It Starts Tomorrow but It’s Already Begun
Today the Standing Committee of CITES met. This committee oversees the work of the Convention between the Conferences of the Parties. But what a day!
Japan was approved as a trading partner for ivory.
China was refused the same status by a tied vote of the Standing Committee (it could not have been closer)
Then the MIKE baseline data was approved (that’s the data that’s been gathered over the last 6 years supposedly to Monitor the Illegal Killing of Elephants – hence MIKE) which means that the sale of 60 tonnes of ivory approved in 2002 but delayed until now can go ahead. Pro-ivory traders were breaking open the champagne!
The EU was feeble. Despite opinion polls indicating that over 80% of the public supported a full ban and a recent overwhelming vote against trade by the European Parliament, the EU delegation, headed by Germany, simply saw no problems in approving the conditions for trade – despite the fact that poaching is widespread, ivory seizures are at a record high, law enforcement officers are being killed and the price of ivory is up to $800 a kilo!
On other matters, Peru escaped full international sanctions by agreeing to reduce its export quota for Big Leaf Mahogany. Up to 90% of timber coming from Peru is illegally logged!
Tomorrow the Opening Ceremony will be preceded by a special handing over of 30 new, wireless enabled Dell laptops to delegates from some of the world’s poorest nations. The laptops have been sponsored by the Born Free Foundation and The Species Survival Network to help delegates fully participate in a Convention that effects the future of their wildlife. One or two people have made some very rude and unwarranted remarks about this extraordinary ‘no strings attached’, and regardless of their positon on wildlife issues offer of help, but most people have welcomed it with open arms.
Sorry for the delay in today’s blog but more, for sure, tomorrow.