CITES Standing Committee Day 3

After the shock of an early morning vote at the CITES Standing Committee meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, which led to the exclusion of some of the world’s leading wildlife conservation non-governmental organisations including the Species Survival Network, Born Free Foundation, Worldwide Fund for Nature, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Humane Society International, Environmental Investigation Agency, Elephant Family, and numerous others, from the debate on elephant poaching and the impact of the international illegal trade in ivory, a second vote at the start of the afternoon session reversed the previous decision and the Born Free Foundation, SSN and others are back in the room.

Common sense has prevailed! The previous expulsion of NGOs – the representatives of civil society and tens of millions of members of the public – was a major error of judgement. It cast a shadow over the work of the Convention and, had it persisted, would have diminished its ability to bring real conservation benefits to a range of threatened species.

The exact details of how this more enlightened second vote came about are unclear, but the Standing Committee has gone some considerable way to restoring its reputation for progressive inclusivity to the lasting benefit of species that are or may be threatened by international trade.

For an full account of how events unfolded yesterday see press release.

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Will

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