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CITES wildlife conference: European Parliament adopts ambitious proposals to counter illegal trade in endangered species

MEP’s have today adopted an ambitious resolution that sets out the priorities and wishes of the European Parliament in next week’s World Wildlife Conference next week in Johannesburg. The conference is the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and aims to discuss measures to tackle soaring rates of poaching and the trafficking of illegal wildlife products.

Poaching and the illegal trade in animal and plant species has become one of the most lucrative criminal activities with a turnover estimated at 20 billion dollars. The resolution adopted today calls for EU countries to adopt legislation to tackle this illegal trade by making it illegal to import, export, sell, acquire or buy wild animals or plants which are taken, possessed, transported or sold in violation of the law of the country of origin or transit.
Commenting after the adoption of the report today, MEP Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, who will travel to Johannesburg to lead a delegation of the Parliament, from 22 to 27th of September said: „Thanks to many years of efforts, there is now a common European wildlife action plan calling for strong measures. The summit next week is the first real test; EU Governments and the European Commission must now turn words into deeds!”
„This is probably the most important wildlife crime summit ever. We are at a turning point, if we do not make firm agreements, it will be too late for countless animal and plant species. ”
Catherine Bearder MEP, who is attending the conference as part of the official European Parliament delegation, said: „This is a historic moment in the fight to protect elephants from being slaughtered for their tusks.We must save these wonderful animals for future generations, we simply cannot allow the ivory trade to continue. ”

“To support this ban, all countries must also introduce tougher measures to tackle corruption, strengthen controls at border crossing points and put in place stringent penalties against criminal groups trafficking illegal wildlife products.”
CITES was established in 1973 to regulate the international trade in endangered species. At present, more than 183 countries are members of the Convention. This meeting has a historical significance for the EU; It is the first summit where it is also a participant.

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