Proposals to improve protection for elephants, giraffes, sharks and other species were on the agenda of the 18th Conference of the Parties (CoP) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Geneva.
The CoP18 which runs till Wednesday August 28 has had 107 agenda items and 57 species proposals.
Although a proposal by Kenya, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivore, Gabon, Libera, Niger,
Nigeria, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic and Togo to Up-list the four Elephant
populations in southern Africa to Appendix 1 from the current Appendix 2 therefore
prohibiting all international commercial trade in African ivory was rejected by the
parties in attendance, Kenya and the African Elephant Coalition sent a strong
message to the world on their uncompromising stance against ivory trade.
According to a statement by Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry and Wildlife (CITES, Head of Delegation) Monday, Kenya has managed to lobby for total protection of elephants from any commercial international trade in ivory, by listing all African elephants on Appendix I of CITES, which would afford the highest protection.
With South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe seeking to be allowed to trade on ivory stockpiles.
” In this regard, I commend the delegation of Kenya in Geneva, which consists of
government and non-state actors, for their teamwork and tireless efforts that
ensured that we were successful in all of these endeavours.” Said the statement.
A joint proposal (Prop. 11) by SADC countries comprising of South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe to trade in their ivory stockpiles, which was objected strongly by Kenya, was voted down by 101 (81%) of the 125 treaty members present at voting. This was after a spirited fight put up by Kenya with support from the African Elephant Coalition, the EU, USA, Latin American and Caribbean States and other like-minded countries. This in effect means the ban on international trade in ivory continues to remain in place.
” I would wish to thank our international friends from the 32- member African
Elephant Coalition, the EU, US, China, India, Israel, Sri Lanka, group of Latin America and Caribbean states, Arab League and other like-minded countries for their overwhelming support in protecting vulnerable species. I note that African elephants across the continent have experienced catastrophic decline in their numbers due to poaching and illegal trade in ivory. This escalation
has regrettably occurred under the current CITES rules which lowered protection for
elephants. So, while it has been an excellent outcome for the African elephant at
CITES COP-18, intense challenges in improving livelihoods, law enforcement, and
closure of domestic ivory markets remain.” Added the statement.
At the same time, domestic ivory markets existing in some countries will equally be strictly regulated by CITES after parties agreed to introduced new rules to require countries that still have these markets to report to CITES on a regular basis on their stocks and use.
A proposal (Prop. 10) by Zambia to allow South Africa to sell raw African elephant Ivory for commercial purposes under certain conditions thus undermining
recommendations to close domestic Ivory markets, was also rejected by an over
whelming 82% of the votes casted led by Kenyan Delegates. CITES also made history by agreeing to protect giraffes by regulating international trade in giraffe parts, such as hides, bones and meat.
Meanwhile, CITES also agreed to protect giraffes for the first time by listing the
species on Appendix II, which will now regulate international trade in giraffe parts,
such as hides, bones and meat.