International Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade Adopts Kasane Statement

cites_mike25 March 2015: A little over a year after 46 States adopted the 'London Declaration' on illegal wildlife trade, the 2015 African Elephant Summit and the Kasane Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade convened to take stock of progress and challenges, and determine ways forward with regard to stemming wildlife crime, trafficking and poaching. The Conference adopted the Kasane Statement on Illegal Wildlife Trade.

The Kasane Statement, adopted by 32 countries and building on the London Declaration commitments, calls, inter alia, on the UN General Assembly (UNGA) to effectively address the issue of illegal wildlife trade at its sixty-ninth session, citing that the Group of Friends on 'Poaching and Illicit Wildlife Trafficking' is developing a draft General Assembly resolution. It also welcomes the offer of Viet Nam to host a third high-level conference in late 2016 to review progress and strengthen action.

On the occasion of the Summit, the Programme for Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) released data showing no increase in overall poaching trends in 2014, with levels dropping and then leveling since their 2011 peak. However, MIKE notes that with overall killing rates exceeding natural birth rates, current levels of poaching remain unsustainable.

According to the MIKE figures, there are 22 countries most heavily involved in illegal ivory trade. They include places such as Bangassou, the Central African Republic; Garamba, the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Niassa, Mozambique; Pendjari, Benin; and Selous-Mikumi, Tanzania. Julian Blanc, MIKE programme, highlighted the need to increase efforts to curb the poaching by addressing demand for illegal ivory, strengthening management and ensuring sustainable livelihoods for people who live with elephants. John Scanlon, Secretary-General, CITES, added that there are some encouraging signs, such as in parts of African where overall poaching trends appear to have declined.

The CITES Standing Committee recently recommended that all Parties suspend commercial trade in CITES-listed species with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lao People's Democratic Republic and Nigeria, as these countries have not submitted their National Ivory Action Plans (NIAPs) to the CITES Secretariat by the deadline specified by the Standing Committee.

Some twenty countries were represented at the African Elephant Summit, which was held in Kasane, Botswana, from 23-25 March 2015. The Kasane Conference met on the 25 March. [UN Press Release] [CITES Press Release] [UNEP Press Release] [World Wildlife Fund Kasane Meeting Information] [World Wildlife Fund News] [UK Press Release] [Kasane Statement] [London Declaration] [IISD RS Story on London Declaration]