Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV) was established in 2000 as Vietnam’s first non-governmental organization focused on wildlife conservation. ENV has spearheaded efforts to end Vietnam’s illegal wildlife trade by employing out-of-the-box strategies that strengthen wildlife protection legislation and its application, provide support to law enforcement in addressing wildlife crime, and engage the public to reduce consumer demand and mobilize public action to protect wildlife. ENV is committed to securing a better future for wildlife, both in Vietnam and globally.
Since 2007, ENV has focused its activities in three major program areas that comprise ENV’s strategic and integrated approach to combatting illegal wildlife trafficking in Vietnam.
- Working with policy-makers to strengthen legislation, close loopholes in the law, and promote effective application of laws and policy that protect wildlife.
- Strengthening law enforcement response to wildlife crime through direct support and assistance to law enforcement agencies in combatting wildlife crime.
- Reducing consumer demand for wildlife products through investment in a long-term and sustained effort to influence public attitudes and behavior, including mobilizing public participation and action protecting wildlife by reporting wildlife crime.
The net effect of ENV’s strategy thus far has been:
- Stronger legislation and policies enacted by government directly as a result of ENV inputs
- Improved responsiveness of enforcement agencies addressing wildlife crime
- Major impacts on trafficking networks resulting from investigations, arrests, prosecutions, and prison sentences given to traffickers targeted by ENV
- Increased public engagement in reporting crimes
- Reduced consumer demand for wildlife [based on indicators]
In the 1990s, after decades of war and isolation, environmental awareness was still a very new concept in Vietnam. However, a small group of passionate, young Vietnamese people recognized a great need for sustainable, long-term, locally-led environmental education across the country. With this goal, Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV) was established in 2000.
The idea to create a local NGO focused on the conservation of nature and the environment was born from ENV’s Founder and current Executive Director, Vu Thi Quyen. At the time, she was working for the Cuc Phuong Conservation Project (CPCP) under Fauna & Flora International, delivering Vietnam’s first sustained community based environmental awareness program in the buffer zone of Cuc Phuong National Park.
Recognizing the need to develop and expand a sustainable Vietnamese-led initiative to train educators and protected area staff beyond the life of the FFI project, Quyen came upon the idea of establishing her own organization. And thus, ENV was born.
In the early days, ENV continued the CPCP work of training environmental educators, focusing a majority of its efforts on developing programs at national parks and nature reserves.
However at the same time, Vietnam’s economy was rapidly developing, and this new prosperity also brought increased demand for exotic wildlife dishes and traditional medicines that were formerly beyond the reach of most ordinary citizens. In 2004, in response to rising consumer demand, ENV began shifting its approach towards tackling the difficult issue of the illegal wildlife trade on a national scale.