An analysis of ivory seizure data held in the Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) prepared for the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (Bangkok, 2013) identified those countries or territories that are most heavily implicated in the illegal trade in ivory. These are categorized as countries of ‘primary concern’ (eight Parties), ‘secondary concern’ (eight Parties) and ‘importance to watch’ (six Parties).
CITES national ivory action plans (NIAPs) are a practical tool that is being used by the Convention in 19 of these 22 Parties to strengthen their controls of the trade in ivory and ivory markets, and help combat the illegal trade in ivory. Each plan outlines the urgent measures that a CITES Party commits to deliver – including legislative, enforcement and public awareness actions as required – along with specified timeframes and milestones for implementation.
While the plans may follow a common formula of actions, timeframes and milestones, each national ivory action plan is unique. A plan should identify the actions that are of highest priority for a particular Party to help combat the illegal ivory trade, depending upon the Party’s own circumstances including its capacity-building needs, the extent of available resources, and the scale and nature of illegal trade and whether the Party is a source, transit or destination State for illegal ivory.
Parties of ‘primary concern’
In response to recommendations endorsed at the 63rd and 64th meetings of the CITES Standing Committee (Bangkok, March 2013), national ivory action plans were developed by eight Parties of ‘primary concern’ in the poaching of elephants and the illegal trade in ivory (China, Kenya, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania and Viet Nam). National ivory action plans were finalized by these Parties in May 2013 and urgent measures taken to commence their implementation. A separate plan was developed for Hong Kong, China, giving nine plans across the eight Parties.
The Secretariat conducted an evaluation of the implementation of national ivory action plans of Parties of ‘primary concern’ for the 65th meeting of the Standing Committee (Geneva, July 2014). In light of the positive outcomes resulting from implementation, the Standing Committee endorsed a recommendation requesting Parties of ‘primary concern’ to continue implementing their national ivory action plans through to the 66th meeting of the Standing Committee (Geneva, January 2016).
Parties of ‘primary concern’ have not been directed by any recommendation of the Standing Committee to make their national ivory action plans public. The Secretariat will only make the national ivory action plans of Parties of ‘primary concern’ public where requested to do so by these Parties.
Parties of ‘secondary concern’ and ‘importance to watch’
At its 65th meeting, the Standing Committee endorsed recommendations directing eight Parties of ‘secondary concern’ in the poaching of elephants and the illegal trade in ivory (Cameroon, Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Mozambique, and Nigeria) and three Parties of ‘importance to watch’ (Angola, Cambodia, and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic) to develop national ivory action plans.
The Standing Committee endorsed arecommendation directing the Secretariat to make the national ivory action plans submitted by Parties of ‘secondary concern’ and ‘importance to watch’ public. In accordance with this recommendation, national ivory action plans are being made available on this web portal as they are received by the Secretariat.
The following national ivory action plans have been received from Parties of ‘secondary concern’ and ‘importance to watch’:
Parties of ‘secondary concern’
|Egypt||Action plan for controlling Illegal Ivory trade in Egypt||30 October 2014||The NIAP of Egypt is currently being revised in consultation with the Secretariat’s consultants.1|
|Gabon||Plan d’action national pour l’ivoire du gabon 2015-2016||28 November 2014||The NIAP of Gabon was submitted in French.|
1 The Secretariat requested Egypt to revise its NIAP to better reflect the recommendations adopted by the Standing Committee. The revised version of Egypt’s NIAP will be posted once it has been received by the Secretariat.
Parties of ‘importance to watch’
|Cambodia||Ivory Action Plan for Cambodia||31 October 2014|
Progress made by Parties
A summary of the progress made by Parties of ‘secondary concern’ and ‘importance to watch’ in developing their national ivory action plans is also available, and updated regularly.
- CITES Press Release, 14 July 2014: CITES Standing Committee (SC65) conclusions: A focus on the front lines
- CITES Press Release, 13 June 2014: Elephant poaching and ivory smuggling figures released today
- CITES Press Release, 2 December 2013: New figures reveal poaching for the illegal ivory trade could wipe out a fifth of Africa’s Elephants over next decade
- CITES Press Release, 16 May 2013: Eight countries submit national action plans to combat illegal trade in elephant ivory
Main Photo: (Francis Garrard)