11.01.2016 – Hope for elephants in Geneva?

Illegal – and legal – trade in ivory and the rampant killing of African elephants will be a central topic of discussion next week at the 66th meeting of the Standing Committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Geneva.

Illegal – and legal – trade in ivory and the rampant killing of African elephants will be a central topic of discussion next week at the 66th meeting of the Standing Committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Geneva.

All populations of African elephants were listed on Appendix I of CITES in 1989, effectively banning international ivory trade.  But the protection was weakened in 1997 and 2000 when populations in four countries (Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe) were down-listed to Appendix II (a less endangered status) to allow two sales of ivory stockpiles in 1999 and 2008. 

In November, 25 African countries representing the African Elephant Coalition adopted the Cotonou Declaration, calling for a total ban on ivory trade worldwide. 

The CITES Standing Committee oversees the work of the Convention during the two- or three-year periods between its Conferences of the Parties (CoPs).  CITES was established in 1973, entered into force in 1975, and accords varying degrees of protection to more than 35,000 species of animals and plants.  Currently 181 countries are parties to the Convention. CITES CoP17 will be held in Johannesburg from 24 September to 5 October 2016.

We will be reporting from SC66.