Dear Friends,

So much for CITES being a serious international forum which considers the weighty issues surrounding the trade in threatened species and which decides, based on sound analysis of science and trade data, whether or not to implement binding global trade control rules.

Today the Convention ‘lost the plot’.

A cabal of Ministers from a minority of countries entered the fray. Key, powerful pro-ivory trade ministerial leaders from Namibia, Botswana and Zambia joined forces to pressure the dialogue to accept massive new sales of ivory and reduce the so-called ‘breathing space’ (the moratorium proposed by Kenya and Mali) to the bare minimum.

It’s the most bizarre day I’ve encountered in almost 2 decades of attending CITES. Technocrats and civil servants who have worked themselves into the ground over the last two weeks were found wandering aimlessly around because meetings started late and adjourned early to accommodate Ministerial negotiations.

It’s pure politics and the end result is that elephants and ivory issues will now not be discussed in Committee 1 but will have to come directly to the full plenary before the debate is heard. And who knows what we will be presented with…

I am outraged at the entire process, the way that the elephant range States seem to have been sidelined by European Union grandstanding and the way that the objective work of the Convention has been jettisoned for political expediency.

So (don’t hold your breath) this will come back on Thursday morning.


One Response to “It’s a CIRCUS”

  1. Kristal Parks Says:

    Hi Will,
    I can’t thank you enough for your daily updates. I check for them almost hourly!! I am on pens and needles waiting to find out what will be decided about the elephants. I can’t sleep at night worried about it. Thank you for taking the time to let people know what is happening because I can’t find any other web sites who are being so quick as you. Thank you for the voice you are presented at CITES.
    Please say “hi” to Adam Roberts.
    For elephants,
    Kristal Parks