CITES Secretary-General visits Thailand to discuss national ivory action plan
National ivory action plans by Parties of ‘secondary concern’
and ‘importance to watch’ being finalized
On 3 to 4 December 2014 the CITES Secretary-General, John E. Scanlon, attended a series of meetings in Bangkok, Thailand, to discuss progress with the implementation of Thailand’s revised national ivory action plan. High-level officials from the more than 20 government agencies with a role in implementing the plan came together during his visit to discuss the key actions to be delivered under the revised plan.
As directed by recommendations adopted at the 65th meeting of the Standing Committee (SC65, July 2014), Thailand is required to put in place a range of measures to ensure the effective control of domestic trade and possession of elephant ivory, and enhance enforcement efforts against illegal trade or possession. These actions were at the centre of discussions in Bangkok where the Secretary-General was briefed on progress with pivotal legislative reforms, new and enhanced systems to register the possession of ivory and regulate domestic ivory traders, and a range of new public awareness materials targeting foreign tourists on display at Suvarnabhumi International Airport. Understanding how the new laws and systems will be enforced was also in focus, through a meeting with police, Customs and wildlife enforcement officials chaired by Royal Thai Police General Chalermkiat Srivorakhan.
While in Bangkok Mr. Scanlon also met with the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, His Excellency General Dapong Ratanasuwan, and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Mrs. Mingquan Wichayarangsaridh, to discuss Thailand’s implementation of the revised plan.
Mr. Scanlon expressed his deep appreciation to Minister Dapong Ratanasuwan and other senior officials for their advice and detailed briefings. Reflecting on the diverse range of activities underway, Mr. Scanlon said “Thailand has prepared an ambitious national ivory action plan with a wide range of actions. The passing of stronger laws to combat the illegal ivory trade is a major milestone. Attention is now being focussed on delivering the actions committed to in the plan.”
In addition to Parties of ‘primary concern’ that have been implementing plans since 2013, a number of Parties of ‘secondary concern’ and ‘importance to watch’ were requested by SC65 to develop national ivory action plans. The development of these plans is progressing, with the first of the new plans now available on a dedicated national ivory action plan web portal on the CITES website. Many other plans remain under development, with the Secretariat providing technical support through consultants located in Africa and Asia, to assist these Parties to finalize their plans.
Plans were due to be submitted to the Secretariat by 31 October 2014 and the Standing Committee will now consider intersessional decisions to determine any actions, including compliance measures as necessary, to be taken with regard to those Parties yet to submit adequate national ivory action plans. The Standing Committee will also assess Thailand’s progress with implementing its revised national ivory action plan intersessionally. Thailand is required to report on progress to the Standing Committee, with the first of its reports on implementation due in mid-January 2015.
CITES national ivory action plans are a practical tool that is being used by the Convention to strengthen national controls of the trade in ivory and ivory markets, and help combat the illegal trade in ivory. Originally developed for eight Parties of ‘primary concern’ in the poaching of elephants and the illegal trade in ivory (China, Kenya, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania and Viet Nam) in 2013, the use of NIAPs was broadened to a further eight Parties of ‘secondary concern’ (Cameroon, Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Mozambique and Nigeria) and three Parties of ‘importance to watch’ (Angola, Cambodia and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic) by recommendations adopted at the 65th meeting of the Standing Committee in July 2014. A plan encompassing actions to stem both the illegal trade in ivory and the illegal trade in rhinoceros horn is being developed by Mozambique.
See more photos from the Secretary-General's visit to Thailand.