News from The Hague in the run up to CITES Conference of the Parties

Dear Friends

First day of real activity in the build up to CITES.  I attended a press conference, together with other representatives of the Species Survival Network (SSN) at the International Press Centre in Brussels today (29th May 2007).  The hot CITES issues that were previewed in this month’s Geographical magazine are the topics of conversation as the full Conference approaches in just five days time.  Information on these and the other issues to be discussed at the 14th Conference of the Parties were handed out to international press representatives at the Centre and at the other IPC nearby.

Already in The Hague, the Conference is the talk of the town.  Delegates are flying in and, in particular, those involved in elephant issues, since starting tomorrow, the African Elephant Range States Dialogue meeting will begin to discuss what is probably one of the single-most controversial subjects under discussion – whether to allow Botswana and Namibia permission to trade in vast quantities of ivory thus potentially fundamentally undermining what remains of the ivory trade ban introduced in 1989.

Related and sad news from Kenya is that last week three rangers and four poachers were killed in a shoot-out in the north-east of the country.  The ivory trade is a bloody business.

More to come tomorrow direct from The Hague in the lead up to the Conference.

Blogging off


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