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 user 2007-06-04 at 10:37:00 am Views: 35
  • #18262

    Nations meet to protect wildlife
    and the ivory trade come under the spotlight as the Convention on
    International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) summit opens.Just
    prior to the opening, a committee voted that a limited sale of
    stockpiled ivory from southern Africa to Japan could go ahead.

    African countries want a 20-year ban on trading ivory.The two-week
    meeting in The Hague will also seek protection for the sawfish, cedar,
    and some corals.

    Conservation groups are targeting China’s tiger farming business.
    three-yearly Cites meetings set restrictions on trade in species
    regarded as endangered or threatened.This year’s summit on the 32-year
    old treaty brings 175 national delegations to The Hague, along with
    other UN agencies, and conservation and animal welfare organisations.

    Opposing visions
    Two starkly different approaches to the largely banned ivory trade will be up for discussion.

    Threatened organisms listed on three appendices depending on level of risk
    Appendix 1 – all international trade banned
    Appendix 2 – international trade monitored and regulated
    Appendix 3 – trade bans by individual governments, others asked to assist
    “Uplisting” – moving organism to a more protective appendix, “downlisting” – the reverse
    Conferences of the Parties (COPs) held every three years
    Cites administered by UN Environment Programme (Unep)

    and Mali are seeking a total 20-year moratorium, while Botswana and
    Namibia are seeking increased exports.Cites has twice before granted
    southern African countries the right to export ivory from stockpiles to
    Asia.Concerns over mechanisms for monitoring the trade had prevented
    the second sale, approved in 2002, from taking place.But on the eve of
    the meeting, a technical committee decided that mechanisms to monitor
    poaching in Africa were sufficiently effective, and that Japan had
    established proper safeguards to ensure only the designated ivory was
    imported. South Africa, Botswana and Namibia will sell 60 tonnes to the
    Asian nation.Conservationists believe any extension in legal exports
    will fuel the already substantial illegal trade.”Every time Cites even
    talks about relaxing the ivory ban, poaching goes up,” said Peter
    Pueschel of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (Ifaw).A recent
    report from the wildlife trade monitoring organisation Traffic said
    there were now 92 seizures of illegal ivory seizures each month.

    All at sea
    from a string of defeats at the International Whaling Commission in
    Alaska, Japan is trying another route to an expansion of whaling by
    asking Cites to review restrictions on trading whale meat.Conservation
    and animal welfare organisations are also alarmed by China’s bid for a
    relaxation of rules on trading products from tiger farms which have
    sprung up in recent decades.”If you open up a legal trade in tiger
    parts, it opens up a huge demand which can obviously cause problems for
    the wild populations,” observed Dave Eastham, head of wildlife at the
    World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA).

    The list of
    life-forms for which governments are seeking extra protection is
    dominated by marine organisms.The sawfish, hunted for its spectacular
    rostrum (snout), the porbeagle shark, and the spiny dogfish (whose meat
    is sold in British fish and chip shops under the name rock salmon) are
    all being depleted fast.Red and pink corals, extracted principally in
    Asia and the Mediterranean and exported mainly to the US for use in
    necklaces, are also on the target list of conservation-minded
    governments.However, there is opposition to listing some of these
    species, notably from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
    which feels effective fisheries management would be a better and less
    bureaucratic option.On land, protection is being sought for some
    rosewood and cedar trees. Pau Brazil, whose wood is used in
    top-of-the-range violin bows, may also gain protection.One long-term
    issue likely to divide delegates is a proposal that development and
    poverty concerns should be taken into account when deciding Cites