CITES Conference in Johannesburg concludes successfully
Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks gave a positive assessment of the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (COP 17) in Johannesburg. The key outcome of the conference was the firm rejection of international ivory trade. For the first time, the international community is focussing clearly on the fight against poaching, which will be driven forward with national ivory action plans requiring verification.
Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks commented "The outcomes of Johannesburg are good news for many threatened species. The international community has taken a large and important step forward in the fight against species extinction. The conference was characterised by a spirit of community. Many controversial and disputed proposals were adopted by consensus. It is now vital that we step up our joint efforts to combat poaching and illegal wildlife trade." Countries where combatting elephant poaching and illegal ivory trade is particularly important, for instance, Tanzania, Kenya, Vietnam and China have made a commitment to draw up and implement national ivory action plans. If these plans are not implemented or complied with, countries will be penalised with sanctions, including potential trade sanctions. The fact that the conference agreed on an approach to this issue constitutes major progress.
Considerably more stringent trade policies and trading bans will come into effect for a number of endangered species, e.g. elephants, rhinos, sharks and tropical woods. Germany and the EU were thus able to successfully argue their positions. Some important outcomes of the conference:
- Lions: The growing lion-bone trade will be curbed. In addition, countries with lion populations have made a commitment to agree on a common strategy to improve protection.
- Sharks: Stricter provisions have been introduced for international trade in certain shark species under serious threat (thresher shark, silky shark) and rays. Trade will only be permitted if capture does not pose a threat to their populations.
- Hunting trophies: Following a proposal made by Germany, the export of hunting trophies will be heavily restricted. Export will only be permitted if the hunting is legal and does not negatively impact on the species’ populations.
- Tropical wood: Trade in threatened tropical wood species will be significantly restricted in future, including 300 species of rosewood, such as the Bubinga, a rare giant tree that grows in the rainforests of Central Africa.
- Reptiles and amphibians: Protection will also be improved for rare and endemic reptiles. Over 60 reptiles and six amphibians, which have become endangered due to pet trade, have been added to the convention. Germany advocated the inclusion of three reptile species.
- Pangolins: Pangolins in Africa and Asia are under serious threat from poaching and have been granted the highest protection status under CITES.