Elephant Action League and other 40 international non-governmental organizations sign letter to the European Union urging to suspend any export of raw ivory and to support a common EU position to this effect at the April 10th Committee meeting on Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora.
March 23, 2015
European Union Ministers in charge of CITES,
M. Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs & Fisheries
Copy: CITES Management Authorities Subject: raw ivory re-export from the European Union.
Distinguished Ministers, Commissioner,
Tens of thousands of elephants are poached every year for their ivory to supply the Asian market. Most range states make tremendous efforts to protect live elephants. At the same time, ivory trade has expanded within the European Union, making the EU the largest exporter of so called preconvention ivory on the worldwide market.
The main destination of these increasing raw ivory exportations, driving demand and thus accelerating poaching, is China. Some EU Member States, including the United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden and France, have already decided to suspend the export of raw ivory. However, because of the common EU market, these welcome decisions will remain insufficient as long as they are not adopted in all other EU countries.
Indeed, the sale of half a ton of tusks on March 7, 2015 in France has shown that auction houses and intermediaries openly offer Asian customers the ability to reroute raw ivory through EU countries where export is still permitted. We are concerned that the increasing and poorly controlled export of alleged legal ivory from the EU is contributing to driving the insatiable demand for ivory and the largely illegal trade in China and other Asian countries.
It is contrary to the recognition by the EU and the international community that demand for ivory must urgently be reduced, in order to save the remaining elephant populations. Moreover, there are concerns that certificates issued by EU Member States are re-used in importing countries to launder ivory from poached elephants. For instance, tusks sold recently in France are intended to be transformed into carved ivory; these transformations prevent officials from verifying that the final articles correspond to the information on their certificates (weight and curve of the tusks, for example).
The EU has already issued guidelines banning the re-export of most rhino horns after recognizing its role in the increasing illegal trade and poaching. Similar measures are urgently needed for ivory.
Therefore, the 41 Non Governmental Organizations signatories to this letter urge you to suspend any export of raw ivory and to support a common EU position to this effect at the April 10th Committee meeting on Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora.
In February 2014, the European Union signed the London Declaration and pledged to take action to eradicate the supply and demand for illegal wildlife products. The upcoming ministerial conference on wildlife trafficking in Kasane, Botswana, will be a new opportunity for the international community to express its determination to fight against wildlife crime. Without a doubt the suspension of the exportation of all raw ivory from the EU is an urgently required and concrete action that will reduce trafficker’s room for maneuver and contribute to the protection of elephants.
We thank you for your support.
Robin des Bois Charlotte Nithart, coordinator*Prowildlife,
Daniela Freyer, Germany Amboseli Trust for Elephant, Dr. Cynthia Moss, Kenya Animals Asia, Jill Robinson, Hong Kong Animal Defenders International, Jan Creamer, United Kingdom Association pour la Protection des Animaux Sauvages (ASPAS), Marc Giraud, France Awely, Des animaux et des hommes, Renaud Fulconis, France Born Free Foundation, Adam Roberts, United Kingdom The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Rob Brandford, Kenya The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, Rosalind Reeve, United Kingdom ElephantVoices, Dr. Joyce Poole and Petter Granli, Norway / USA, Elephant Action League, Andrea Crosta, USA, Eastern Caribbean Coalition for Environmental Awareness (ECCEA), Lesley Sutty, France Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), Mary Rice, United Kingdom Environmental Protection & Education Association (EPEA), Dr Mohammed Ismail, Egypt Ecologie sans frontière, Franck Laval, France Fondation Brigitte Bardot, Christophe Marie, France Fondation Franz Weber, Vera Weber, Switzerland Fondation 30 Millions d’Amis, Reha Hutin, France Friends of the Elephant (Vrienden van de Olifant), Rob Faber, Netherlands Gallmann Memorial Foundation, Kuki Gallmann, Kenya Hong Kong for Elephants, Alex Hofford, Hong Kong Humane Society International, Teresa Telecky, USA International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, France L214, Brigitte Gothiere, France Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux, Allain Bougrain-Dubourg, France Lilongwe Wildlife Trust, Jonathan Vaughan, Malawi Mille Traces, Jean-Marie Ouary, France OSCAP (Outraged South African Citizens Against Rhino Poaching), Allison Thomson, South Africa Pan African Wildlife Conservation Network, Pat Awori, Kenya Performing Animal Welfare Society, Catherine Doyle, USA Planète Tigre, Frédéric Geffroy, France Rettet die Elefanten Afrikas e.V, Daniela Köstner, Germany Save The Elephants, Dr. Iain Douglas-Hamilton, United Kingdom / Kenya Société Nationale de Protection de la Nature (SNPN), Jean Untermaier, France Sens Afrique Solidaire, Delphine Thibaut, France Species Survival Network (SSN), Will Travers WildAid, Peter Knights, USA Wildlife Conservation Society, Dr Susan Lieberman, USA Wildlife Friends International, Edwin Wiek, Nederlands Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand, Edwin Wiek, Thaïland
* Please reply at Robin des Bois 14, rue de l’Atlas 75019 Paris – France firstname.lastname@example.org 3