This report provides a reference guide of initiatives to counter wildlife trafficking in Cambodia, China, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam, and was contracted by International Resources Group (IRG), now owned by RTI International, on behalf of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Wildlife Asia Activity.  This report was compiled during a three-month period between February and May 2017 on a part-time basis as per a consultancy contract with IRG.[1] 

The author conducted desk-based research, followed by telephone/ skype interviews with international governmental organizations (IGOs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) who were invited to the USAID Wildlife Asia Innovations conference from March 14-15, 2017 in Bangkok, Thailand.  The author also participated in the conference and conducted additional meetings with organizations in attendance.  Following the conference, the author provided structured interview notes and other information gathered on the selected organizations to representatives of each organization individually to request their comments and feedback.  This was done to ensure that information contained in this report was verified or edited by the organizations concerned, and prior to sharing with any other organization.  Following consensus that the findings of this report would be made available to all participating organizations, and that the initiatives reference guide would be regularly updated by participating organizations in a secure online manner, the author decided that information contained in this report would represent input solely from the organizations themselves without any commentary as to the effectiveness of their initiatives and activities.  As such, the author has relied entirely on the participating organizations to provide accurate information for this report.  The author notes that some organizations provided value-based or subjective language to describe the achievements of their projects, or draw conclusions linking their activities with positive results, with which the author does not necessarily concur.

The author requested that the selected organizations submit one concise paragraph per initiative for each of the countries of interest to the USAID Wildlife Asia Activity – Cambodia, China, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam.  Initiatives were categorized by law enforcement support at a landscape level (such as in a protected area or nature preserve); law enforcement support at a national level; political commitment building; private sector commitment building; and consumer demand reduction.  The author notes that the USAID Wildlife Asia Activity uses the terminology “commitment building”, and the author determined that this could be primarily political commitment by host nations, though in other instances it could be commitment by donor or other nations, as well as private sector commitment building.  The author also found it most effective to replicate information within each of the country sections for initiatives that may have a more regional approach.  This was due to the need to provide concise and manageable information within each country section to facilitate accessibility to the reader, who may not wish to review the document in its entirety.  Where projects are primarily regional in scope, or where information is referenced more than once, the author has endeavored to make this clear to the reader.

As of May 9, 2017, the report contains submissions by the following seventeen organizations: Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV); Environmental Investigation Agency, UK (EIA); Freeland; Humane Society International (HSI); International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW); International Criminal Police Organization  (INTERPOL); Panthera; TRAFFIC; United for Wildlife (UfW); United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment); United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC); United States Agency for International Development Wildlife Asia Activity; WildAid; Wildlife Conservations Society (WCS); World Customs Organization (WCO); and the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF).  The submissions of TRAFFIC and WCS covered the activities of the USAID Saving Species project in Vietnam as these two organizations are implementing partners for this project.

In addition, attempts were made to contact several relevant organizations but replies were not received by the author, or they declined to follow up with the author concerning their activities.  These organizations were the Asian Development Bank; Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Secretariat; TRACE, the Wildlife Forensic Network; and Wildlife Alliance.  Other organizations were interviewed by the author but they were not deemed to be directly involved in implementing projects in the five target countries.

All organizations provided with draft descriptions of their own initiatives to combat wildlife trafficking, and requested to provide feedback on this for the final report, were informed that the report would be shared by USAID with all participating organizations, and that the intent was to do so through a secure online format.  This would enable each organization to update its activities regularly, and to view those of other IGOs and NGOs.  Later versions of this reference guide will seek to include additional organizations whose initiatives are relevant to the countries and activity categories listed above.

[1] Consultancy provided by Christian Dietrich.