JOHANNESBURG, December 1– African elephant range states want the West to be forced to inform the African Elephant Coalition on the status of the legality of their domestic ivory markets and to close those that contribute to poaching or illegal trade as a matter of urgency, Kenya’s Daily Nation reports.
This plan was outlined in a proposal submitted by Kenya, Congo, Burkina Faso and Niger on behalf of the 29 member countries of the Coalition at the Cites’ (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) 69th meeting of the Standing Committee in Geneva, Switzerland on Thursday.
The European Union (EU) and Japan were the targets of the plan as they are continuing to play an active role in the ivory trade despite amendments to wildlife trade regulations.
According to Cites parties the EU and Japan have an obligation to ensure domestic trade in ivory does not contribute to poaching or to illegal trade.
Due to continuing concerns over this issue the African Elephant range states want the two countries included within the Cites National Ivory Action Plans (NIAPs) evaluation process that identifies Parties of “primary concern”, Parties of “secondary concern” and Parties of “importance to watch” as part of the fight against the illegal trade in ivory, which incorporates strengthening controls over the trade and markets.
The lack of regulation over products rather than just whole tusks has presented severe challenges in identifying and preventing illegal ivory flows, the African countries argue.
“The EU adopted new guidance effective July, 1 2017, to prohibit the re-export of stockpiled raw ivory. But there remains significant concern because of the EU’s retention of a major domestic internal market, including trade in ivory antiques where intra-EU commerce does not require any Cites permits or documentation,” noted the African coalition.
Japan, which has a significant ivory market, counters that its domestic market does not contain illegal ivory and that the recent Cites recommendation on closure of domestic markets does not apply.
– African News Agency (ANA)