Date: April 23, 2019
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior, David Bernhardt signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with General Tô Lâm, Minister of Public Security in Vietnam, to enhance and strengthen cooperation between the countries to combat wildlife trafficking. Wildlife trafficking is a multi-billion dollar illegal business that threatens our global biodiversity and is directly tied to transnational organized crime, making it a serious national security risk to the United States and our partners around the world.
The United States has partnered with Vietnam on efforts to combat wildlife trafficking for many years, and this new MOU will allow for stronger law enforcement collaboration between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) Office of Law Enforcement and Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security. Through the MOU, the Service and the Ministry will collaborate through information sharing, exchange of best practices, and strengthening bilateral investigations into wildlife trafficking crimes.
“Wildlife trafficking is a global problem that demands strong partnerships, and we are working to make that a reality,” said Secretary Bernhardt. “Today’s landmark occasion enhances our bilateral relationship with Vietnam, which will provide both of our nations the tools and shared insights that are critical to combating wildlife trafficking."
The Service has been working with the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi since 2015 to develop this MOU. Vietnam is a critical location for wildlife trafficking investigations and has demonstrated a willingness to collaborate with the U.S. Government and other organizations in the fight against wildlife trafficking.
Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security is responsible for managing Vietnam’s police and public security forces, which play a key role in wildlife law enforcement. Increasing coordination and cooperation on law enforcement with the Ministry is a cornerstone of our efforts to combat wildlife trafficking across the globe.
In addition to securing this MOU, the Service’s Office of Law Enforcement is hoping to place a law enforcement attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam, as well as additional targeted locations around the world.