Press Releases | WWF

Press Releases

WWF Statement on Government of Laos Decision to Review Hydropower Projects

Vientiane, August 9, 2018 -- WWF welcomes the decision of the Government of Laos “to suspend the consideration of new investments in hydropower projects in order to review its hydropower development strategy and plans” following the July 23 dam disaster that claimed at least 34 lives.
 
This is the right decision.

 
We respectfully suggest that the assessment should include both the technical engineering expertise and governance framework to ensure that existing, under construction and planned projects can be built and operated in a safe and sustainable manner. This includes assessing the impact of large dams on river stability, fisheries, sediment and economic sectors dependent on river resources.
 
We also urge the Government of Laos to take this opportunity to reassess the financial rationale for these dams in the light of plunging costs of solar, wind and storage. This is a perfect chance to assess alternative and less risky energy generation options other than hydropower that can generate revenue and protect natural resources such as fisheries.
 
The review should be a meaningful and independent assessment and projects that do not comply should be suspended, reconsidered or cancelled. Any gaps in governance discovered during this review should be addressed independently and operations should not be resumed until all necessary conditions, capacities and resources are in place and well monitored by competent and independent bodies.
 
WWF stands ready to work with the Government of Laos on assessing the value of natural resources, the alternative power generation options and river basin wide planning.
 
###

For more information, please contact:
Bounpone Sookmexay, WWF-Laos Communication Officer,
+856 2078008033
bounpone.sookmexay@wwfgreatermekong.org
 
About WWF-Laos
 
WWF-Laos is the local office of the WWF International Network, the world’s largest and most experienced independent conservation organisation. It has more than 5 million supporters and offices active in over 100 countries.
 
Our mission is to support in reducing the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. To do this, WWF works with a broad spectrum of partners including governments, industry, and local communities to find solutions to the challenges that face our natural world.
 
Our Laos programme officially began in 1997 with the head quarter office established in 2001 and since then our work has focused on research, advocacy and building partnerships aimed at protecting Laos’ most precious habitats and species, building local and national capacity to conserve them, and improving the livelihoods of the communities who depend on them most. You can read more about WWF-Laos' diverse work here.
 
 
	© Nicolas Axelrod / Ruom / WWF-Greater Mekong
Fishing along the Mekong River in Laos. Planned and under construction dams along the Mekong will reduce fish catches and sediment while destabilizing the river
© Nicolas Axelrod / Ruom / WWF-Greater Mekong

Laos Closes Down Illegal Wildlife Trade Shops at Don Sao Market in the Golden Triangle

Vientiane, Aug 1, 2018 -- Laos Government law enforcement officers have shut down illegal wildlife trade in four shops at Don Sao Market in the notorious Golden Triangle, confiscating almost 400 items during surprise raids on July 27. The illegal items, consisting of 9 different types such as bracelets, necklaces, horns, teeth, bracelets, pendants and bangles --many from endangered species -- were taken for identification and the Chinese shop owners were ordered to no longer sell illegal wildlife items or reproductions of wildlife parts. 

 

The two hour-long seizure by the Provincial Wildlife Law Enforcement Network (P-WEN) of Bokeo Province and Department of Forest Inspection (DoFI) took place at four Chinese owned shops inside the Special Economic Zone. This area is well known as a hub of illegal wildlife trade and occurs inside the Golden Triangle, where Laos, Myanmar and Thailand intersect and many markets sell endangered species and their parts such as tigers, elephants, pangolin and bears. The trade takes place in shops, markets, restaurants and casinos. 

 

P-WEN enforcement officers from the Provincial Office Forest Inspection (PoFI) Department, Police, Army, Courts, Customs and Public Prosecution conducted the raids using four teams of seven people each. Analysis of the 393 items will determine if they are from endangered species or if they are fakes. They will be securely kept at the PoFI in Bokeo Province until a decision from Provincial Governor and DoFI.  

 

The P-WEN ordered the shop owners to sign warning letters that they were notified of their illegal actions and acknowledging that they can no longer sell or display wildlife items at their shops. They were also informed of the recent Lao Prime Minister Order 05 on Strengthening Strictness of the Management and Inspection of Prohibited Wild Fauna and Flora. This Order increases enforcement and penalties against illegal wildlife trade and is significant development in Laos’ efforts against this multi-national, multi-million dollar trade that is linked to organized crime. 

 

“WWF is proud to support in implementing this PM Order and taking action against the illegal sale and purchase of wildlife products in Don Sao Market,” said Somphone Bouasavanh, Country Director, WWF-Laos. “This action sends a signal, not only in Bokeo Province, but throughout the Golden Triangle and Laos, that the Government is serious about enforcing the laws that protect species such as tigers, elephants, rhinos and bears.” 

 

“We hope that by closing down illegal sales of wildlife products in these four shops we have sent a strong message that the Government of Laos will no longer tolerate the sale and consumption of wildlife species,” said Lattana Yangnouvong, Head of PoFI, Bokeo province. “We need to do work together across Bokeo Province and throughout Laos to show that we are serious about implementing the Prime Minister Order Number 05 and ending this illegal trade that is robbing the world of its wildlife.”

 

Many of the seized items will be sent to CITES Scientific Authority for identification and certification to determined if they are from endangered species. The rest will be securely kept by PoFI of Bokeo Province until further notice from the CITES Scientific Authority. CITES is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora – the global treaty that regulates trade in endangered species. Laos PDR is a signatory to CITES. 

 

WWF currently supports an anti-wildlife crime programme in the Greater Mekong Region, including in the Lao PDR, where wildlife poaching and illegal wildlife trade markets have caused serious declines in endangered species populations. The overall objective of this WWF-Singapore funded programme is to effectively reduce demand for illegal wildlife products, as well as to improve ranger capacity and support wildlife law enforcement activities and capacity building for the Department of Forest Inspection and its provincial offices. Expected by the end of this year, WWF-Laos with an agreement of the Lao government will extend the project area to two new provinces and one of these is Bokeo province. 

 

###

Notes to Editors:

For more information, please contact:

 

Bounpone Sookmexay, WWF-Laos Communication Officer,

+856 2078008033

bounpone.sookmexay@wwfgreatermekong.org

 

Photo: 

 

  • All photos shared here taken at Don Sao Market on 27 Jul 2018 during the confiscation and some of them were at the PoFi of Bokeo during the identification and the seizure items counting/recording. 
  • Photo credit: © WWF-Laos

 

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1NgqcXxazK9HS4mtZ-lYIaHJPSXGchQvS

 

 

About WWF-Laos

 

WWF-Laos is the local office of the WWF International Network, the world’s largest and most experienced independent conservation organization. It has more than 5 million supporters and offices active in over 100 countries.
 
Our mission is to support in reducing the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. To do this, WWF works with a broad spectrum of partners including governments, industry, and local communities to find solutions to the challenges that face our natural world.
 
Our Laos programme officially began in 1997 with the headquarter office established in 2001 and since then our work has focused on research, advocacy and building partnerships aimed at protecting Laos’ most precious habitats and species, building local and national capacity to conserve them, and improving the livelihoods of the communities who depend on them most. You can read more about WWF-Laos' diverse work here.

 
	© WWF-Laos
P-WEN Authorities Close Down Illegal Wildlife Trade Shops at Don Sao Market in the Golden Triangle
© WWF-Laos
 
	© WWF-Laos
P-WEN Authorities Close Down Illegal Wildlife Trade Shops at Don Sao Market in the Golden Triangle
© WWF-Laos
 
	© WWF-Laos
The P-WEN confiscated almost 400 items during the surprise raids at four shops at Don Sao
© WWF-Laos
 
	© WWF-Laos
The seizure items including the fake and reproduced products of ivory
© WWF-Laos
 
	© WWF-Laos
P-WEN Authorities Close Down Illegal Wildlife Trade Shops at Don Sao Market in the Golden Triangle
© WWF-Laos

Lao Prime Minister’s Order Gives New Hope for Wildlife

 

Vientiane, Laos, 31 May 2018 -- The new Order by Laos’ Prime Minister on the management and inspection of prohibited wild fauna and flora is a significant step forward in the fight against illegal wildlife trade, tiger and bear farms, poaching and transnational trade in endangered species, WWF said today. If it is strictly enforced, the Order could help Laos become a regional leader on combatting this multi-billion dollar trade that threatens the extinction of species like tigers, elephants, pangolin and bears. 

 

Prime Minister’s Order No. 05 was issued on May 8th, 2018 and directs Ministers, Heads of Ministry-Equivalent Organisations, the Vientiane Capital Governor and Provincial Governors across the Lao PDR to take strict action on wildlife law enforcement, compliance with national laws on the management and inspection of wildlife trade, and commitments to international laws.

 

"WWF-Laos applauds this move by the Lao Government to seriously address the illegal wildlife trade that threatens some of the world’s most iconic endangered species such as tigers, elephants, bears and pangolin,” said Somphone Bouasavanh, WWF-Laos Country Director. "This is a great moment for the Lao PDR to show regional leadership in the fight against illegal international wildlife crime and also to keep Lao wildlife safe. If it is strictly enforced, this could mark a turning point for wildlife conservation and WWF stands ready to provide technical assistance to the Government of the Lao PDR."  

 

Specifically, the order instructs authorities to stop the hunting of all wild animals and the import, transit, export and trade of all wildlife body parts. It stops the establishment of wildlife farms and recommends turning existing farms into safari or zoos for conservation, tourism or scientific purposes. 

 

In addition, the order instructs the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to work with other Ministries to register wildlife and wildlife products owned by individuals and organizations. Ivory, bones and rhino horns, fake or real, should be inspected, seized and destroyed. Hunting weapons used in poaching should be collected and destroyed. 

 

The order further instructs officials to “strictly inspect and patrol along vulnerable areas, points of arrival and departure, special economic zones and other areas” Violators found trading or transporting prohibited wildlife are to be investigated and prosecuted. In addition, the Order requires agencies to crack down on the import of wildlife at international checkpoints and borders.

 

Ministries are to proceed with the inspection, listing and stopping all business entities trading in wildlife parts “including bones, skins, horns, ivory, rhino horns, gallbladders, teeth, claws and other parts, and products and souvenirs that are made from animal parts at markets, hotels, special economic zones, tourist sites, airports, international checkpoints and other locations.” 

 

WWF currently supports an anti-wildlife crime programme in the Greater Mekong Region, including in the Lao PDR, where wildlife poaching and illegal wildlife trade markets have caused serious declines in endangered species populations. The overall objective of this programme is to effectively reduce demand for illegal wildlife products, as well as to improve ranger capacity and support wildlife law enforcement activities and capacity building for the Department of Forest Inspection and its provincial offices. 

 

“Strict enforcement of this Order will have an incredibly positive impact on the wildlife of Laos and beyond, and make a bold statement that the Lao PDR is taking the threat of illegal wildlife trade seriously,” added Mr. Bouasavanh. “WWF-Laos stands ready to support our Government to make it happen.”

 
##########
 

For more information, please contact:

Bounpone Sookmexay, WWF-Laos Communication Officer,

bounpone.sookmexay@wwfgreatermekong.org
 

About WWF-Laos:

WWF-Laos is the local office of the WWF International Network, the world’s largest and most experienced independent conservation organisation. It has more than 5 million supporters and offices active in over 100 countries.
 
Our mission is to support in reducing the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. To do this, WWF works with a broad spectrum of partners including governments, industry, and local communities to find solutions to the challenges that face our natural world.
 
Our Laos programme officially began in 1997 with the head quarter office established in 2001 and since then our work has focused on research, advocacy and building partnerships aimed at protecting Laos’ most precious habitats and species, building local and national capacity to conserve them, and improving the livelihoods of the communities who depend on them most. You can read more about WWF-Laos' diverse work here.

 
	© Lee Poston / WWF-Greater Mekong
Illegal Wildlife Trade
© Lee Poston / WWF-Greater Mekong
 
	© Michel Gunther / WWF
Illegal Wildlife Trade
© Michel Gunther / WWF
 
	© WWF / CARLOS DREWS
Illegal Wildlife Trade
© WWF / CARLOS DREWS

New Wildlife Order_PM-O5_Original Lao Version

New Wildlife Order_PM-O5_Unofficial Eng Translation