Plan for African ivory markets a victory for elephants
The plan, endorsed by every African country that has elephants, will be formally presented to the 166 members of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) next Monday, 11 October 2004, and is expected to be adopted.
For the first time, the plan commits every African country with a domestic ivory market to either strictly control the trade or shut it down altogether with no exception.
Until now, Africa’s domestic ivory markets have remained unaddressed by the ban on international ivory sales imposed by CITES in 1989.
"Unregulated domestic markets across Africa are fueling a significant portion of the poaching we’re seeing in central Africa today," said Tom Milliken, Director of TRAFFIC East/Southern Africa. "These markets consume up to 12,000 elephants annually, so it’s time we have an action plan that closes a huge loophole in global effort to save elephants."
The action plan was recommended for approval by the meeting of the African Elephant Range States Dialogue that took place before the main CITES event began.
The plan, developed by the CITES Secretariat, was prompted by the elephant ivory trade analysis done by TRAFFIC that names the countries with the worst illegal markets, including Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Ethiopia.
"This is a courageous move by African nations to impose a hard-hitting process on themselves to address illegal trade in ivory," said Dr. P.J. Stephenson, Coordinator of WWF’s African Elephant Programme. "When the plan is enacted, African countries will have to create and implement legislation to improve law enforcement and border controls and create public awareness campaigns aimed at consumers."
WWF and TRAFFIC will be working with the African range states as they implement the action plan. The countries must report on their progress to the CITES Secretariat by 31 March 2005.
For more information:
TRAFFIC Communications Co-ordinator,
tel: +66 4098 0217 (at CITES CoP13 in Bangkok)email@example.com
WWF Species Programme,
tel: +66 6563 7753 (at CITES CoP13 in Bangkok)