Press release n ° 1 – Opening
CITES – Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
17th Conference of the Parties. Johannesburg – South Africa
September 24 to October 5, 2016
Ivories from elephant and mammoth will be on the table with hornbill red ivory, pangolin scales, tiger and lion bones, psychedelic gecko, banggai cardinal fish and peregrine falcons…
Rosewoods traffickings will be viewed with a magnifying glass. Chainsaws will haunt the hallways.
But among the 62 proposals for animal and plant species protection and a hundred working documents submitted to the delegations from 182 countries, one of the most important is the draft resolution for the fight against corruption .
It is everywhere. Complicity between poachers and wildlife rangers is extending. Collusion between traffickers and institutions is growing. Armies, public offices, ministries, ports, airports, statesmen and churchmen are not spared. To say that environmental NGOs escape this epidemic would be presumptuous or naive.
Corruption is contagious. No laboratory has yet found a vaccine. When monitoring a rhino herd where each one wears up to $ 100,000 US of keratin above the nose, one needs indefectible honesty to not succumb to the temptation or the illusion of easy illegal money. All is not lost, many continue to resist.
Document 28 presented by Senegal and the European Union calls to prevent, detect and punish corruption and to ensure that all acts of corruption associated with the administration, regulation, implementation or enforcement of CITES constitute criminal offenses and are punishable by appropriate penalties.
In its current form, the draft resolution even calls for “prohibition of corruption” which somehow says a lot about the state of the law and the practises within the international community in the field of repression against wildlife trafficking.
Promotion of all those with vocation and responsibility to protect wild fauna and flora, strengthening and enforcement of sanctions, ban on release on bail, seizure of criminal’s assets, definitive eviction of the weak links is imperative and should be, in the short term, in all countries, part of the arsenal against international trafficking of endangered species.