On September 24th, 2016, Elephanatics hosted the 3rd annual Global March for Elephants and Rhinos. The final outcome from CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) might well be looked upon by some as a loss. But, as the leader and co-founder of GMFER, Rosemary Alles, so eloquently states; Advocacy is a marathon, not a sprint and the results of all the hard work we are doing is starting to be realized, although, too slowly.
Representatives from GMFER, a grass roots advocacy organization, were present for the first time at the convention and that should be considered progress! GMFER does not see the results as a loss, but rather a process to continue working on.
Some of the positive results are as follows:
UPDATE: CITES/CoP17: From the AEC (African Elephant Coalition): what we set out to do and what we got; not **too** shabby. We have a LOT Of work to do going forward, but we also emerged from CoP17 with a slight edge.
The 5 proposals submitted at this CoP by the AEC:
1) Appendix I proposal
2) Closure of domestic ivory markets
3) Destruction of ivory stockpiles
4) Decision Making Mechanism
5) Trade in live elephants
What we achieved:
1) Appendix1 for all range states – Failed – but we pushed our agenda and made some noise about it, also, Botswana’s endorsement of Appendix1 was huge. TK Khama, minister of the environment, took the floor, endorsing Appendix1 and voluntarily agreeing to uplist his country’s status to Appendix1.
2) Closure of domestic ivory markets – success with a caveat; an exemption that weakens it was introduced by the EU. However we now have a process to ensure compliance. That process is significant.
3) Destruction of ivory stockpiles – partial success; the wording was changed to “disposal” (with no trade) and the establishment of a comprehensive management plan for stockpiles.
4) DMM, the dreaded Decision Making Mechanism – the process by which international trade in ivory is established is DEAD. A huge success for#elephants. International ivory trade is OFF THE TABLE.
5) Trade in live elephants – is sadly, still on the table, however believable measures will be established in regulating the conditions for “appropriate destinations”