News / Africa

Conservation Group Tackles Illegal Ivory, Timber Trade

FILE -  Masanori Miyahara, head of Japan's delegation and the country's top fisheries official, right, shakes hands with Patrick van Klaveren, head of the Monaco delegation, during a meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (
FILE - Masanori Miyahara, head of Japan's delegation and the country's top fisheries official, right, shakes hands with Patrick van Klaveren, head of the Monaco delegation, during a meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (
Lisa Schlein

A meeting of the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species or CITES is threatening to sanction two countries-Thailand and Madagascar--if they do not take action to stop the illegal trade in ivory and timber.   A record 400 participants attended this week-long meeting in Geneva.
 
This international meeting on wildlife trade is putting Thailand and Madagascar on notice they will pay a heavy price if they do not take measures to end the illegal trade in ivory and Rosewood timber.  
 
CITES, the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species, says yearly profits from the illegal trade in wildlife amounts to about $20 billion.  But, that huge sum is dwarfed by the hundreds of billions of dollars raked in each year from the illegal trade in commercially valuable timber and fisheries or marine life.
 
Conservationists say this lucrative illegal trade has reached unprecedented levels and must be stemmed.  They note Thailand's ivory market, which is the largest unregulated market in the world, is fueled by ivory from poached African elephant tusks smuggled into the country.  
 
CITES figures show poachers kill more than 20,000 African elephants each year.  Chair of CITES Standing Committee, Oystein Storkersen, says the Conference has told Thailand it must strictly enforce its legislation against illegal trade in wildlife or face serious consequences.
 
'They were given a set deadline to report back to the Standing Committee and we also heard at the meeting that unless there is a positive outcome of that tightening as I said registration of importers, traders, producers and so on, and stockpiles then Thailand will face a ban, a suspension of all trade, no matter what commodities it is of the 35,000 species listed with CITES.  I think that is a very strong signal to send to a country," said Storkersen.
 
Possible sanctions would affect Thailand's lucrative trade in species including ornamental plants, such as orchids, and reptile leather.  Activists welcome this action.  They say the world has taken a big step toward saving the last African elephants from extinction.
 
The meeting also has taken steps to curtail the illegal trade in rhino horn in Vietnam and Mozambique.  These two countries also were put on notice they could face sanctions if they do not take measures to stamp out this illegal trade.
 
The CITES committee has analyzed the levels of illegal trade in precious timber and the enforcement measures taken by customs in several transit countries.  It estimates more than 4,000 tons of rosewood, which is suspected to have been illegally exported from Madagascar, has been seized in various countries.  
European Union Representative, Giovanni Coviello, says the scale of the illegal logging and trade from Madagascar has reached alarming levels.
 
"We are all sadly aware, I can say that illegal logging accounts for up to 30 percent of the global timber trade and it contributes to more than 50 percent of tropical deforestation in the Central Africa as well as in the Amazon and in South-East Asia.  We know that this causes huge loss of landscape, vegetation cover and biodiversity naturally.  We know that one of the direct environmental impacts of illegal logging in Madagascar is the habitat destruction of many species, especially for the endangered lemurs," said Coviello.
 
The next CITES meeting takes place in August 2015.  All countries put on notice will have to submit progress reports before that date.  But, they will have to develop national action plans to curb the illegal trade in wildlife projects by the August deadline or face sanctions.

 

You May Like

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid