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

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid