VIDEO - CITES Bangkok day one - politics, politicians, ivory and democracy

The International Fund for Animal Welfare's Peter Pueschel gives us an update from the floor of CITES CoP 16. 

Voters went to the polls on Sunday March 3rd in a municipal election here in Bangkok, Thailand.

At the same time some 2000 delegates were gathering at the Queen Sikirit Convention Centre in downtown Bangkok to vote on the future of polar bears, sharks, tigers and elephants at CITES.

The ceremony was opened by Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra with a ceremonial striking of the gong.

As with so many CITES Conferences of the Parties in the past controversy wasn’t long in arriving.

The Thai PM said in her speech that her government would “work towards amending the national legislation with the goal of putting an end to ivory trade and to be in line with international norms.”

What exactly that means is open to interpretation. Does that mean stopping the illegal trade in ivory?

Does it mean closing one of the largest domestic markets for ivory in the world?

If so, when and how?

While IFAW welcomes the news that things will improve in Thailand we’ll be watching closely.

As long as elephants are being killed for their ivory there should be no legal ivory trade.

The second key issue to arise on the day was the matter of secret ballots.

There are two proposals to stop the practice of secretive ballots at CITES in the name of transparency.

The proposals from the EU, Mexico and Chile are supported by the US, the Democratic Republic of Congo and numerous other countries. In opposition both China and Japan spoke extensively in favour of keeping secret ballots, also supported by some countries.

Their argument is that secret ballots allow smaller countries to withstand pressure from countries who might use their economic might to influence countries to do their will.

On the other side is the reality that delegates here are speaking on behalf of their citizens and should be held accountable by the citizens they represent.

If, for example, a majority of citizens in a particular country are in favour of stopping the international trade in polar bears, don’t they have the right to know their representatives are properly representing their interests?

The discussion continues today. IFAW will continue to advocate for openness and transparency and most of all, wildlife.


All the latest news available from the @Action4IFAW Storify feed below.

IFAW at CITES CoP 16 Bangkok

This is a collection of filings from International Fund for Animal Welfare staff or third-party posts of note discussing the 16th Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species happening March 3-14 in Bangkok, Thailand.

Storified by action4ifaw· Mon, Mar 04 2013 09:26:15

CITES Bangkok: navigating complicated policy waters in pursuit of a better future for wildlifeThe 16th meeting of the Convention of the Parties (CoP16) to the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Faun...
An overview of the International Fund for Animal Welfare delegation priorities.
How to stay up to date on CoP 16 IFAW news from CITES in Bangkok, ThailandThe 16th Conference of the Parties (CoP) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species has begun here in Bangkok, Thailand.
Follow @IFAWEU for the deep dive, or @Action4IFAW for headlines.
Use our "Unveiling the Ivory Trade" iPad app to help sound the alarm for elephantsIn 2011 an estimated 25,000 to 50,000 elephants were killed to supply the increasing demand for elephant ivory around the world.
Free iPad app demystifying why the trade in ivory is a threat to elephants.
An Illicit Trail of African Ivory to China"We call them bloody teeth," said Xing, a furniture maker and ivory trafficker who is part of a shadowy trade that has revived calls for ...
IFAW's Grace Ge Gabriel is quoted.
Konferenz zur Rettung bedrohter Tiere - morgenmagazin - ZDFmediathek - ZDF MediathekMit Beginn der Artenschutzkonferenz in der thailändischen Hauptstadt ist auch für viele seltene Tiere der Moment der Entscheidung gekomme...
German video news report with IFAW's Dr. Ralf Sonntag.
Analysis: CITES four decades onFour decades ago, the world adopted a new trading regime. It didn't cover agriculture, manufacturing or finance, but one of the world's m...
IFAW CEO Azzedine Downes gets the last word.
DOWNLOAD: "Elephants & Ivory" highlights stubborn hurdles still remaining in elephant conservationIf the international conservation community is serious about protecting and conserving the world's remaining elephants, it needs fundamen...
You can view the PDF directly in the post from a PC, smartphone or tablet.
At this CITES, let's get down to the real business for elephantsAt this year's 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP16) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITE...
On International Polar Bear Day, ask why 400 more should dieWith an estimated 20,000-25,000 polar bears remaining in the wild, we continue to ask why 400 bears are unnecessarily killed each year fo...
Story contains an infographic.
CITES CoP 16 Bangkok: several vulnerable shark populations need urgent protectionThe rate at which sharks are vanishing from the world's oceans is reaching a tipping point. Many shark populations have declined to a mer...
Let's take polar bears off of the trading blockThe planet's remaining 20,000-25,000 polar bears are headed towards the precipice of extinction-one part at a time. While habitat loss du...
Save imperiled polar bears from catastrophic climate change, trophy hunting, and commercial tradeA new report published in the journal Conservation Letters reveals that anthropogenic global warming is wreaking havoc on polar bears. Th...
As CITES approaches, work continues to alleviate attacks on shark finsShortly after the dawn of 2013, a federal judge thankfully denied an attempt to delay implementation of California's law banning restaura...
On World Animal Day, we need strong proposals for wildlife protection at CITESProposals for items to be taken up by the 16th meeting of the Convention of the Parties (CoP16) to the Convention on the International Tr...

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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
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Faye Cuevas, Esq.
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Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
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Pauline Verheij, Program Manager, Wildlife Crime
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Staci McLennan, Director, EU Office
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Project Lead, Global Wildlife Cybercrime
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