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AWF Issues Position Statement on Ivory Sales

  • Saturday, March 13, 2010

NAIROBI, KENYA--At the 15th meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), being held in Doha, Qatar, March 13-25, experts from participating countries will consider competing proposals from African countries on the classification of elephant populations and the sale of government-owned ivory stockpiles.

AWF recommends the Parties reject country requests by Tanzania and Zambia to ease trade restrictions on their elephant populations and sell ivory stockpiles at this time as there is credible evidence of significant flows of illegal ivory from and through these countries and insufficient independent verification that conditions for downlisting have been met. At the same time, AWF recommends the Parties reject a proposal by Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone that CITES impose a 20-year resting period on proposals to allow sales of ivory. AWF believes the nine-year resting period established by CITES at its last meeting was designed to allow all range states and all Parties to assess the impact of the 2008 legal sales by Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. AWF believes this period is sufficient, and urges the Parties to resolve any differences on the understanding and application of the resting period at the upcoming Doha meetings.

Perhaps most importantly, AWF reminds the Parties and the public that the negative aspects of trade governed by CITES cannot be addressed in isolation from other key threats to species such as climate change, habitat loss and degradation, human-wildlife conflict and inadequate resources for law enforcement.

Download the full position statement here.


Founded in 1961, the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) is the leading conservation organization focused solely on the African continent. AWF's programs and conservation strategies are based on sound science and designed to protect both the wild lands and wildlife of Africa and ensure a more sustainable future for Africa's people. Since its inception AWF has protected endangered species and land, promoted partnerships with the private sector for ecotourism to benefit local African communities as a means to improve livelihoods, and trained hundreds of African nationals in conservation -- all to ensure the survival of Africa's unparalleled wildlife heritage. AWF is a non-profit organization headquartered in Kenya and is a registered 501(c)(3) in the United States. Visit www.awf.org.

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