CITES Standing Committee Day1
Nothing on elephants, rhinos or tigers today, but secret ballots very much on the agenda – again! The UK and US expressed concern about the current process – despite the fact that 176 countries are signatories to CITES, a secret ballot can be called with the support of just 11 countries. The UK seemed in favour of raising this threshold to half the countries while the US suggested one third. The US also suggested that using a secret ballot to decide on whether a vote should be carried out by secret ballot should not be possible. Switzerland, India, Mexico, Chile, Australia, Canada and Kenya agreed and Botswana, DRC, Japan, Kuwait and China did not!
When the future security of wild species are in doubt, surely a modern global convention such as CITES should make its decisions in an open and accountable way. Secret ballots intentionally exclude civil society, deny public scrutiny and distance national representatives from the citizens who pay their wages and who, in some cases, elect them.
So this issue will now come to the full CITES Conference of the Parties in March 2013 (Thailand) and we shall see whether openness or secrecy carries the day!
Tomorrow, species under threat come up for debate.. Watch this space and spread the word!
For more info on elephants and the ivory trade visit www.bloodyivory.org