Written by Dr Ross Harvey, PhD (Economics)
On 6 November 2019, the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF), provided feedback to interested stakeholders on the outcomes of proposals submitted to the 18th Conference of the Parties (CoP18) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Meeting in Geneva in August 2019, due to tragic circumstances preventing the meeting from taking place in Sri Lanka in May, the South African delegation doggedly fought for its version of ‘sustainable use’ to be adopted, but was roundly defeated, much to its chagrin. Stakeholders in the wildlife ranching industry were at pains to moan about how ‘western’ NGOs have ‘captured CITES’, which in their view is a trade convention as opposed to a conservation convention. It might be worth reminding everybody that the very first part of the preamble to the Convention text recognises ‘that wild fauna and flora in their many beautiful and varied forms are an irreplaceable part of the natural systems of the earth which must be protected for this and the generations to come.’ Every element of the trade regime is premised on this need for protection.