CoP15: Elephants Win Out...

Tue, 2010-01-26 15:13 by hcroze · Forum/category:

... at the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties of CITES (CoP15), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

You will have seen the news last week: both the Tanzanian and Zambian proposals were defeated both in Committee and, on Thursday, in the closing Plenary sessions when the two bids for one-off sales of ivory were floored again and then finally really floored with votes even further from the needed 2/3 majority. In Kenya, we followed the exciting step-by-step account at the ElephantVoices Facebook CoP15 link and with sms messages from colleagues who were in the room. There are now many news summaries: see Hans' list below. You may also be intested in the Economist Online take, Fishy business: How the elephants’ success hurt the bluefin tuna. The disgusting Japanese reception serving bluefin sashimi flown in from Japan must have contributed to the increased support for elephants at the end of the day.

The delegates from the African Elephant Coalition worked tirelessly during the grueling two weeks. The head of Kenya's delegation, Patrick Omondi of KWS, had prefaced Doha by personally lobbying congressmen in the USA. Pat Awori, who chairs the Kenya Elephant Forum, is our heroine and must have been totally persuasive on the floor and in the corridors. Joyce Poole added strength to the science voices of Iain Douglas-Hamilton, Sam Wasser and others. What a team! Our heartfelt thanks to them all!

The Avaaz petition against the ivory trade gained over 485,000 signatures. Many thanks to those of you who signed. It showed the delegates at CITES the strength of public opinion in favour of elephants.

It was open season at CITES! Governments rejected proposed bans on hunting bluefin tunas and polar bears. See the Times OnLine article. Things weren't looking good for elephants, either (and from some of the moronic comments to the article, you can see why). It seems the EU was looking like it would not support the African Elephant Coalition proposal to reject the one-off sales of ivory by Tanzania and Zambia and increase the moratorium on the ivory trade. The debate happened on Monday, 22 March.

In addition to the various links here and below, IISD's Environmental Negotiations Bulletin summary should be here. Our colleagues at ElephantVoices put up a good page with useful CoP15 links. You can get to the CITES -- ho-hum -- links there. Still other colleagues at WildlifeDirect have provided more links, including the so-called Panel of Expert reports on the situations in Tanzania and Zambia: real fence-sitting and obfuscating stuff, that, not science-based at all. If you want the scientists' take, have a look at the recent article in Science entitled "Elephants, Ivory and Trade" by Wasser and Novak and 24 more of us (you can download it by clicking on the top document link below). And if you want to read an undercover view of Tanzania and Zambia's alleged inability to manage a trade in ivory, see what the Environmental Investigation Agency has to say.

Poached male, Dec. 09
The wages of the
ivory trade

CITES is an international treaty ratified by 175 countries. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. Every three years the the signatory countries gather to consider progress and problems and to make proposals to amend the treaty as may be required.

Ironically, these meetings engender huge threats to elephants' survival.

Trade in elephant products is always high on the agenda, and this year, in Doha, from 13 to 25 March, there will be the perennial debate between countries for and against the international trade in ivory.

ATE is against the trade. We have been working with like-minded NGOs and individuals under the aegis of the Kenya Elephant Forum (KEF) to provide strategic information to a body of sympathetic African elephant range states called the African Elephant Coalition (AEC).

ATE directors and staff, working with members of our Scientific Advisory Committee, have been instrumental in drafting five Fact Sheets to be used as lobbying tools to strengthen the no-trade case in the forthcoming debate.

We reproduce them herein along with pdf versions that can be downloaded and promulgated as you wish. They are:

  1. The African Elephant Coalition
    Proposals to relax the African elephant’s protected status and to promote one-off sales of stockpiled ivory spell doom to the elephants within our lifetimes. Twenty-four African countries have come together to resist the proposals and harness information to shape policy to ensure the elephants’ future.
  2. Elephant Poaching and the Ivory Trade
    This fact sheet aims to brief policy-makers on the link between elephant poaching and the ivory trade. Proposals to relax the African elephant’s internationally protected status and to increase one-off sales of stockpiled ivory spell doom to Africa’s elephants within our lifetimes.
  3. CITES and the Ivory Trade
    This fact sheet summarizes the major milestones in governments’ attempts to secure the future of the African elephant, which today is under serious threat from poaching and the ivory trade.
  4. Proposals on the African Elephant for CITES CoP15
    This fact sheet presents the proposed amendments relating to the African Elephant that have been presented for consideration to the 15th meeting of the Conference of Parties to CITES. 13-25 March 2010, Doha, Qatar. It provides views from the African Elephant Coalition on reasons for accepting or rejecting the proposals.
  5. Elephants and Ecosystems
    Elephants are important. They are large, long-lived, highly intelligent and complex animals. They are under threat from ivory poaching and habitat loss. They are an essential component of African savannah and forest ecosystems. Local extinctions could lead to catastrophic ecological changes. Losing them would be detrimental to Africa, Asia and the world.
  6. Help us spread the word.

Wasser et al 2010 Elephants, Ivory, and Trade Science.pdf395.07 KB
The African Elephant Coalition68.57 KB
Elephant Poaching and the Ivory Trade69.04 KB
CITES and the Ivory Trade70.73 KB
Proposals on the African Elephant for CITES CoP1578.57 KB
Elephants and Ecosystems71.14 KB


Mon, 2010-03-22 22:37 by Donna

to Joyce Poole, Iain Douglas-Hamiton, and Sam Wasser on the success of their presentation in nixing the petitions of Tanzania and Zambia to sell ivory. I am so relieved!!


Thu, 2010-02-04 09:59 by bea

Thank you for this,I have signed the pétition.Lots of love,and thank you for all your hard work!


Wed, 2010-02-03 20:52 by Massago

Thank you for all informations and for the petition. I have signed and I have sent to 5 friends... Wish elephants the best future ! We need to put all our forces to help them together.

Petition 'Say No to the Ivory Sale"

Sat, 2010-01-30 22:06 by Jude

Petition from Dame Daphne Sheldrick to the CITES Conference March 2010. Please sign and distribute widely.

I am so glad to see this call to action from The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust who have mounted a petition to the Conference of Parties of CITES due to meet in Doha in March 2010. On the table at the conference is a request from Zambia and Tanzania to sell their ivory stockpiles. The petition is in opposition to the Ivory Sale.

"This year the Vote of the Signatories to the CITES convention will seal the fate of Africa's elephants one way or another, and because of this all caring people have a duty to speak our forcefully, or else become guilty of sinning through silence."
Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick DBE MBE MBD DVMS

I have signed and I note Cynthia Moss has also, I hope you will as well. Please network as widely as possible, not just to elephant lovers and networks - but to animal lovers and compassionate people everywhere. We need to send a clear and loud voice to CITES.

For the Elephants!


Thu, 2010-02-04 03:33 by Pete666

Petition signed.



Wed, 2010-02-03 23:40 by Alison1962

Thankyou for this, i have signed the petition and would like to encourage many more to do so, i really hope it will be recognised , Thanks Alison


Wed, 2010-01-27 00:54 by msowers

Thanks for all this information, Harvey. I've been trying to keep up on all the developments.

I'll be very anxious until we know the outcome in March, and I can only imagine the stress it is putting on all of you.


Tue, 2010-01-26 22:01 by Donna

Thank you, Harvey, for this important info.

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