CITES Standing Committee day 2

After the extraordinary scenes yesterday (the multiple and, in the view of some, unconstitutional votes on Secret Ballots) today has been relatively calm.

Elephant issues will start to come up tomorrow….as will rhino….

However, today one thing struck me.

In our modern world we increasingly rely on the internet. Messages and documents can fly back and forth in the blink of an eye – sometimes.

The CITES Secretariat is rightly committed to improving the efficiency of the Convention but… a word of caution.

In our drive to use email and the internet we must make sure that some are not left behind. It’s all very well suggesting the CITES Permits can be issued electronically, that Annual Reports can be issued electronically, that CITES Notifications can be issued electronically… but what happens when electricity is in short supply, power cuts are frequent, and stable access to the internet a dream, not a reality?

Many CITES Parties cannot rely on a robust technological infrastructure and so, until that situation changes, we must make sure that all CITES processes accommodate this reality and ensure that some Parties are not disenfranchised.

Much of the world’s biodiversity resides in some of the world’s poorest countries where electricity, let alone the internet, cannot be taken for granted.

So let’s make sure the CITES family remains as user-friendly as possible for all its Members.

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