German Ministries and CITES Secretary-General meet to discuss measures to fight wildlife crime

Efforts to fight poaching and illegal trade in wildlife and international support for global, regional and national initiatives, were the focus of discussions in Bonn on 24 July, 2014 between representatives from the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and CITES Secretary-General John E. Scanlon.

“Representatives of German Ministries for the Environment and Development
Cooperation and CITES Secretary-General John E. Scanlon discuss measures
taken to combat wildlife crime and a new German special program (Polifonds),
Bonn, 24 July 2013.“

Discussions touched on a number of different initiatives spearheaded by Germany, including a project to develop forensic methods to determine the age and origin of elephant ivory by analyzing isotops. Speaking directly on the benefits of this project, Mr. Scanlon stated that “the provision of reliable evidence based on new DNA technologies is critical to combatting wildlife crime.  It will be of great value to prosecutors in securing convictions against criminals engaging in illegal trade in wildlife”.

German representatives and Mr. Scanlon also discussed how to promote more coherent approaches among different ministries to deal with poaching and illegal trade in wildlife, activities that are highly profitable and pose complex challenges.

BMZ supports concrete measures to fight poaching and illegal trade in range countries of rhinos and elephants and in countries where ivory and rhino horn based products are consumed, as well as at the international level. This is part of Germany’s commitment to making available 500 Mio. € annually from 2013 onwards for the conservation of forests and other ecosystems worldwide.

Besides integrating anti-poaching measures into bilateral development cooperation e.g. through increasing the capacities of park rangers and managers, the BMZ also supports partner countries including local communities in the management of protected areas e.g. in the Kavango Zambezi (KAZA) region spanning five southern African countries, Tanzania (Serengeti, Selous)  and Central Africa as highly affected areas. If local people benefit from protected areas and their ecosystem services, they will become strong allies in the fight against poaching and illegal trade (for more informations, please click here).

Toward this end, the BMZ will also set up a special programme with a funding of Euro 3.2 Million that brings together the competences of different German line ministries in complementary fields of action, based on their own mandates, know-how and specific interests in order to: a) implement training courses for relevant officials and stakeholders, b) increase organizational and technical enforcement capacities of CITES Parties, and c) undertake research of consumer markets and develop targeted awareness campaigns. These measures will be coordinated with the competent national authorities and relevant national and international NGOs with a presence in the countries concerned.

“The support provided by Germany, linking its environmental policy and development cooperation, together with other key ministries, is much welcomed and urgently needed” added John Scanlon.

Such new initiatives support Germany’s efforts to assist in the conservation of wildlife, particularly in light of its sponsorship of a motion on conservation of the African Elephant which was adopted at the last IUCN World Conservation Congress in 2012.

These initiatives will be further buttressed by the preparation of a high level elephant event organized by Tanzania in cooperation with IUCN on 4 to 6 November 2013. This Summit will aim at supporting solutions and funding for urgent measures to better deal with the challenges posed by the illegal trade in elephant ivory.

The CITES Secretariat will continue to work closely with Germany to assist in the implementation of these programmes and to ensure that international trade in wildlife is legal, sustainable and traceable.