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CITES-CoP18 misses a golden opportunity to protect elephants: EU is the main culprit

By Fondation Franz Weber
CITES-CoP18 misses a golden opportunity to protect elephants:  EU is the main culprit
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Geneva - The voting results that have decided the future of elephants have left a bitter aftertaste. While the proposals calling for the reopening of the international ivory trade were overwhelmingly rejected, the Parties of the international Convention at CITES-CoP18 did not take the necessary steps to provide the full protection to African elephants. This went contrary to the view of the majority of African countries in which the species lives.

The EU, which is made up of a 28-country bloc vote, ultimately determined the outcome. The EU claimed that the range countries of the species were against stronger protection. This is a misrepresentation of facts since the proposal in question was submitted on behalf of countries representing 70% of the African elephant range.

Furthermore, the Chairman of the Committee in which the debate raged, failed to demonstrate the impartiality expected of him by often giving the floor to the countries of southern Africa, all who favour reopening the trade in ivory. In contrast, the proposal to ban trade, which was submitted by the other African range states under the banner of the African Elephant Coalition (AEC), was dealt with in just 20 minutes. It is appalling that CITES member states did not give the issue of the African elephant’s survival the importance it deserves.

Fondation Franz Weber will continue to monitor the final days of the Conference of the Parties, complete with its unexpected twists and turns. The meeting in Geneva wraps up on August 28th and nothing is set in stone until the final day of the CoP18.

The debate on the export of live baby elephants, in particular, may not yet be over. The historical result in favour of a ban of exporting live elephants outside of Africa, which took place on Tuesday, August 18, has created quite a stir in Geneva, and continues to provoke intense debate among Parties.

Experts, lawyers and other team members of Fondation Franz Weber, on site in Geneva, from 17 to 28 August:

Vera Weber, President of Fondation Franz Weber,

Languages: French, German, English
For interview requests: [email protected] , +41 79 210 54 04

Prof. Dr. Alejandro Nadal, economics professor at the Colegio de Mexico

Specialized in the following topics: Sustainable trade in threatened species; triggers and drivers of this trade; and why one cannot secure the livelihoods in poor rural communities through wildlife trade.

Languages: Spanish, English, French / For interview requests: [email protected]

Dr. Keith Lindsay, biologist and elephant expert

Specialized in the following topics: Why the African elephant deserves the highest protection status and fulfills all the biological criteria that CITES requires for an Appendix I listing (No trade possible). Why the trade of live elephants for zoos and circuses must be banned for animal welfare reasons.

Language: English / For interview requests: [email protected]

Azizou El Hadj Issa, CITES Veteran from Benin and President of the Council of Elders of the African Elephant Coalition (AEC)

Language: French / For interview requests: [email protected]

Dr. Rosalind Reeve, Attorney at Law, Expert for CITES.

Languages: English / For interview requests: [email protected]

Dr. Monica Biondo, marine biologist, expert in marine ornamental fish trade.

Languages: German, Italian, English, French
For interview requests: [email protected] , 076 592 49 60

Anna Mulà, lawyer and specialist in questions of animal welfare and animal rights.

Languages: Spanish, English / For interview requests: [email protected]

Anna Zangger, lawyer
Languages: French, English / For interview requests: [email protected] , +41 76 306 48 59

Leonardo Anselmi, Director of the FFW for Spain and Latin America

Language: Spanish / For interview requests: [email protected]

John Duhig, Campaigner and Advisor on EU Policy

Languages: English and French / For interview requests: [email protected]

Hedia Baccar, Wildlife Conservation Advisor responsible for the FFW in the Middle East and French-speaking Africa.

Languages: French, Arabic, English / For interview requests: [email protected]

Julia Fischer, Environmental Economist, Communications

Languages: German, English / For interview requests: [email protected] , +41 78 919 07 05

Nathanael Schaller, Program Coordinator for the African Elephant

Languages: French, English / For interview requests: [email protected]