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!


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Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
President and Chief Executive Officer
Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
Dr. Elsayed Ahmed Mohamed, Regional Director, Middle East and North Africa
Regional Director, Middle East and North Africa
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation
Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation Program
Faye Cuevas, Esq.
Senior Vice President
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
Executive Vice President
Executive Vice President
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
Director, International Policy
Pauline Verheij, Program Manager, Wildlife Crime
Program Manager, Wildlife Crime
Rikkert Reijnen, Program Director, Wildlife Crime
Program Director, Wildlife Crime
Country Representative, Germany
Country Representative, Germany
Staci McLennan, Director, EU Office
Director, EU Office
Tania McCrea-Steele, Project Lead, Global Wildlife Cybercrime
Project Lead, Global Wildlife Cybercrime
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Consulting Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy