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PM+: EU must take action to close ivory trade loopholes


EU policymakers need to chip in and do their part in tackling the illegal wildlife trade, argues Sonja Van Tichelen.

Elephants and rhinos continue to die at an alarming rate. One elephant every 15 minutes, on average, is killed for its ivory. We know there are fewer than 500,000 elephants remaining in the wild, so simple maths tells us we’re running out of time.

We’ve had a resolution in the European parliament, we’ve had a European commission expert conference last April and there have been ivory crushes in Belgium, France, the UK and elsewhere.

“The trend is clear and the problem is getting worse. The only solution is an EU ban on the export of raw ivory”

We’ve also applauded as France, the UK, Sweden and Germany all banned the export of raw ivory from their countries. But these admirable initiatives are simply not enough.

As the Belgium’s energy, environment and sustainable development minister Marie Christine Marghem, pointed out recently, there’s not much point in a domestic export ban from one EU country if traders can simply move to another EU country and ship their ivory to China.

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