FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 29, 2014
Standing Committee Discussions Roll into This Year’s African Wildlife Consultative Forum
Washington, D.C. – SCI Foundation recently returned from the 65th Standing Committee of the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES). The Committee serves to provide guidance for improving implementation of the Convention, which governs regulations overseeing international trade of protected plants and wildlife.
“These meetings allow SCI Foundation to participate in international wildlife conservation discussions and learn which issues are of greatest concern to the countries in which we work. Political pressures from anti-hunting groups are influencing policy decisions, and we are even seeing this happen at CITES. We are dedicated to ensuring that plausible, science-based solutions are used for decisions made by CITES, and that political agendas are not mandating the important decisions that CITES oversees” SCI Foundation President, Joe Hosmer said.
This year’s Standing Committee meeting heavily focused on alleviating illegal trade in wildlife. Many governments do not have adequate laws to implement the Convention and enforce the international agreements reached. A specialized working group reported the results of a capacity building needs assessment, which provided insight into the struggles some countries are experiencing. One common finding was that developing nations need assistance with creating and enforcing laws.
The need for better capacity building and law enforcement, the progress with conservation of elephants, rhinoceros and lions, and several other CITES-related topics will be further discussed at the 13th African Wildlife Consultative Forum (AWCF) in November. The annual forum allows representatives from Sub-Saharan African nations to share their conservation efforts and voice their wildlife management concerns or needs.
“The AWCF has become an annual summit that provides the rare opportunity for Africa governments and NGO representatives to meet and discuss leading wildlife issues. Capacity building, CITES regulations, stricter domestic measures, and hunting based conservation are common themes of each forum,” Hosmer said.
International meetings are paramount to SCI Foundation’s work and the issues discussed at the Standing Committee provided helpful feedback on top issues to address.
“The entire world shares the goal of conserving biodiversity, but views on how to conserve species are often polarized. Africa harnesses the value of their wildlife through different forms of tourism, including sustainable use, which is what CITES and the AWCF are all about.” said Matt Eckert, SCI Foundation’s Deputy Director of Conservation.
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