Vietnam has been identified by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) as a priority country for biodiversity programmes under its first-ever Biodiversity Policy, it was stated a July 10 press release by the US Embassy in Vietnam.

The policy, launched in Washington DC on July 8, puts forth a vision of conserving biodiversity globally for sustainable long-term development.

USAID Vietnam Mission Director Joakim Parker said that in an effort to conserve significant biodiversity over the world under the new direction, the agency recognises the essential role that healthy ecosystems play in boosting resilient societies.

“We are also committed to a more specific focus on integrating biodiversity conservation with our other development work in Vietnam, such as economic growth and health,” said Parker.

Over the past 50 years, the world has seen more progress toward economic prosperity and human development than during any other time, but at the same time, humans have changed the environment at an alarming rate, with sometimes serious consequences for biodiversity and the ecosystem services that sustain their life.

Vietnam is ranked as the 16th most biodiversity rich country in the world and also a major hub for wildlife trafficking, supplying domestic and international markets with a variety of live animals, animal parts and medicinal plants.

The US Mission to Vietnam is working closely with governmental and civil society partners to preserve biodiversity conservation and stop the illegal wildlife trade, which is a global challenge.

The USAID plans to increase its wildlife trafficking assistance to Vietnam under the new policy.-VNA