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Anti-Smuggling and Investment Department receives international award for environmental enforcement

14:58 | 02/12/2021

VCN – The Anti-Smuggling and Investigation Department (Vietnam Customs), the Customs Control Department (Thailand Customs) and the Anti-Smuggling Department (Huangpu Customs under Chinese Customs) have received the award in the category for “Cooperation” at the Asia Environmental Enforcement Award Ceremony.

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Anti-Smuggling and Investment Department receives international award for environmental enforcement
Deputy Director General of Vietnam Customs Luu Manh Tuong addresses at the ceremony. Photo: T.B

Coordination to prevent and combat transnational crime

On November 30, the Virtual Asia Environmental Enforcement Award Ceremony was held with the participation of more than 240 delegates from 38 countries and international organizations such as the United nationals Environment Programme (UNEP) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), the World Customs Organization (WCO) and representatives of law enforcement agencies on environmental enforcement in Asia and Africa.

Deputy Director General of Vietnam Customs Luu Manh Tuong attended the virtual ceremony.

The Asia Environmental Enforcement Award is approved by the International Evaluation Committee including UNEP experts in collaboration with UNDP, UNODC, CITES Secretariat, INTERPOL and WCO.

The award is given annually to recognize the excellent contribution in the performance of Government officials, organizations or teams that are in charge of fighting transboundary environmental crime.

The thematic scope of the award covers transboundary environmental crimes such as illegal trade in wildlife, chemicals or hazardous waste.

This is the sixth award given to individuals and organizations that contribute excellence in one of three categories: cooperation, innovation and leadership. This is the first time that Vietnam Customs has been selected for an award in a category of the Asian Environmental Enforcement Award.

In 2021, the Anti-Smuggling and Investigation Department (Vietnam Customs) and the Customs Control Department (Thailand Customs) and the Anti-Smuggling Department (Chinese Customs) were selected as co-winners in the category for Cooperation. The selection was based on the success of cooperation by the three departments in the Operation Mekong Dragon phase III (the operation coordinated by Vietnam Customs and Chinese Customs) with positive results in the fight against the illegal wildlife trade.

Specially, the coordination is to share and exchange information to seize consignments of rosewood under the list of CITES that are illegally transported across many countries in the region and illegally used permits issued by competent authorities for smuggling into China.

Thai Customs seized two shipments, Chinese Customs seized 29 tons of Dalbergia timber and four suspects, and Vietnam Customs actively participated in building a coordination regulation and virtual meetings to analyze and share information to support the detection of illegal cross-border transport, to evaluate and recommend effective coordination and management.

In the Congratulatory Letter, the UN Environment Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific highly appreciated the efforts of Vietnam Customs and the Anti-Smuggling and Investigation Department in international coordination to prevent smuggling and illegal transportation of endangered wildlife species.

Anti-Smuggling and Investment Department receives international award for environmental enforcement
Ms. Georgina Lloyd, UNEP Coordinator presented the ceremony. Photo: T.Binh.

Vietnam Customs makes great efforts in crime prevention

Speaking at the award ceremony, Deputy Director General of Vietnam Customs Luu Manh Tuong expressed his gratitude to international organizations for choosing the Anti-Smuggling and Investigation Department (Vietnam Customs) as one of the winners of the award for Environmental Control in 2021 in the category of Coordination.

“The award is both a recognition of the international community for the efforts of Vietnam Customs in the fight against environmental crimes, and a driving force to promote Vietnam Customs and the enforcement agency in particular to make more efforts in this tough fight when the activities of transnational criminal organizations become more and more complicated amid the pandemic with many new methods and tricks," said the Deputy General Director.

At the event, the leader of Vietnam Customs also thanked China Customs and Thai Customs for their close and effective cooperation under the active coordination of the WCO’s Asia Regional Intelligence Liaison Office - Pacific Ocean (RILO AP) and UNODC in the cooperation program to combat illegal trafficking of wood products on the list of CITES.

The Deputy Director General expressed his belief and expectations that the parties would continue to work more closely in the future.

The Asia Environmental Enforcement Award Ceremony was launched with other control operations including the conference on summarizing performance of the Operation Mekong Dragon phase III and the Wildlife Inter-Regional Enforcement Meeting taking place from November 30 to December 2, 2021.

This is an opportunity for environmental law enforcement agencies such as the Police, Customs, Courts, Forest Ranger and international organizations on regional and inter-regional environmental control to exchange and discuss to improve the efficiency of the work in the near future.

By Thai Binh/Ngoc Loan