For use of the media only;
not an official document.
African range States agree a restricted ivory trade
from four southern African countries
Santiago, Chile, 2 November 2002 – The African elephant range States have reached a consensus on permitting a strictly regulated form of raw ivory trade from Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Kenya was not able to join the consensus.
The range States met here from 29 to 31 October in an effort to build an African consensus regarding ivory trade controls in advance of a major meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The final decision will be made by the 160 member States of CITES during this meeting, which runs from 3 to 15 November.
The African elephant range States Dialogue reviewed proposals from Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe for one-off sales of existing legal ivory stocks to be followed later by annual quotas. The income from these sales would be used to finance elephant conservation programmes and to benefit local communities.
Kenya and India have submitted a proposal to CITES for a continuation of the ban on ivory trade. Kenya has expressed concerns about illegal killing of elephants and illegal ivory trade and noted that two monitoring systems for tracking such activities are not yet fully operational.
As a result of the discussions, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe have agreed to amend their proposals and to subject the future export of a total stock of 70 tonnes of raw ivory to a series of very strict conditions. Their proposals for subsequent annual export quotas have also been modified so that such quotas would be established only after the monitoring systems provide feedback and they have been authorized at a meeting of the African elephant range States.
Note to journalists:
The communiqué from the Dialogue meeting will be available in English, French and Spanish tomorrow and posted at www.cites.org. A press kit describing the ivory proposals in greater detail as well the full proposals themselves is also posted on the CITES website. For more information, please contact Juan Carlos Vasquez in Santiago at +56-2-6395317, +56-9-443 40 45 (cell), +56-2-6395680 (fax), or juancarlos [at] cites12.tie.cl.
The opening ceremony will start at 15h00 on 3 November 2002 at the Centro de Convenciones Diego Portales, Santiago, Chile.
Press accreditation is now open. For more information and to submit the on-line form, see www.cites.org. Press working facilities will be available at the conference, and a large number of press conferences will be organized by governments and organizations during the meeting.
To read previous press releases, go to Archives.