The 74th Meeting of the Standing Committee (SC74) to CITES took place in Lyon in France from the 7-11 of March, six months ahead of CoP19, designed to focus on matters of compliance and enforcement. This meeting was an opportunity to raise the alarm about species at risk from trade.
Under the subtitle Regulation of Trade agenda item number 50 the definition of the term ‘appropriate and acceptable destinations’ referred to the export of wild live African elephant from their natural range states.
In this regard, Burkina Faso submitted a legal opinion on the CITES rules on the export of live elephants from Namibia which concluded that: “Namibia’s elephant population listed in CITES Appendix II is subject to a legally binding restriction on live trade, in force since 2003, limiting such trade to in situ conservation programmes only, exports of live wild-caught elephants from Namibia should only be permissible to destinations within the natural range of the species”.
While the SC74 delegates reached consensus on many of the issues on the agenda Namibia’s export of 22 live elephants to the United Arab Emirates elicited passionate discussions and ultimately substantial disagreement. As a result of the divergent views the parties were invited to propose a clear legal framework for trade in live African elephants at the upcoming CoP19.