Some good, bad and ugly decisions – summing up CoP 14

Dear All,
My apologies for the delay in getting this final blog out – the end of the CITES conference was more complicated than usual, not least because I had to drive back from the The Hague on the closing day to attend the Born Free Ball in London!
So what can we make of this conference?
Good decisions for bobcat, tiger, some of the north African gazelle species, and slow loris…
Bad decisions for the main tree species and the two sharks.
Ugly decisions for the leopard and rhino.
The budget was approved finally; the strategic plan was controversial; and the discussion as to whether the implementation of CITES decisions should be influenced by livelihoods issues rumbles on.
The EU did not, in my view, achieve its aims (sharks lost, timber withdrawn) and the host government of The Netherlands cannot claim to have put on a successful CoP since enormous prices, dodgy technology and a convention centre that was barely able to cope, undermined their attempt.
As for elephants, everyone is now waiting to see what will actually happen on the ground. Will the sale of ivory approved by the Parties (and which is on top of the sales approved by Standing Committee just two weeks before) signal a poaching green light and increase insecurity, poaching and organised crime? Or will the hard-won ‘resting period’ put a smoke blanket over the trade, reduce illegal killing of elephants and bring a time of relative peace? We shall see.
Many tens of thousands of people tuned in to the Born Free website during the CoP. I hope these blogs have given a taste of what has been going on from my personal perspective.
CITES will not return for another 3 years. I pray that this will not be too late for some of the species that missed out on better protection this time around.
P.S. Born Free will not be resting for 3 years and so if you would like to help our work in any way (by joining, donating, adopting, or whatever) please do get in touch.

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