The WJC Public Hearing reconvened today at the Peace Palace in The Hague.
Participants first heard “a story from the field,” with Lawrence Munro, field operation manager of African Parks, sharing his experiences with what he called the “rhino war” in Kruger National Park, South Africa. He explained how, with 800 rhinos killed in the park each year, the field is an area of continuous conflict and violence, which is taking its toll on rangers and their families.
Participants then engaged in a discussion involving NGOs, IGOs and academic experts on various options to address illegal wildlife trade. Issues discussed included demand reduction, involving local communities, and innovative strategies to tackle the entire trade network. Speakers highlighted the need to enhance law enforcement through increased international collaboration and capacity building, including to combat corruption.
During a public discussion, participants addressed, among many other things: engagement with existing online action networks; tourism as a mechanism to effectuate change; diplomatic dialogue; ways to change mindsets throughout the trade chain; and future priorities for the WJC.
After some time of deliberation, the Accountability Panel presented its findings. Justice Philippe Kirsch, Former President of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, said the Panel had unanimously concluded that the WJC Public Hearing constituted a “fair and neutral description of the facts.” Edgardo Buscaglia, Senior Scholar in Law and Economics at Columbia University, then presented several recommendations addressed to the Vietnamese government, international legal frameworks, civil society organizations and other stakeholders.
In closing the meeting, WJC Executive Director Olivia Swaak-Goldman said these recommendations are not the end of the process, noting there is still a long way to go to support the Vietnamese government to take the appropriate law enforcement action. She announced the WJC will continue its work to stimulate the international community to offer such support, and closed the meeting at 5:00 pm.
IISD Reporting Services, through its ENB+ Meeting Coverage, has provided digital coverage and a summary report from the WJC Public Hearing: Viet Nam Investigation, which is available in HTML and PDF.
Photos by IISD/ENB | Angeles Estrada Vigil
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