Mlilo JOHANNESBURG (Xinhua) --
The 17th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) kicked off in
Johannesburg on Saturday with high expectations from
The conference will consider
different or even conflicting proposals on ways to
better preserve wildlife.
Some participants told Xinhua that they expect their
proposals to be considered and passed.
Professor Lee White, Director at Gabonese National
Parks Service, said his delegation will submit a
proposal for ivory trade and push African pangolin and
grey parrots to Appendix 1 of CITES-listed most
The CITES prohibits international trade in specimens
of these species except when the purpose of the import
is not commercial, for instance for scientific research.
Prof. White said what has been done is not enough to
stop illegal poaching and illegal trade.
Countries, where illegal trade is rampant, should do
more to combat illegal trade, he said.
Donald Lehr from the 29-member African Elephant
Coalition (AEC) said they are advocating for a permanent
ban on international trade in elephant ivory. The
organization represents 70 percent of African elephant
Lehr said the organization will also propose for the
closure of domestic ivory markets around the world.
There should be an end to the debate on a mechanism
to legalize ivory trade in the future, he said.
"We want to improve management of ivory stockpiles
and endorse their destruction, and restrict trade in
live, wild-caught elephants," Lehr said.
South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia will put forward a
joint proposal for legalizing ivory trade.
Michele Pickover, Director at the Environmental
Management Systems Foundation, said a more effective
international treaty is needed to truly protect wild
She said they would like to see all elephants, lions
and African parrots moved onto Appendix 1 and no
Pickover said a proposal to legalese trade in ivory
and rhino horns should be defeated.
She said, "There will be a lot of political
‘horse-trading’ but ultimately the animals being
discussed will be on the losing end.
"Obviously because of the mandate of CITES itself,
but also because the illegal trade is massive and is
operating under the cover of the legal trade,
enforcement is generally wholly inefficient and
corruption is rife. So my expectations are that enough
will be done to protect our planet’s wild animals."
Pickover called on governments to change their
policies and create a more caring society globally.
She also criticized CITES for being a flawed process
which facilitates the trade in wild animal body parts
and therefore provides a mechanism for these animals to
be heavily exploited and be killed.
Pickover said, "The illegal trade is massive because
there is demand.
"Demand has to be effectively tackled.
"Education has to take place on a large scale.
"Diplomats are sometimes involved (in illegal trade)
and they are protected.
"This is a problem.
"There needs to be harsher sentences."
The conference will also negotiate on administrative
and financial matters.
The EU is participating for the first time as a full
Party at the CITES meeting, representing all 28 EU
member states in one voting bloc.
Africa is home to a rich diversity of wild animals
and plants, including some of the world’s most admired
However, the loss of habitat and poaching driven by
illicit trafficking, with the latter being the most
immediate threat for some species, has decimated both
charismatic species, like elephant and rhino, and lesser
known ones, such as pangolins, in recent years.
The conference, which will last until October 5, is
bringing the world’s governments and wider community of
interest together to tackle these issues, not only in
Africa but on a global scale in its largest ever
to dominate world wildlife talks: organizers
JOHANNESBURG South Africa
(Xinhua) -- African elephants
will dominate the discussions at the upcoming World
Wildlife Conference, which will have the largest agenda
on protecting wildlife, organizers said Thursday.
The conference, officially known as the 17th
Conference of the Parties of the Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna
and Flora (CITES), will come up with measures to combat
illegal trade in endangered species, CITES Secretary
General John Scanlon said at a press briefing in
The conference will be held in Johannesburg between
Sept. 24 and Oct. 5.
"CITES meeting are sometimes robust and intense as
stakes are high. We expect that this conference will
have the largest agenda we ever had. We will talk about
trade controls of over 500 species of animals and
plants," Scanlon said.
He said African elephants will dominate the
discussions with contradicting proposals.
Scanlon said African elephants attract much attention
in terms of proposals for their protection and whether
to allow ivory trade, domestics markets and stockpile of
He said there will also be discussions about sharks,
timber, lions and pangolins.
Scanlon also pointed to a surge in the illegal
trafficking of the pangolin, saying this must be
Scanlon acknowledged progress made in the fight
against wildlife trafficking but said threats still
He stressed the need to address where the animals and
plants are trafficked from, along the way and their
EU pushes further
tightening of wildlife trade rules at global summit
JOHANNESBURG South Africa
(Xinhua) -- The European Union
(EU) said on Saturday it will seek stricter
international measures against wildlife trafficking, in
line with the EU action plan on wildlife trafficking.
The EU issued the statement at the 17th Conference of
the Parties to the UN Convention on Trade in Endangered
Species (CITES CoP17) in Johannesburg.
Representatives from 182 countries will agree to
tangible measures to better protect some of the planet’s
most vulnerable species.
The conference, which opened on Saturday and will
last until October 5, provides a forum for Parties to
review the implementation of the CITES Convention, which
covers more than 35,000 plants and animals, ensuring
that trade remains legal, traceable and sustainable, and
to adopt new binding measures for wildlife protection.
The EU is participating for the first time as a full
member of CITES.
The EU and its member states, represented by
Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and
Fisheries Karmenu Vella, come to Johannesburg with a
united voice and an ambitious agenda, the EU statement
The EU will propose to address wildlife trafficking
and the corruption associated with it, to define
international standards on trade in hunting trophies,
ensuring that such trade can only happen when both legal
It will also propose to include additional marine
(sharks), timber (rosewood), and exotic pet species
(reptiles) in CITES, or upgrading their protection under
CITES (parrots and mammals) as they are subject to
unsustainable or illegal international trade, the
Commissioner Vella said:
"The EU is proud to be a world leader in the fight
against wildlife trafficking. We see the CITES CoP as an
opportunity to get even tougher on the fight against
wildlife trafficking and the corruption that fuels it.
"Through CITES, we will be working with our partners
to implement the new EU Wildlife Action Plan to the
"We are building a global alliance among countries to
protect wildlife where it lives, block points of
transit, and stamp out the illegal demand".
In particular, the EU will support a continuation of
the ban on international trade in ivory and press for
the adoption of strong measures against ivory
trafficking, as well as trafficking affecting
rhinoceroses, tigers, great apes, pangolins and
rosewood, said the statement.
The EU’s efforts are part of a broader approach to
fight illegal trade in wildlife. Earlier this year the
EU agreed on a comprehensive Wildlife Trafficking Action
Plan which will be implemented jointly by the EU
institutions and the member states up to 2020.