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CITES CoP17 Delegates: Adopt Resolution Recommending Closure of Domestic Elephant Ivory Markets Globally

“The global community further chipped away at the elephant ivory market today. The member countries gathered at CITES CoP17 adopted a resolution recommending the closure of domestic ivory markets around the world. Traffickers and criminal networks are losing their markets and losing their financial incentives to kill Africa’s elephants for their ivory.”

Link to the resolution passed today: https://cites.org/sites/default/files/eng/cop/17/Com_II/E-CoP17-Com-II-06.pdf

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CITES CoP17 Delegates: Adopt Resolution Recommending Closure of Domestic Elephant Ivory Markets Globally

Johannesburg, SA (Oct. 2 2016) – The following statement was released today by the Wildlife Conservation Society in celebration of the decision taken today by countries at CITES CoP17 for adopting a resolution recommending the closure of domestic elephant ivory markets globally.

Today, the delegates at CITES Cop17 adopted a resolution which “recommends that all Parties and non-Parties in whose jurisdiction there is a legal domestic market for ivory that is contributing to poaching or illegal trade, take all necessary legislative, regulatory and enforcement measures to close their domestic markets for commercial trade in raw and worked ivory as a matter of urgency…” 

Currently, 183 governments are members of CITES. This resolution adopted provides a framework for all CITES governments to address their national markets for elephant ivory.

Susan Lieberman, WCS Vice President of International Policy and head of the WCS CITES delegation, served on the working groups which achieved this historic compromise which recommends the closure of domestic elephant ivory markets worldwide. Lieberman also served on working groups at the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) World Conservation Congress, which on Sept 10 in Hawaii, voted to close domestic elephant ivory markets.

Said WCS’s Lieberman:

“The global community today further chipped away at the elephant ivory market. The countries gathered at CITES CoP17 adopted a resolution recommending the closure of domestic elephant ivory markets around the world. Traffickers and criminal networks are losing their markets and losing their financial incentives to illegally kill Africa’s elephants for their ivory.

“When this resolution was adopted, government leaders, NGOs and others gathered in the session applauded and cheered as this brings many the hope that the world continues to make progress to end the elephant crisis—that domestic ivory markets will be closed, to prevent further laundering of illegal ivory through legal systems.

“There is renewed hope for Africa’s elephants today. We know we must end the laundering of ivory into domestic markets, and the demand for elephant ivory, if we are going to stop the poaching. This action follows steps by the United States and France and by U.S. states including Hawaii, New York, and California who have enacted laws to close down their domestic elephant ivory markets. And China and Hong Kong SAR are promising to do the same.

“While the decision today was not perfect, it was adopted by consensus; governments worked hard to find a compromise that can lead to closing down the domestic markets. The reality is that all elephant ivory markets contribute to illegal trade and poaching. The next time there is a big seizure in an importing country with an open market, it will put more pressure on them to close their market. Increased attention will now be focused on countries that are a major problem for ivory trafficking, particularly importing countries -- and there will be pressure on them to close their markets ASAP.

 

“Many countries were champions of closure of domestic ivory markets, especially the African elephant range countries who submitted the original document Angola, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Niger and Senegal—and the United States.

“It is important to note that the CITES and IUCN ivory decisions this month have highlighted the leadership of African nations behind the movement to save elephants, including African-led efforts such as the Cotonou Declaration of 2015, and the Elephant Protection Initiative. Africa’s leadership has been inspiring to all. Their elephants and their communities are suffering—and the world must heed the call to put an end to the ivory trade, once and for all.

“At WCS and with our 96 Elephants campaign, we have fought this fight to protect elephants on several levels – local, national, and international. We have worked with hundreds of partners on the US ban on domestic elephant ivory sales and on working state-by-state to enact similar bans. As we headed to CITES, more than 130,000 people signed the 96 Elephants petition calling for the CITES parties to adopt this historic resolution today.

“WCS will not halt in this effort as we work to stop the killing, stop the trafficking, and stop the demand.”

 

WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society)
MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in nearly 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: newsroom.wcs.org <http://s.bl-1.com/h/0F83V0p?url=http://newsroom.wcs.org>  Follow: @WCSNewsroom. For more information: 347-840-1242 <tel:347-840-1242> .

96 Elephants (www.96elephants.org) – named for the number of elephants currently gunned down each day by poachers – is a WCS campaign that focuses on: securing effective U.S. moratorium laws; bolstering elephant protection with additional funding; and educating the public about the link between ivory consumption and the elephant poaching crisis. WCS’s 96 Elephants campaign brings together world citizens, partners, thought leaders, and change makers to leverage collective influence to stop the killing, stop the trafficking, and stop the demand.
 
CITES
CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. CITES regulates international trade in over 35,000 species of plants and animals, including their products and derivatives, ensuring their survival in the wild with benefits for the livelihoods of local people and the global environment. The  CITES permit system seeks to ensure that international trade in listed species is sustainable, legal and traceable. CITES was signed in Washington D.C. on 3 March 1973. The 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP17) will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa from 24 September to 5 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Center. South Africa offered to host CoP17 at the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (Bangkok, March 2013), which was accepted by acclamation. Following discussions with the South African authorities and the finalization of an open bid process, the host city was announced through a joint media release on 19 June, 2015.