September 15, 2016
European Parliament votes to set EU priorities for protection of endangered and threatened wildlife
Members of the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of a strong Resolution on the European Union’s strategic priorities for the protection of endangered and threatened wildlife species from international trade. The plenary vote came as the European Commission and 28 EU Member States finalise their common position on proposals for the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Johannesburg, South Africa from 24th September to 5th October.
Humane Society International/Europe executive director Dr Joanna Swabe stated:
“We greatly welcome the European Parliament’s support for a wide range of CITES proposals that – if adopted – will afford a greater degree of protection for species, such as pangolins, sharks and various species of reptiles, amphibians, birds, fish and mammals that are being overexploited for commercial trade. It is heartening that European MEPs from across the political spectrum clearly acknowledge the importance of protecting wildlife species that are being systematically decimated through both legal and illegal wildlife trade.
“In particular, we applaud the MEPs for voting to strengthen protections for African lions and for siding with the African elephant range states in their efforts to ban the international trade of elephant ivory, despite opposition from the European Commission. It is deeply disappointing that the European Commission’s opposition to these two proposals mean that EU Member States are unlikely to support these proposals at the CITES Conference of Parties meeting later this month in Johannesburg.”
- The resolution adopted by the European Parliament includes the support of a proposal backed by the 29 member-state African Elephant Coalition to unequivocally prohibit the international commercial trade in African elephant ivory via a CITES Appendix I listing.
- The resolution also supports a full prohibition on the international trade of African lions for primarily commercial purposes in this species.
- Voting MEPs also expressed their support for the European Commission and Member States’ initiative to propose global guidelines on trophy hunting within CITES for species listed on Appendices I or II.
- The adopted Resolution went far beyond previous Parliamentary Resolutions concerning CITES for it devoted significant attention to CITES decision-making processes, reporting requirements, corruption, wildlife trafficking enforcement and funding, rather than simply focusing on proposals to amend the CITES Appendices. This also clearly reflects the degree of political engagement from the European Parliament to tackle the issue of wildlife trade.
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