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Bold decisions against illegal wildlife trade

Significant decisions concerning elephants, cheetahs, rhinos, pangolins, sharks, tigers, high value timber and other species have been taken at the 66th meeting of the CITES Standing Committee in Geneva.


A record number of representatives from government and non-governmental organisations attended the event between 11 and 15 January. It concluded with a vast array of outcomes to further strengthen the conservation of these precious species through the regulation of legal trade and the prevention of illegal trade.


Decisions adopted by the Standing Committee addressed enhanced legislation, enforcement, regulatory measures, better science and new and innovative approaches to traceability, as well as livelihoods.


“It was a good week for wildlife with the Committee taking well focused decisions on compliance, enforcement, financing, legislation, livelihoods and sustainability,” said CITES Secretary-General, John E. Scanlon. “We are seeing an unprecedented level of cooperation in implementing CITES both as it affects strictly regulating legal trade and combating illegal trade,” he underlined.


Substantial progress has been made under CITES to combat the illegal trade in ivory, particularly through the preparation and implementation of National Ivory Action Plans (NIAPs) by 19 key countries implicated in the trade.


The Standing Committee agreed that the NIAPs of China (including that of Hong Kong SAR), Kenya, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam had been substantially achieved. It commended these Parties for their efforts and encouraged them to continue.


However, in the face of ongoing high levels of poaching of African elephants, the body agreed that the massive collective effort underway to reverse this trend must be maintained. The 14 Parties still implementing NIAPs were thus urged to enhance their efforts towards delivery.


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