International Snow Leopard Day 2017
On 24-25 August, representatives of the 12 snow leopard range states met at the Global Snow Leopard Summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan to review progress and take the steps necessary to conserve the snow leopard populations in the wild and ensure the cultural, social and economic well being of mountain communities.
The Summit highlighted climate change as one of the key threats to the survival of the snow leopard along with degradation of habitats, human wildlife conflict, poaching and illegal trafficking. Recent research indicates that almost a quarter of snow leopard habitat may be lost by 2070 if climate change is not checked. This could be much higher in certain countries - up to 82% of snow leopard habitat could be lost in Nepal.
On International Snow Leopard Day, the Practice engaged key audiences on social media to increase global awareness about the threats posed by climate change to the survival of snow leopards and the stability of their mountain habitats, which so many people depend on. The public engagement demonstrated the importance of snow leopards and their habitats, and the enormous challenges facing snow leopard conservation efforts;
The deadline for China’s commitment to close its legal domestic ivory market is 31st December 2017. WWF warmly welcomes the entry into force of the full closure of domestic ivory markets in China. We congratulate China on this step.
However a ban on paper will not solve the extensive elephant poaching crisis we find ourselves in. China must commit to enforcing its domestic ivory sale ban. TRAFFIC’s 2017 surveys in China identified a number of infractions among the accredited retail outlets that were shut down in March 2017, and among those scheduled to close by the end of the year. The surveys also found that illegal outlets are still openly displaying ivory for sale. TRAFFIC has also detailed widespread advertisements online, and numerous postings on social media. The legislative ban will fail entirely if firm action is not taken to close these illegal physical and online sale outlets.
In addition, TRAFFIC, the Wildlife Justice Commission and numerous others have documented extensive markets in Viet Nam, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Cambodia offering wildlife products, including ivory but also rhino horn, tiger parts and helmeted hornbill ivory, for sale that are very much directed at Chinese consumers. China must participate actively in the efforts by the international community to ensure that these markets are closed. WWF encourages those countries to seize the momentum of China’s efforts, close any legal loopholes that allow ivory trade to flourish, and effectively enforce their laws prevent the sale and traffic of illegal wildlife products, including ivory.
The 69th meeting of the Committee will take place at a critical juncture. It is over a year since the new Committee met briefly following the closure of the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties, widely seen as one of the most successful CoP ever. However, despite its outstanding accomplishments, its real success is dependent on many decisions that will be taken at this and subsequent meetings.
WWF notes with concern that progress on some CoP Decisions were not possible because the Secretariat was unable to secure the necessary funds. During the CoP, WWF drew attention to the need for the CITES Community to match its ambitious commitments with adequate resources, and we would wish to reiterate this point.
The key items up for discussion include demand reduction, cooperation with other biodiversity-related Conventions, National laws for implementation of the Convention and submission of annual and compliance reports as well as National Ivory Action Plans. The meeting will also deliberate on the Application of Article XIII in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Asian big cats in captivity among various priorities related to endangered species.
Latest updates about the Wildlife Practice Strategy Development Process
WWF was born from a drive to conserve wildlife, and wildlife continues to be the goal most closely tied to our brand. Conserving the world’s threatened wildlife is not an easy task. In part, it requires long-term commitment to proven conservation approaches. However, with the current rate of biodiversity loss, we cannot rely solely on “business as usual”. This strategy requires us to embrace innovation as never before, while scaling up well-tested approaches.
Above all it must be a living document that will adapt to the rapidly changing circumstances we are likely to face, embracing the strengthened spirit of WWF to empower local communities, take risks, create unlikely alliances, and unite our extensive network and partners around shared goals. We have put forward ambitious, high-impact targets aimed at conserving our global biodiversity. As one of the world’s largest conservation organisations, operating in over 100 countries, our key strength is our ability to deliver wildlife conservation from local to global scales. The new structure of WWF allows us to capitalize on the full range of levers from other Goal and Driver Practices, giving us an opportunity, as never before, to bend the curve of biodiversity decline.
Working as a Practice (i.e. a collective of offices with world-class experts accelerating work regionally and globally supported by a small core team), will give us the best chance of achieving impact at the scale required. The Practice ensures we have a common vision and approach across the network, capitalises on our ability to collectively wield influence at local, national, regional and international scales, enables all parts of our network to learn from innovation and experimentation, and allows us to monitor and communicate how our work delivers impact beyond national boundaries.