The illegal trade in wildlife and forest products (IWT) is propelling species to the brink of extinction while posing environmental, economic, development and security hazards. Numerous species are experiencing unprecedented decline and the stability of involved communities is jeopardized on a daily basis. Vietnam is especially vulnerable to the far-reaching consequences of illegal wildlife trafficking as a source (where animals live), transit (where they are trafficked) and demand country (where they are bought). It also houses the highest demand for rhino horn in the world.

To address these concerns, #WildforLife organized a four-day workshop in Hanoi, Vietnam for stakeholders in the issue of illegal wildlife trafficking. The workshop, taking place the week of October 9th, aimed to home a new communication tool --Illegal Trade in Wildlife and Forest Products (ITW) Handbook-- to ultimately equip communication practitioners with the tools required to run a national communications campaign to educate citizens on the impacts of the illegal trade.

The workshop kicked off with an overview of wildlife trafficking and a situation analysis, which delved into specific problems created by the issue. On day two, trainees conducted a communication analysis to define exactly how the previously-determined outcomes can be achieved. With clearly-defined methods and outcomes in mind, they compiled their ideas into a plan of action—a concrete strategy for carrying out the campaign. Finally, participants presented their plans of action and discussed how to implement them. A reception with final remarks closed the workshop and marked the completion of participants’ campaign design.

#WildforLife hopes the Hanoi workshop, while helping to create this important tool, also improved the capacity of those involved to design and develop a national communication campaign and built a coalition through which future collaboration and information exchange can be facilitated.