A wrap-up of IFAW accomplishments at IUCN World Congress


As we prepare for the one of the most important international meetings on our calendar—the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) CoP17 in Johannesburg, South Africa—our spirits are high, buoyed by many successes at the International Union for Conservation of Nature World Congress in Honolulu, Hawaii last week, an important pre-cursor to CITES.

We celebrated two successes before the meeting even convened.

First, IUCN Members passed through online voting the IFAW-led resolution protecting pangolins, the world’s most trafficked animal. We brought with us two pangolin experts—Thai Van Nguyen, Executive Director of Vietnam Saves Wildlife, and Darren Pietersen, Vice-Chairman of the African Pangolin Working Group, and hosted a panel titled “Pangolins in Peril: How to save the most illegally traded mammal in the world” along with partner groups Natural Resources Defense Council, Freeland, and Humane Society International. The panel featured engaging conversation from pangolin experts from around the world, including our North American Regional Director, Jeff Flocken.

On the blog we ran a conversation with pangolin experts Van Nguyen and Pietersen. This motion passage bodes well for our position to protect pangolin species at CITES.

IFAW has been campaigning for over 15 years to end the cruel and exploitative canned lion hunting industry in South Africa. 

The South African High Court ruled on constitutional grounds that a ban on captive breeding would negatively impact the livelihoods of the breeders. (We have seen a similar ruling more recently in favour of rhino breeders/ranchers, again where appeals against Government protection measures have been successful.)

Now, with this recent IUCN motion passing online,the South African Government is pressured on the international front to revisit this issue.

Next came two separate victories for whales, from an IUCN motion condemning Japan’s whaling program and a surprise announcement from the Obama Administration to expand the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.

READ: Why IUCN’s World Congress in Hawaii matters

I had the opportunity to contribute to a roundtable discussion during the congress about “conservation, animal welfare and animal rights” and you can read the blog on how IFAW defines itself in larger universe of animal protection and conservation.

After all the IFAW delegation returned home, IUCN members passed a motion after a weekend debate to protect elephants from poaching by closing ivory markets. This also is great news as we go into CITES and oppose split-listing to give elephants equal protections across Africa.

I look forward to using the momentum we have from the IUCN World Congress and having a very successful CITES CoP in a couple weeks.


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Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
President and Chief Executive Officer
Beth Allgood, Country Director, United States
Country Director, United States
Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Senior Advisor, Policy Development
Faye Cuevas, Esq.
Senior Vice President
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
Jason Bell, Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Jimmiel Mandima at IFAW
Deputy Vice President of Conservation
Executive Vice President
Executive Vice President
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
Director, International Policy
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Marine Conservation
Rikkert Reijnen, Program Director, Wildlife Crime
Program Director, Wildlife Crime