Vietnam has been hard hit with about 10,000 billion Vietnam Dong lost due to flight cancelations during the outbreak[4].

The lesson from SARS and now Covid-19 are clear: new viruses will continue to move from wildlife to people while illegal wildlife trade and wildlife consumption continue. Research conducted in Vietnam and beyond has demonstrated that corona viruses exist in wildlife populations and the illegal wildlife trade provides opportunities for these viruses to jump from wildlife to people. Despite efforts to reform wildlife protection policy and increase enforcement, illegal wildlife trade and consumption in Vietnam is still problematic. In addition, in recent years, there are growing flows of illegal wildlife products from international markets going to and through Vietnam.

Limiting interaction between wildlife and humans through strong enforcement against illegal wildlife trade and wildlife markets is the most effective approach to mitigating future risk associated with transmission of disease between animals and humans. As the source of this particular outbreak, China has already made some major steps to mitigate future risk in relation to zoonotic disease outbreaks from contact between wildlife and humans by temporarily closing all wildlife markets. This is in recognition of the serious threat faced.

In order to ensure national safety, economic security and the health of the public and Vietnam’s precious ecosystems, we request the Vietnamese government to take strong and sustainable  actions to halt all illegal wildlife trade and consumption in Vietnam. This will require action to:

  • Identify and close markets and other locations illegal wildlife is on sale. These establishments explicitly violate many existing laws of Vietnam.
  • Identify restaurants illegally selling wild meat and enforce bans;
  • Have compulsory requirements for all e-commerce platforms, social media, and online newspapers to sensor and remove all transactions and advertising of illegal wildlife products;
  • Develop more stringent regulations to address risks relating to raising wildlife in captivity for trade and consumption;
  • Reform judicial procedures to ensure effective punishment of wildlife crimes to act as a significant disincentive;
  • Intensify awareness raising activities to inform the Vietnamese people of the risks of wildlife consumption to public security and to individual health; and
  • Ensure cross ministerial collaboration to enact the above points.

We note that the Vietnam Administration of Forestry (VNFOREST) has sent a directive to provincial authorities on controlling wildlife trade to prevent spread of coronaviruses on 6th Feb 2020, following the directive of the Prime Minister on preventing and combating the nCoV disease on 28th January 2020. While we support this effort of VNFOREST, it’s recommended that the government should take more concrete actions to eliminate reservoirs of future virus outbreaks as detailed above.

In addition to the public safety and economic rationale for such controls, these actions will help demonstrate Vietnam is a regional leader on the issue of combating illegal wildlife trade and biodiversity conservation.

We the undersigned stand ready to support the development and implementation of initiatives to reduce this threat to society.

Participating organizations

WWF-Vietnam,  GreenViet,  WCS Vietnam, FFI Vietnam, Education for Nature – Vietnam, Save Vietnam Wildlife, Wildlife at Risk, TRAFFIC Vietnam,  Animals Asia Foundation, PanNature

 Endorsed by:

1.      Center for Hands-on Actions and Networking for Growth and Environment (Change)
2.      Free the Bears
3.      Humane Society International- Vietnam
4.      Center for Nature Conservation and Development (CCD)

Here is Open Letter with with signatures


[1] Genomic characterisation and epidemiology of 2019 novel coronavirus: implications for virus origins and receptor binding. Lu, Roujian et al. The Lancet, 2020. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30251-8
[2] African Swine Fever. UN Food and Agriculture Organization, 2020. http://www.fao.org/ag/againfo/programmes/en/empres/ASF/index.html
 [3] D?ch virus corona tác ??ng th? nào ??n kinh t? Vi?t Nam? Source: https://news.zing.vn/dich-virus-corona-tac-dong-the-nao-den-kinh-te-viet-nam-post1043954.html
[4] Hàng không Vi?t Nam thi?t h?i l?n tr??c “c?n bão” nCoV. Souce: http://baochinhphu.vn/Kinh-te/Hang-khong-Viet-Nam-thiet-hai-lon-truoc-con-bao-nCoV/387320.vgp

Climate adaptation in focus on new project by ADDA and PanNature

Both are happy to be part of the local development activity again in Lai Chau province and to help influence and assist the farmers in the villages with their climate change initiatives Partners in the provinces of Son La and Lai Chau Local branches of the Vietnam Farmers Union (VNFU) in districts, municipalities and villages will be responsible for the many different activities together with ADDA’s main partner – PanNature. In this project, local farmers from the organization VNFU in Son La and Lai Chau Farmer Union will manage an implementation task, but they will also part of the target group. Their responsibilities are to plan and organize the many activities and make reporting. And in order to be able to solve these tasks, their competences in administrative work, member involvement, as well as agricultural knowledge about the climate’s effect on cultivation methods are strengthened.

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Civil Society Statement: Climate Bonds Initiative must abandon its misguided attempt to greenwash hydropower

Today, December 10th 2019, People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature) and 275 civil social organizations from around the world issued a statement calling for upon the Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI) to abandon the certification of destructive hydro-power projects as climate-friendly which negatively affect the environment and the community. Details or the statement is below:

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Knowledge fair highlights challenges and solutions to civil society engagement in forest governance in the Mekong region

To solve these issues, PanNature, which works on conserving Viet Nam’s natural resources, and other organizations in the Mekong work with journalists and civil society organizations to build networks and strengthen their communication capacities.

“We want to be a media bridge between journalists, scientists, policy makers and policy analysts,” said Bich Ngoc. “We are supporting a core group of journalists who are interested in the topic of forest governance.”

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Save the Mekong Coalition Calls for the Cancelation of the Luang Prabang Dam

Save the Mekong Coalition Calls for the Cancelation of the Luang Prabang Dam The Mekong is facing a crisis. Climate change and large-scale dams on the Mekong mainstream and tributaries are making Mekong’s flows and levels more unpredictable. From record lows in June and July to major flooding in parts of the basin in August and September, hydropower dams have exacerbated the impacts on the river and people. Large-scale dams, especially those planned for the Mekong mainstream, are a significant cause of – not the answer to – the Mekong crisis.

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Laos to go ahead with Luang Prabang dam project despite warnings

Trinh Le Nguyen, head of Vietnam’s People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature), said at this point he expects all proposed dams to be built, regardless of their environmental effect.

“It’s like domino effect now,” he said, noting that more than enough evidence of environmental damage has been presented.

“I am afraid another consultation is just a waste of time for everyone, considering lessons from previous four,” Nguyen said.

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Invasive Alien Plant Species in Vietnam: A case study of Solanum viarum in Hang Kia – Pà Cò

“I want to thank the local NGO, PanNature, who took me in during the study, helped me get a research permit as well as helped me a great deal before my
arrival to the field. I specifically want to thank the director of PanNature, Mr. Nguyen Trinh Le, who decided to invite me to Vietnam and Mr. Nguyen Duc To Luu, who helped me plan my research and carry out experiments in the field. Mr. Thang and Mr. Liem, the two field officers who lived at the field office in Vân H?, helped me narrow down my study area, introduced me to the rangers and government officials in Hang Kia – Pà Cò nature reserve and helped me build the setup for my germination experiment. In addition to practical help, they also cooked for me several times a day, took me around the area for different events and dinners and became my friends during my three month stay in Vân H?. I am forever grateful for their hospitality and warm personalities, which made me feel at home, so far from home.” –  Luna wrote in Acknowledgments of the thesis.

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Experts discuss ways to protect tigers

Experts discussed Vi?t Nam’s efforts to protect tigers and other endangered animals at a forum yesterday.

The forum was held in Hà N?i by the PanNature and the Wildlife Conservation Society Vietnam in response to International Tiger Day (July 29).

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Seminar: The Fate of Tigers and the Status of Endangered Species Conservation in Vietnam

On the occasion of International Tiger Conservation Day (29/7), People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature) in cooperation with WCS organized the seminar “The Fate of Tigers and the Status of Endangered Species Conservation in Vietnam” in order to review and discuss on-going wildlife conservation efforts in Vietnam and to identify constraints, challenges, prospects and opportunities for the future.

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People and Nature Reconciliation | Office: 24 H2, Khu do thi moi Yen Hoa
Yen Hoa quarter, Cau Giay district, Hanoi, Vietnam
Phone: ++8424 3556-4001 | Fax: ++8424 3556-8941 | Email: contact@nature.org.vn