EWB was honored to participate in the IUCN Elephant Summit being held this year in Gaborone, Botswana.

Gaborone, Botswana, 9th December 2013—Government delegates representing 30 countries met last week in Gaborone to discuss the elephant poaching crisis and unprecedented illegal ivory trade have unanimously approved 14 Urgent Measures to tackle the crisis.

The Urgent Measures (PDF, 200 KB) were drawn up through a consultative process coordinated by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), who co-hosted the meeting alongside the Government of Botswana. Seven countries—Botswana, Germany, Somalia, United Kingdom, United States, Zambia and Zimbabwe—have already signed the Urgent Measures agreement, while Ministers from the other countries represented at the meeting are expected to do so by the end of this month. Elephants Without Borders signed the agreement after non-governmental organizations were invited to show their commitment of support. Crucially, the countries agreeing to the measures include those implicated along the entire ivory trade chain—from source, to transit and destination. The Urgent Measures are will all be initiated, if not completed, inside 2014. They range from a zero-tolerance approach to dealing with wildlife crime, enhancing enforcement capacity and strengthening international co-operation for dealing and reacting to poaching incidents, through to elephant poaching and ivory trafficking being introduced as standing agenda items on National Security Committees.

The governments also agreed to pool resources to improve the monitoring of live elephant populations; reporting of illegal elephant killings to MIKE (Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants; the CITES-managed poaching monitoring system); and reporting ivory trafficking cases to ETIS (the Elephant Trade Information System, managed by TRAFFIC on behalf of Parties to CITES). Measures to reduce the demand for ivory in consumer markets were also agreed, as were the introduction of secure ivory stockpile management measures and support for local communities to advance their rights and capacity to manage and benefit from wildlife and wilderness resources. Inputs from 20 governments, 21 non-governmental organizations and 4 inter-governmental organizations went into drafting the Urgent Measures, which were approved at the meeting by consensus. All the Measures are designed to link to the elephant action plan process currently unfolding eight countries plus Hong Kong under a CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) led process and to the African Elephant Action Plan under the Convention. Meanwhile, the European Union (EU) has pledged EUR12.3 million for a “Minimising the Illegal Killing of Elephants and other Endangered Species” (MIKES) project that will include support, over a five-year period both for the existing MIKE and ETIS elephant monitoring programmes, and also pick up the monitoring of other endangered species such as rhinos and great apes. There have also been pledges of sizeable financial support from Germany and the Netherlands, and from Microsoft Philanthropist Paul Allen to support the Great Elephant Census being organized by Elephants Without Borders in collaboration with various organizations, consultants with the full support of elephant range state countries. (see Press Release and articles on Homepage)


EWB is honored to be invited to participate in the IUCN Elephant Summit being held this year in Gaborone, Botswana.

This is the IUCN Press Release:

IUCN African Elephant Summit

IUCN is seriously concerned by the escalating rise over the last three years in poaching of elephants for ivory, which is increasing across the range of the African elephant, and the corresponding illegal international and domestic trade in ivory. Many frameworks exist to tackle this problem, including the African Elephant Action Plan, CITES provisions, and national strategies, amongst others. However, African elephant range States, as well as many of IUCN’s Members, are concerned that this problem, increasingly entrenched in networks of organized crime, cannot be addressed by the actions of environment ministries and wildlife authorities alone.
High-level commitment is required to remove the barriers to effective protection of elephants and significant reduction in the illegal trade in ivory. These commitments are urgently needed at all points in the illegal ivory value chain, including African elephant range States, ivory transit States, and in the States that are the major consumers of ivory.
Reflecting these concerns, IUCN’s Members passed a resolution at the 2012 IUCN World Conservation Congress to convene a high-level meeting in 2013 to identify urgent measures to be taken and to build political will towards implementing these actions.
To date, Germany and the United Kingdom have committed funding to the summit, and the African Development Bank has pledged support for technical preparations.

Critical outcomes
The primary output from the IUCN African Elephant Summit will be the commitment to a targeted set of urgent measures by senior government representatives from range, transit and consumer States. These will include:

• Priority (urgent and country-specific) activities identified from the African Elephant Action Plan to address the recent upsurge in illegal killing across the range of the African elephant and in the global illegal ivory trade;
• Specific commitments to tackling corrupt networks that support the illegal killing of elephants, and the movements of large amounts of illegal ivory throughout the value chain;
• Clear timelines for strengthening national policy, legislation, law enforcement and deterrent penalties needed to control the illegal killing of African elephants and the illegal trade and trafficking in their ivory;
• Understanding of the economic damage to communities and States represented by the widespread poaching of elephants;
• Concrete steps to address national security risks where they exist; and
• Increased funding pledges for elephant conservation and management, including law enforcement along the illegal ivory value chain.

Context for these discussions will be provided by presentation of:

• The latest information on the status of African elephants and the illegal ivory trade, in particular from the African and Asian Elephant Database and the two CITES elephant monitoring systems, MIKE and ETIS;
• New research findings into supply models, demand characteristics, and trade dynamics and the implications of this information; and
• Other relevant information.

Anticipated participants

• Heads of State, relevant Ministers and specialised technical staff of all African elephant range countries and all key transit and destination countries in the illegal African elephant ivory trade chain.
• IUCN President, Director-General, Regional Directors, IUCN SSC African and Asian Elephant Specialist Groups and other IUCN Commission Members.
• Other institutions / agencies / organizations working on elephant conservation and illegal ivory trade (e.g. CITES, CMS, Interpol, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), World Bank, International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC), FAO, UNDP, UNEP, TRAFFIC).

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