The elephant discussion continues

They’ve been talking about elephants for nearly 2 weeks and still nothing has been agreed. Everyone is exhausted!
It boils down to this. The ‘pro-trade’ countries (including Botswana and Namibia) want to achieve a further significant sale of ivory at this Conference of the Parties and ongoing opportunities to sell. The precautionary countries (including Mali and Kenya) want to establish a long-term cessation of trade and, critically, agreement that no further proposals for trade to be brought forward for a number of years. Of course, that’s problematic to say the least for pro-trade countries but, importantly, there is also a move afoot to establish an African Elephant Fund which will deliver financial support to conservation, enforcement and other measures. In this way the security of elephants can be better provided for and assessed and, in theory, could lead to a time when modest ivory trading could start again.
I don’t want to see any elephants killed for their ivory. However I do recognise that if Africa’s most vulnerable elephant populations could be properly protected, the argument to permit low level and tightly monitored trade will be powerfully attractive to the international community.
It now seems likely that today’s elephant debate will be moved to Tuesday when the original proposals and all the redrafting compromises will be on the table.  The possibilities are either that all proposals will be debated, all will be withdrawn or that a compromise will be reached. One thing we pray for is that whatever happens it doesn’t threaten the lives of yet more elephants.


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