International Legislation and Policy Framework

Introduction

The Ivory Education Institute is an official observer at the 18th meeting of the parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. About 4,000 official delegates, observers, media and interested individuals have gathered in Geneva in a UN-secured site for the 11-day conference that may have great bearing on the future status of objects made from or with ivory.. The Ivory Institute was delighted and surprised, then, that the European Commission invited us to share our concerns at a special meeting BEFORE the opening of the Conference. Because we were unsure of how long we would be allowed to speak to the EU representatives, we prepared a written statement. I thought you might be interested in what we have given the EU to consider. 

SA Hunters and Game Conservation Association studied the progress reported in respect of the Integrated Strategic Management of Rhinoceros, as well as the proposed legislative changes by DEA with regard to rhino horn trade for personal purposes. This most certainly is a very complex matter, making it difficult to anticipate all potential outcomes of options available to government and the private sector to secure the continued existence of rhino as species for future generations.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international agreement between governments to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. South Africa hosted the 17th international conference of parties (COP17) in Johannesburg at the International Convention Centre from 24 September to 5 October this year. It was the largest gathering of CITES in its 43 year history with the participation of 152 governments and more than 3,500 people. Over 500 species were affected by decisions taken on 62 proposals that various member states tabled at COP17.

In compliance with signed international conservation treaties and agreements as well as national legislation, the Government has a responsibility to ensure conservation and sustainable utilisation of South Africa’s biodiversity resources. As part of this responsibility, the Scientific Authority of South Africa, appointed in terms of the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act, must make a non-detriment finding (NDF) to confirm that the trade, including export of CITES I listed species (such as leopard), will not impact negatively on the survival of that species in the wild.

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