Today’s CITES CoP18 has addressed two key issues related to the African Elephant: the management of national ivory stocks, which represent a significant security and financial burden for the countries concerned; and the closure of domestic ivory markets. Fondation Franz Weber congratulates the African Elephant Coalition (AEC), which is an alliance of 32 African countries, for the positive progress towards better protection of elephants.
GENEVA – The coalition highlighted the importance of clear guidelines for the management of national ivory stocks as well as accurate and regular information on the size of ivory stocks around the world. This information is central in determining whether there are thefts, and whether the stolen ivory is then traded illegally on the market. Without up-to-date information, it is difficult to determine where the illegal ivory came from and on how to counteract it. The Conference of the Parties of the International Convention on Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has taken cognisance of the arguments of the AEC and will now require regular reporting to the CITES Secretariat on the size and movements of ivory stocks. This is a positive step forward for elephants!
CITES delegates also tackled the thorny issue of domestic ivory markets – the two largest markets being Japan and the EU. The ‘legal’ domestic markets have a direct influence on the extent of poaching and the illegal ivory trade. The decisions taken today by the CITES Parties have put pressure on domestic ivory markets that are still open, with the hope that they will be closed for good in the near future. The EU has already announced today that it will further restrict its market, which is very good news.
Tomorrow, the CoP18 will decide on the fate of the African elephant:
AEC’s motion to fully protect all African elephants will be the centre of the debate tomorrow. There will however be counter-proposals from the southern African countries seeking to reopen the ivory trade and further weaken the protection of elephants.
During tomorrow’s negotiations, the tension in Geneva will reach fever pitch. Fondation Franz Weber calls on CITES member states to include all African elephants on Appendix I. It is the right choice!