In a revolutionary initiative, 20 of the most prominent conservation organizations worldwide have united as the Wildlife Conservation 20 (WC20), requesting immediate action from world leaders to implement rehabilitation of our natural world into COVID-19 recovery plans. As the G20 convened for their annual summit this weekend, they were met with an unprecedented call to protect biodiversity, which is perhaps the most important component of government response to COVID-19 that will significantly reduce the risk of future pandemics.
Included in the WC20 Declaration are actions such as strengthening legislation and implementing new legislation, enhancing financial and technical support of law enforcement in key wildlife trafficking nations, and raising public awareness to reduce demand and trafficking of wildlife. It is estimated that $700 billion a year invested in these efforts would reverse the decline in biodiversity by 2030, a mere fraction of the estimated $26 trillion in economic damage already caused by COVID-19.
As a pioneering Vietnamese NGO on the front line, Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV) is proud to be part of this important initiative. ENV plays a major role in combating the billion-dollar illegal wildlife trade by addressing the consumption and trade of wildlife in Vietnam, a dominant hub of wildlife trafficking and demand. Currently, ENV carries out programs targeting all of the above-mentioned WC20 priorities.
“Today, the entire world struggles to contain and ultimately bring an end to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Sadly, this is not the first deadly zoonotic disease and almost certainly will not be the last,” says Vu Thi Quyen, Executive Director and Founder of Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV). “We strongly urge G20 leaders to take active measures to aggressively and proactively address high-risk areas associated with zoonotic diseases originating from wildlife, and in doing so, prevent and eliminate the next virus before it has an opportunity to become yet another global pandemic.”