CITES Elephant update:

28th November 2017


Members of the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) attending the CITES 69th Standing Committee in Geneva, today saw the first elephant related discussions of the conference. DSWF is working with a team of expert campaigners, lawyers, biologists and fellow conservationists to fight for the toughest protection possible for elephants in the international arena. DSWF has also been taking a principal and key role in supporting the African Elephant Coalition (AEC), a group of African Elephant Range states in their mission to see the closure of Domestic Ivory Markets and in ensuring the development of robust guidelines for Ivory stockpiles.

Robert Hepworth, DSWF senior advisor for matters on CITES, and former Chair of the Standing Committee provided us with a live summary below on the matter of stockpiles and the subsequent decisions made at todays’ meeting:-

The clear and swift decision at the Standing Committee this morning for the Secretariat to prepare comprehensive guidance on ivory stockpiles is very welcome. It should help those Parties who want to follow the example set by more than twenty countries and destroy their ivory stockpiles as a signal against poaching and smuggling. Equally it will also help those countries who prefer to store their ivory by giving them more tools to do this safely and effectively.”

Today’s decision would have been impossible without the collective offer made by 9 voluntary conservation organisations, including the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation and Fondation Franz Weber (FFW), to collectively donate $20,000 towards the Secretariat’s work to finalise the ivory stockpile guidance.

This will deliver a longstanding commitment which was first agreed by the Standing Committee in 2014, and endorsed at the CITES Conference of Parties in Johannesburg last year.  It is important that the technical material already available through the Elephant Protection Initiative and other bodies  is absorbed in official CITES guidance. This will help elephant range and former consumer states to handle their ivory effectively, using the best available technical options including those for the destruction of ivory stocks. We hope that this guidance can be completed in time for the next meeting of the Standing Committee in Sochi in October 2018.

As the conference continues this week we hope to see similarly encouraging results for elephants on all other related issues…