African Elephant Fund Approves First Projects

21 December 2011: The first official session of the Steering Committee of the African Elephant Action Plan and the African Elephant Fund, created under the auspices of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), held a three-day meeting to allocate funds to six elephant conservation projects. The Committee includes representatives of the range states and donor countries.

The Fund, launched in August 2011 at the 61st meeting of the CITES Standing Committee, has received approximately US$250,000 in contributions from Germany, France and the Netherlands. Its Steering Committee met in Kruger National Park, South Africa, from 12-14 December 2011, to discuss funding of eligible projects.

During the three-day meeting, the members of the Committee - Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Sudan representing the range States, and Germany and the Netherlands on behalf of the donor countries - allocated US$150,000 to six elephant conservation projects, ranging from investigating regional illegal ivory markets to mitigating local human-elephant conflicts.

On the occasion, John Scanlon, CITES Secretary-General, called on governments, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the World Bank, intergovernmental organizations, NGOs, private business and individuals to help conserve African elephants by contributing to the Fund. [CITES News]