Spotlight Europe: Dutch leadership stand up to stop elephant poaching surge

Riekkert Reijnen, Dutch Campaign Officer for IFAW Netherlands hands the Dutch Secretary of State on Environment Mr Hans Bleker our supporter’s petition signatures.Elephant poaching and illegal trade are at their highest levels in decades.

In the recent parliamentary meeting, the Dutch Secretary of State on Environment, Mr Hans Bleker, used strong and unequivocal language to say that legal ivory stockpile sales are currently out of the question.

How about that!

Through our ongoing campaigning and with the help of thousands of concerned supporters, we finally pulled it off! Let’s hope for a snowball effect to get other governments to join the ranks.

This statement from the Dutch secretary of State is not without importance.

The Netherlands brokered the latest ivory stockpile sales in 2007.

The Dutch government held the European Union Presidency in 2004 at the 13th CITES Conference of Parties in Bangkok.

At this conference the framework was set for the decision to allow more than 100 tonnes of ivory to be sold from southern Africa to China and Japan.

That decision was finally made three years later at the 14th CITES Conference of Parties in…. the Netherlands.

The Dutch minister was so proud the Dutch managed to include several control mechanisms in the deal that would prevent illegal ivory to be laundered into the legal ivory markets in Asia.

We now know though these control mechanisms have failed to a large extent.

It shows leadership to admit that the path chosen in the past was the wrong path and change is needed.

Thanks you all for your support to help protect elephants!

--RR

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Experts

Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
IFAW Elephant Expert
IFAW Elephant Expert
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
James Isiche, Regional Director, East Africa
Regional Director, East Africa
Jason Bell, Program Director, Elephants Regional Director, South Africa
Program Director, Elephants, Regional Director, South Africa
Peter Pueschel, Director, International Environmental Agreements
Director, International Environmental Agreements
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Regional Director, South Asia