Resolution to close domestic ivory trade passed at CITES
A resolution to close all domestic ivory trade has been approved and passed at CITES with strong backing coming from countries including China, US and the UK. Although it is non-binding, it is a crucial step in eliminating the ivory trade once and for all.
In saying this, proposals and backings can change before the week is up. Namibia and Zimbabwe are still seeking once-off international ivory sales, which is being countered by the 29 African countries (that make up the African Elephant Coalition) who are vehemently opposed to it and want all African Elephants to be listed as endangered.
It’s going to be a tense and interesting week. Ideally, the politics and the economics from these roundtables would be removed so that we can just focus on caring for the elephants. But alas, the world of international relations is never, ever, that easy.
While the international ivory trade is banned, elephant poaching continues unabated- a strong reminder that for endangered statuses and domestic trade bans to have a meaningful impact, countries need to demonstrate strong political will and commitment to enforce these bans, and all the other things that come with dealing with it comprehensively: strengthening governance, addressing corruption, improving law enforcement, continuing community and education initiatives, sharing intelligence to target the black market and improve collaboration across organisations. Perhaps most powerfully, Asian governments can continue to suppress demand from Asia.
All in all, it's a sign that things are changing, one talk at a time. Hang in there beautiful elephants, change is coming.