Jubilation as CITES Votes to Stop Discussions Aimed at Promoting a Framework for Ivory Trade

Jubilation as CITES Votes to Stop Discussions Aimed at Promoting a Framework for
Monday, 26 September, 2016
Johannesburg, South Africa

Conservationists were jubilant this evening as CITES voted once and for all to abandon the controversial Decision Making Mechanisim (DMM) for a process to trade in ivory.

While the decision became a nail-biter in the final moments, those wanting to end any continued consideration for ongoing debate about possible future ivory trade were rewarded with a satisfying finish.

“This is fantastic news, and just the outcome we were hoping for,” said Jason Bell, Elephant Programme Director for IFAW. “There were a few confused moments there and even some unusual voting decisions, but in the end common sense prevailed and the future of elephants will be all the better for it. We are delighted”.

Earlier the United States said that “situations on the ground for elephants have deteriorated even in populations that we once considered safe since the DMM. CITES should rather focus its resources on addressing the urgent threats facing elephants through the African Elephant Action Plan (AEAP) and address demand. Given the lack of progress and current state of crisis we did not believe that the DMM should have been extended”.

African elephants currently occur in 37 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Large tracts of continuous elephant range remain in parts of Central, Eastern and Southern Africa but elephant distribution is becoming increasingly fragmented across the continent. Elephant population trends vary considerably across Africa with some populations in decline, some stable and others growing. It is estimated there are between 450,000 and 550,000 elephants remaining in Africa.

The recommendation by Namibia, South Africa and Botswana to urge CITES Parties to adopt a DMM was roundly rejected by a two-thirds majority, led by outspoken opponents Kenya, Republic of Congo and Chad.

About IFAW

Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues and protects animals around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Photos are available at www.ifawimages.com

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