The Lao PDR has recently been receiving a lot of attention by the international community with regard to the issue of illegal wildlife trade. The Lao PDR has been identified by many observers as a transit country for the illegal trade of wildlife products coming from Africa and ultimately destined for China and Vietnam. Recent reports have also identified that the Lao PDR is becoming a consuming country for items such as ivory, rhinoceros horns and tiger products, predominantly purchased by tourists coming from neighboring Thailand, China and Vietnam. Most recently, in July 2016, the CITES secretariat made a visit to the Lao PDR and subsequently published a report highlighting the most urgent actions to be taken by the Lao PDR to comply with its international obligations under CITES.
At the CITES COP 17 in Johannesburg, September 2016, the Lao PDR announced its intention to discuss ways of phasing out its tiger and bear farms. This announcement was very much welcomed by all conservation parties, including WWF. This activity comes in direct support of this dynamic approach led by the Government of Laos and seeks to support the Government’s initiatives to stop illegal wildlife trade in the country.
The overall goal of the Activity is to support the Government of Laos to address illegal wildlife trade in key markets and trade hubs in the country. The Activity also aims to support awareness and information-sharing, strengthen law enforcement, and enhance international cooperation for key government agencies in Lao PDR
This activity is also to provide support for Lao PDR Government agencies, through the Department of Forest Inspection (DoFI) as lead agency of Lao-WEN, to participate in relevant regional and international meetings on illegal wildlife trade.