With Lao PDR’s strategic geographical location between Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam and China, the country has been seen as a transit and distributing hub for the illegal wildlife trade of species sourced in Lao PDR and from other countries. Endangered species – or their parts and products – including pangolins, tigers, rhinos, elephants, bears, turtles and tortoises, among others, have been reported as being illegally traded domestically and trafficked internationally.
Cooperative Action to Stop Illegal Wildlife Trade
In partnership with the Government of Lao PDR, WCS is implementing the Cooperative Action to Stop Illegal Wildlife Trade (CoAction) program to combat wildlife trafficking by increasing effectiveness of law enforcement responses in Lao PDR to stop illegal wildlife trade occurring both within and across borders.
The CoAction program in the capital city of Vientiane and major wildlife trade and trafficking routes contributes to Outcome 3 of the country's 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan 2016-2020 – specifically Output 3.1 Environmental Protection and Sustainable Natural Resources Management to ensure sustainable use, management, protection and conservation of natural resources to support long-term economic development.
The goal of the program is increased effectiveness of the law enforcement responses in Lao PDR to stop illegal wildlife trade occurring both within and across borders.
Co-Action goals will be accomplished by:
- Enhancing the capacity of the Department of Forest Inspection and other relevant enforcement agencies in Lao PDR in responding to illegal wildlife trade through capacity-building activities, legal and policy development, and technical support and assistance;
- Generating information to assist law enforcement agencies in undertaking strategic and targeted law enforcement and outreach interventions;
- Increasing constituency awareness on wildlife trade related issues and reducing supply and demand for illegal wildlife products;
- Strengthening domestic and international collaboration;
- Fostering political commitment to address illegal wildlife trade and assist in compliance with international obligations such as CITES.
Above: Illegal wildlife products confiscated by Lao law enforcement officials.