Ivory trade and other controversies

February 25, 2009

The GEF Natural Resources Team Intes you to the 18th GEF Brown Bag Lunch presented by Willem Wijnstekers, Secretary-General of CITES.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009 
12:30-1:30 PM

GEF Secretariat Main Conference Room (6-151)
1776 G Street NW, Washington DC
Food and Drinks will be served



ABSTRACT: Eighteen years after the Washington Convention (CITES) banned the ivory trade, Ministers from the African elephant range states have for the first time in almost two decades achieved a regional consensus on how to address this highly controversial issue. The agreement, reached in The Hague in 2007, authorized Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe to make a single sale of 108 tones of government-owned stocks of ivory (most of it from elephants that died of natural causes during the last 20 years or were culled before 1994 as part of a population control programme).

Over 15 million USD for African elephant conservation and local communities were raised through the sales. The long-running global debate over the African elephant has focused on the benefits that income from ivory sales may bring to conservation and to local communities living side by side with elephants and concerns that such sales may encourage poaching. A number of critics suggest that legal sales of ivory boost illegal trade.

Recent studies concluded that over 312,000 elephants live in these four countries and that their number has increased in recent years. The levels of poaching and illegal trade have been closely monitored by CITES since the first experimental sale took place in 1999. The analysis of seizure data shows no correlation between the controlled ivory sales and an increase in poaching. In fact, levels of illegal ivory trade decreased in the two years following the first one-off sale. Poaching levels appear to be more closely related to governance problems and political instability in certain regions of the continent.

Does it sound familiar? What about illegal logging and fishing?

If interested in attending at the event, please contact Ms. Jaime Cavelier,, Tel. 202-473-4886