CITES welcomes GEF-6 biodiversity strategy

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JOINT PRESS RELEASE

CITES welcomes GEF-6 biodiversity strategy

Programme 3 aims to prevent the extinction of threatened species and recognizes that illegal trade
in wildlife is an emerging driver of biodiversity loss

Geneva/Cancun, 28 May 2014 – The fifth GEF Assembly this week approved the GEF-6 Biodiversity Strategy to be implemented under the sixth replenishment of the GEF Trust Fund. The Strategy encompasses four objectives and is composed of ten programmes.

The Second objective of the GEF-6 Biodiversity Strategy (BD2) is to reduce threats to globally significant biodiversity. Programme 3, under this objective, is aimed at preventing the extinction of known threatened species. This programme recognises that “illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife parts is an emerging driver of biodiversity loss”, and that “ poaching at the current scale undermines the rule of law and economic development generally”. The document refers to CITES as a source data on poaching of elephants and rhino populations and the subsequent illegal trade in their tusks and horns.

Speaking on the outcomes of the fifth GEF Assembly, John E. Scanlon, CITES Secretary-General said, "This GEF-6 biodiversity strategy responds to the immediate threat posed by poaching and smuggling to the survival of known threatened species in the wild, which is being increasingly carried out at an industrial scale by organized transnational criminal gangs.  Access to additional financing to help reverse these trends is essential and CITES applauds the GEF for its timely and innovative response to this crisis which poses a threat to wildlife, people, economies and security”, he added.

According to programme 3, “GEF will support strengthening decision making processes including legislation and its implementation, strategic planning, and capacity of national agencies in Africa engaged in reducing poaching and illegal trade of tusks, horns and associated by-products.” GEF will complement anti-poaching work in Africa through a similar array of interventions at source sites for rhino and elephants and other wildlife in Asia.

This programme enables Parties that are eligible to seek additional GEF, within the context of the Biodiversity Action Plan, the Aichi Target 12 and the NBSAPs to financing their efforts to tackle wildlife crime and ensure sustainable use of their wild fauna and flora.  The CITES Secretariat is in discussions with GEF implementing agencies on how to further assist Parties in this regard.

The CITES Secretary-General was invited to address the 41st Council meeting of the GEF held from 8 to 11 November 2011 on CITES priorities. Following Mr. Scanlon’s intervention, the GEF Council decided, “that the GEF Secretariat would organize a meeting of Biodiversity-related conventions with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity to facilitate the coordination of their priorities for possible inclusion in the GEF-6 programming strategy.” This meeting took place in Geneva from 2 to 3 September 2013.  At the request of CITES Parties, following CITES COP 16 held in March 2013, the CITES Secretary-General wrote to the CEO of the GEF outlining CITES priorities.

Note to editors: For more information, please contact Juan Carlos Vasquez à +41 22 917 8156 or juan.vasquez@cites.org

CITES Secretary-General’s intervention from November, 2011 available at http://www.cites.org/eng/news/sg/2011/20111108_GEF.php

The strategy is contained in the Report on the Sixth Replenishment of the GEF Trust Fund, available at http://www.thegef.org/gef/sites/thegef.org/files/documents/GEF.A.5.07_Report_on_the_Sixth_Replenishment_of_the_GEF_Trust_Fund_May_13_2014.pdf. See specially paragraphs 38 to 45 in pages 29 to 31.