Posted on 26 September 2016
WWF calls on Madagascar authorities to take concrete and measurable actions to meet their commitments to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) regarding illicit precious wood trade.
WWF also asks the Standing Committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to be firm and strict towards parties not meeting their comitments.
The CITES Secretariat had recommended that the Committee call for countries to impose trade sanctions on Madagascar in specimens of CITES-listed species until the country made measurable progress on auditing its stockpile of seized timber, enacting legal protection for threatened species of palissander trees, and significantly increasing enforcement actions.
But instead, during the Conference of parties taking place now in Johannesburg, South Africa, the the Committee gave Madagascar a new deadline until the end of this year to report on progress of the precious wood action plan.
« Madagascar has hardly escaped the grave sanctions that would have had strong economic consequences. We ask for the authorities to meet their commitments. This new deadline given by CITES could well be the last chance”, said Nanie Ratsifandrihamanana, Country Director of WWF Madagascar.
“The Committee’s failure to recommend trade sanctions in the absence of any concrete progress from Madagascar will have potentially far-reaching impacts on Madagascar’s fast disappearing forests”. “The illegal logging of precious timbers is one of the reasons why Madagascar’s Ala Atsinanana Forests have been designated as a World heritage Site in Danger and this decision could put them in even greater danger,” said Colman O’Criodain, WWF Global Wildlife Policy Manager.
“The Committee had a chance to show its teeth, instead it has sent a signal that countries can renege on CITES commitments with impunity, calling into question the Convention’s commitment to addressing persistent non-compliance.”, said O’Criodain.
The Secretariat had also highlighted Madagascar’s lack of commitment to update its legislation or undertake an audit is in sharp contrast to its efforts to recover stocks of illegal timber seized abroad.