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EPF Extends Support to Combat Illegal Hunting and Trading of Wildlife

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The Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) has budgeted over US$ 1 million for two projects aiming to support the combat of illegal hunting and trading of wildlife in the country.

The agreement was officially signed in Vientiane on Monday between the President of the EPF, Mr. Khampadith Khammounheaung as well as EPF representatives from the two projects.

At the signing ceremony was acting Director General of the Customs Department under the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Bounpaseuth Sikounlabout.

The project known as Timber and Non-timber Forest Product (NTFP) Trade and Law Enforcement will receive US$568,862 (over 48 billion kip) and will run for four years from 2016 until 2020 focusing again on the combat of illegal hunting and trading of wildlife.

Recently there have been a number of laws related to the protection of wildlife enacted by the government but much more needs to be done when it comes to law enforcement, officials reported.

The second project known as Customs Capacity Building on Combating Illegal Wildlife will receive about US$600,000 (around 48 billion kip) and will run for four years as well, from 2016 to 2020 and will focuse on building capacity around combating the illegal wildlife trade in the customs sector of the country.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, President of the EPF, Mr. Khampadith Khammounheaung said that these projects aim to improve and promote environmental protection by providing relevant data and information, raising public awareness and providing education to citizens so that they see the importance of the environment in their daily lives.

This includes the encouragement and supporting the strict implementation of policies, laws, and regulations on the environment.

Mr. Khampadith said the projects have put in place stronger measures to combat the illegal hunting and trading of wildlife while returning greenery to the nation and have enacted a number of laws relating to the protection of wildlife but that much more will need to be done.

The Director General of Combating Natural Resource and Environment Crime under the Ministry Public Security, Pol. Lt. Col Khamfaeng Vangdeexay says the projects for several years have been using laws of stronger measures to combat illegal hunting and trading of wildlife in the country.

He said that despite concerted efforts by officials to prevent the illegal trade in wildlife, the trade in provinces around the country is still flourishing unchecked because authorities still lack the budgets to be effective.

The projec ts play an important role in strengthening environmental protection and sustainable natural resource management including the clampdown on the illegal trade here, Pol. Lt. Col Khamfaeng said.

According to the EPF, the fund was established in 2005 as a financially autonomous organisation to strengthen environmental protection, build sustainable natural resources management, biodiversity conservation and community development in the Lao PDR.

Source: Vientiane Times

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