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Kenya wins big at key Geneva meeting on the protection of endangered species

The Kenya delegation, which was led by Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism Joseph Boinnet (pictured), on Monday oversaw a spirited fight against a joint proposal by Southern African Development Community (SADC) to trade in their ivory stockpiles/COURTESY

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 27 – Kenya’s resolve to protect elephants has received a major boost at the 18th Session of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, that was held in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Kenya delegation, which was led by Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism Joseph Boinnet, on Monday oversaw a spirited fight against a joint proposal by Southern African Development Community (SADC) to trade in their ivory stockpiles.

The proposal, according to Boinnet was voted down by 101 of the 183 treaty members.

“This was after a spirited fight put up by Kenya with support from the African Elephant Coalition, the EU, USA, Latin American and Caribbean States and other like-minded countries,” he said in a statement sent to Newsrooms on Tuesday.

With this, he explained that, “domestic ivory markets existing in some countries will henceforth be strictly regulated by CITES after Parties agreed to introduced new rules to require countries that still have these markets to report to CITES on a regular basis the status of their stocks and use. This requirement did not exist previously.”

Also rejected was a proposal by Zambia to down-list its elephant populations from Appendix 1 to Appendix 2 – to allow the South African country to sell raw African elephant Ivory for commercial purposes under certain conditions.

This, the CAS said, would have undermined recommendations to close domestic Ivory markets.

“Although a proposal by Kenya, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon, Libera, Niger, Nigeria, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic and Togo to Up-list the four Elephant populations in southern Africa to Appendix 1 from the current Appendix 2, therefore, prohibiting all international commercial trade in African ivory was rejected by the parties in attendance, Kenya and the African Elephant Coalition sent a strong message to the world on their uncompromising stance against ivory trade,” he asserted.

He noted that while it has been “an excellent outcome for the African elephant at CITES COP-18” intense challenges in improving livelihoods, law enforcement, and closure of domestic ivory markets remain.

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Kenya also sought to get protection status by listing all nine Giraffe subspecies in Appendix II and all Elephants in Appendix I and preventing any downlisting of elephants or reopening of the ivory trade, a move that will now allow trade monitoring and population status.

“I commend the delegation of Kenya in Geneva, which consists of government and no-state actors for their teamwork and tireless efforts that ensured that we were successful in all these endeavors,” Boinnet said, and also thanked Kenya’s international friends from the 32-member African Elephant Coalition, the European Union, US, China, India, Israel, Sri Lanka group of Latin America and Caribbean states, Arab League among others, which he described as “like-minded countries for their overwhelming support in protecting vulnerable species.”

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