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MEPs’ priorities for safeguarding endangered species

 

As wildlife trafficking is now the fourth largest black market and endangers many species, the EU should help curb demand, inter alia with an EU-wide ban on trade in ivory, say MEPs in a resolution voted on Thursday. 

This sets out MEPs’ priorities for the 17th Conference of Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES, Johannesburg, 24 September–5 October), which the EU will attend for the first time as a party to the convention.

The resolution, passed by a show of hands, sets out recommendations for key items on the agenda of the forthcoming COP17 conference. The EU’s accession to the CITES convention opens the way for EU-wide measures to tackle wildlife trafficking.

MEPs underline that strong and effective anti-corruption measures are essential to fight wildlife trafficking, as corruption plays a part at every stage in the wildlife trade chain.

They also urge EU member states to adopt EU-wide legislation to curb this trade, by making it illegal to import, export, sell and buy wild animals or plants possessed in violation of the law of the country or origin or transit. In particular, the EU should ban the export and import of ivory and prohibit all commercial sales and purchases of ivory within the EU, they say, noting that the illegal killing of African elephants has doubled over the past decade, leading to a decline in elephant populations across Africa.

As many species hunted for trophies are dwindling, MEPs back a European Commission initiative to agree on global guidelines within CITES on trophy hunting.

EP delegation

 MEPs Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy (ALDE, NL) and Catherine Bearder (ALDE, UK) will participate in the Johannesburg conference from 23 to 25 September.

Note to editors

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, more than 23,000 species, making up about 30% of the 79,837 species assessed by IUCN, are threatened with extinction.

Wildlife trafficking has become the fourth largest black market, after the drugs, people and arms markets, says the resolution.

Germany, Sweden and the UK have already banned the export of raw ivory.

Germany, France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Austria, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Denmark have already decided to not grant any export permits for pre-Convention raw ivory.

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