Fondation Franz Weber (FFW) and the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) have been invited this week to attend and provide technical advice to the 2019 African Elephant Coalition (AEC) Summit meeting in Nairobi, Kenya.
The aim of the meeting is to discuss the joint strategy in view of the upcoming 18th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES – CoP18). The AEC has submitted a package of 4 proposals to CoP18, to strengthen the international protection of the African elephant, in particular through tighter measures on ivory trade.
With over 25 representatives in attendance, from all over Africa, the coalition voiced their concerns for the future of all African elephants. In order to safeguard the species from extinction, the AEC is asking CoP18 to up-list all African elephants on Appendix I CITES, close all domestic ivory markets, better manage government-held ivory stockpiles and tighten controls over the export of live wild-caught African elephants outside their range.
The AEC expressed its growing concern regarding the existence of many domestic „legal” ivory markets, notable legal markets which still remain open being the EU and Japan. The delegates, many of whom have direct experience in the field, are convinced that these major markets are directly linked to poaching and illegal trade, since they allow for laundering of illegal ivory into so-called „legal” domestic markets.
„The poaching epidemic is not only decimating elephant populations at unsustainable rates but also resulting in growing ivory stockpiles which represent a significant finical and logistical burden for governments. It’s important to send a clear message that by encouraging speculative accumulation of ivory, in both source and consumer countries, it retains a commercial value for potential future sale. The only way to send this message is to definitively and comprehensive ban ivory trade, at all levels”, says Vera Weber, President of Fondation Franz Weber (FFW).
FFW and DSWF, alongside other NGO colleagues, expressed their support of the AEC position on elephant conservation and re-affirmed their pledge to help fight for the strongest domestic and international legislation to protect this iconic animal. Both organisations are active advisors to the African Elephant Coalition, and have supported African range states and in situ conservation efforts for over 30 years.
Georgina Lamb, Head of Programmes and Policy for DSWF, who attended the meeting said „The joint commitment shown by the AEC to take the strongest and most vocal stance possible as a voice for elephants needs to be heard and listened to. They represent those on the front line of the illegal trade, witnessing first-hand the devastating impacts of elephant poaching. Other governments need to stand behind the AEC to ensure their warnings are adequately heeded or we risk seeing the extinction of the elephant”.
FFW and DSWF look forward to following and supporting the AEC in its mission to save the Africa elephant, and will both be present at CoP18 as observers.