The Hanoi conference on illegal wildlife trade took place on 17 and 18 November 2016, bringing together leaders from across the world to secure international political commitment to action on tackling the illegal wildlife trade (IWT). The Hanoi conference was the third global conference on IWT, following the London conference in 2014 and Kasane conference in 2015. I was delighted to attend the conference on behalf of the UK, alongside His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge. The conference was successful, with 42 countries and the EU adopting the Hanoi statement by consensus and 23 countries, the EU and six international organisations pledging new and specific actions in the statement annex to deliver on their commitments from London and Kasane.
The UK played a key role in supporting Vietnam as chair and host, including direct financial support and seconding staff to the conference secretariat. Our contribution and leadership were widely recognised and commended by international partners. At the conference, I was able to announce an additional £13 million in UK funding for IWT and a number of new initiatives, including expanded British military training for African park rangers; a project with China to deliver joint training to African border forces; additional funding for Interpol to expand its work with key nations, tracking and intercepting illegal shipments of ivory, rhino horn and other illegal wildlife products; and up to £4 million for the International Consortium for Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC).
Finally I was also pleased to announce that the UK will host a fourth high-level meeting on IWT in 2018, to ensure that this urgent global issue stays at the top of the political agenda and that we continue to deliver on our manifesto commitment to lead the world in tackling IWT.
The UK was able to lead further progress in the margins of the conference. I hosted a meeting of ASEAN heads of delegation, attended by the Duke of Cambridge, where I pressed for enhanced collaboration in this critical region, particularly on enforcement. The Philippines, chair of ASEAN in 2017, agreed that IWT would feature on the agenda.
In my meetings with Vietnamese Ministers, I welcomed recent positive steps taken by Vietnam to tackle IWT, and encouraged them to intensify further demand reduction and law enforcement efforts, including in respect of specific cases recently highlighted by NGOs and the media. I made clear the UK’s commitment to ongoing practical co-operation between our two countries on these issues.
That so many countries and organisations came together once more in Hanoi to agree further action on IWT is a positive signal of ongoing political attention and also a consensus on the importance and urgency of the issue. We will remain focused on driving forward this momentum and ensuring the commitments made in Hanoi are delivered in the lead up to the next event in London 2018.