The event was the first wildlife protection awards ceremony held in Vietnam, and was a special occasion to step back and look at the progress of biodiversity conservation in Vietnam.
On any given day, the situation in Vietnam can look rather bleak for wildlife. However, as ENV’s Executive Director and Founder Vu Thi Quyen said, we can conclude without question that we are steadily moving in the right direction toward a better future for Vietnam’s wildlife.
She is pictured above being interviewed by a television news crew. In total, journalists from 14 newspapers and eight television and radio stations attended the event.
The evening was directed by ENV’s Volunteer Coordinator Ms Ninh Phuong Thao as the Master of Ceremonies and interpreter Mr Nguyen Ninh Bac.
“Many individuals and organizations have made great contributions to biodiversity conservation in recent years. We are here today to recognize this, and to honor three outstanding law enforcement officers and two journalists who are making a difference on the frontlines in this battle to protect wildlife. It’s our hope that their contributions will inspire others to join this fight, and that along with the many others who are quietly working to protect wildlife; we will see the beginning of a transformation in society towards a secure future for our country’s rich biodiversity.”
An excerpt from the opening address of ENV’s Executive Director and Founder Ms Vu Thi Quyen.
“To bring an end to the illegal and unsustainable hunting and trade and consumption of endangered species, there has been a strong collaboration between legal institutions, law enforcement agencies, and the media. Moreover, the public also plays a very important role in protecting endangered wildlife and the country’s biodiversity.
During these tough battles, there have been many individuals who have had a strong commitment and contribution to wildlife protection. These great initiatives should be recognized and honored. For this reason, I believe the Outstanding Services in Wildlife Protection Awards is a very meaningful event.”
An excerpt from guest of honor Mr. Nguyen The Dong’s speech. He is the Deputy Director General of the Vietnam Environment Administration (VEA) Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
“Protecting wildlife goes beyond just protecting our planet’s natural beauty. Wildlife trafficking has serious implications for the security and prosperity of people around the world.
Several conservation groups are here with us today, and I greatly appreciate their invaluable work. But the truth is they cannot solve this problem alone. None of us can. This is a global challenge that spans continents and crosses oceans. We need to address it with partnerships that are as robust and far-reaching as the criminal networks we seek to dismantle.”
From the speech delivered by Mr Taylor Tinney, Environment, Science, Technology, and Health Officer with the U.S. Embassy, on behalf of the Deputy Chief of Mission Ms. Claire Pierangelo, who was unable to attend the event.
The judging panel comprised representatives from the US Embassy in Vietnam and local and international conservation organizations, including ENV, IUCN Vietnam, PanNature, TRAFFIC and Wildlife Conservation Society Vietnam. From more than 60 nominations, they selected three outstanding law enforcement officers and two outstanding journalists for the awards.Representatives from these partner prganizations announced and presented the awards to the winners during the evening.
Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer award was presented to Mr. Nguyen Van Duong, Deputy Head of Environmental Crime Division of Quang Ninh Police.
He received the award in recognition of his strong determination, and a long list of successful wildlife confiscations and arrests. During his career, he and his team have stopped literally tons of wildlife from being transported from Vietnam to China, most of them major cases involving endangered species such as tigers, bears and pangolins.
Mr. Nguyen The Dong, Deputy Director General of Vietnam Environment Administration (VEA), Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, presented this award.
Mr. Hoang Hai Van, journalist with Thanh Nien newspaper, received an Outstanding Journalist award.
He received the award for his long-running commitment to raising public awareness of environmental and wildlife protection issues. Mr. Van has produced countless articles over more than 20 years, raising public awareness of issues relating to traditional medicine made from wildlife, which have been invaluable for promoting a positive change in public attitudes and behavior.
Mr Steve Galster, Director of Freeland, presented the award.
Mr Nguyen Duy Tuan, journalist with VietnamNet online newspaper, received the Outstanding Journalist award.
He received the award in recognition of his fortitude and bravery for spending almost two years undertaking a dangerous undercover investigation to expose the tiger farming and trade problems in Vietnam. Mr. Tuan produced a series of seven investigative reports in 2012 on a new tiger farming trend that were so shocking they forced authorities to take immediate action in investigations, arrests and tiger seizures.
Mr Alex Zvinakis, Program Development Officer for USAID, presented the award.
Mr. Trần Thanh Bình, Head of the Lam Dong Forest Protection Department, received the award for Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer.
He received the award in recognition of his deep passion and commitment to wildlife conservation, and hands-on leadership, which make him an inspiring role model for all of his staff. One of Mr. Binh’s biggest recent achievements has been a three-year crackdown on wildlife retailers in Lam Dong province, which has resulted in a significant reduction in the illegal sale of protected wildlife.
Swiss Ambassador Mr Andrej Motyl presented the award.
Mr. Lam Hieu Nghia was awarded an Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer award. He was unable to be present at the event, so his sister Ms. Lam My Dung collected the award on his behalf.
Mr Nghia is the Team Leader of Team Two, in the Environmental Police Division of Ho Chi Minh City Police. He received the award for his consistent hard work, commitment and positive response to working with the public to address wildlife crime. During the past year alone, he was involved in the successful detection of more than 20 cases of wildlife crime, involving ivory, tigers, marine turtles, civets, gibbons, macaques, otters, lorises, and many more species.
Ms. Vu Thi Quyen, ENV’s Executive Director and Founder, presented the award.
The ceremony was held at the Hilton Hanoi Opera hotel. The included a cocktail reception and the opportunity for guests to mingle.
The ceremony had a good turn out of representatives from government agencies, institutions, and the National Assembly. Pictured here is Mr. Duong Trung Quoc (center), well known in Vietnam as an editor, journalist, researcher, and National Assembly member; and guest of honor Mr. Nguyen The Dong (right), the Deputy Director General of Vietnam Environment Administration under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. They’re speaking with Mr. Tran Viet Hung, ENV’s Vice-Director (left).