Elephants, Poaching and Ivory Trade Take Centre Stage at Clinton Global Initiative

Governments and conservation partners launch new initiative to tackle the scourge of poaching, illegal ivory trade and associated national, regional and global security issues. 

$80 million over the next three years puts gas in the tank but ‘more needed’.

The following is a summary of the presentations made at 12.30 pm in New York by Hillary Clinton, the President of Uganda, His Excellency Yoweri Museveni , the President of the Gabonese Republic, His Excellency Ali Bongo, and the President of the Wildlife Conservation Society, Mr Christian Samper.

Will Travers, CEO of Born Free says: ‘We must all respond to this call for action in whatever way we can. You can help too by supporting Born Free’s elephant conservation work in Ethiopia'.

Summary starts here:

Hillary Clinton speaking from the CGI annual conference about elephant poaching and ivory trafficking and the implication for the survival of the species and national security:

 "Unless the killing stops, African forest elephants are expected to be extinct in 10 years, an ecological disaster and a human tragedy to lose such a magnificent animal. It would be a rebuke to our shared values. We should act out of concern for the elephants and out of the security concerns that poachers represent and the activities of terrorist groups like al-Shabab, which derive their income from ivory trafficking.

 This is about people and communities and government. As Secretary of State I heard many people speak about the growing security threat and the risk of lost tourism revenue. Together with a broad coalition of conservationists we are working with African elephant range states. We need to declare national moratoria on all sales, exports, imports and domestic sales of ivory until wild elephant populations are no longer threated.

 NGOs* and range states need to step up efforts on the ground and to raise awareness in consumer countries.

 In the room today we have: Dr Iain Douglas Hamilton, Dr Jane Goodall, representatives of the Obama Administration, and representatives from Africa but also Australia, China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, New Zealand and others.

 Representing range states are the President of Uganda, the President of Burkina Faso, the President of the Gabonese Republic, the President of Malawi, the President of Cote d'Ivoire, the President of Tanzania and Ministers from Namibia, Botswana and Zambia." 

President Museveni from Uganda: "We urge range, transit and consumer countries to declare or restate national moratoria on all commercial imports, exports and domestic sales and purchases of tusks and ivory products until wild elephant populations are no longer threatened by poaching". (Applause) “I take that to be approval”.

Christian Samper, President of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS): "This marks a turning point in saving Africa's elephants. It is a privilege for us and other partners as we move beyond statistics about extinction and address survival. WCS and other NGO partners in the room will provide US$80 million over the next 3 years to help stop the killing, targeting investment in training and deployment of park rangers and to help governments to stop trafficking, including trade moratoria. Through partnerships with governments and key stakeholders in consumer countries, the NGO group will work to reduce demand and raise public awareness, coming together to support the African Presidents in their efforts."

President Bongo from Gabon: "This crisis is severe. Rangers battle for the lives of elephants and for their own lives. The ivory trade threatens security in our countries and blocks development. In Gabon we are rewriting legislation, investing in training and recruitment. My government has a policy of zero tolerance to wildlife crime.

 We are reaching out to other governments to create an African Environmental Peacekeeping Initiative, a continent-wide federated approach. We will be committing many millions of dollars to this. This has received strong support across Africa. The HG Buffet Foundation has committed US$2 million over the next 2 years to this initiative. We have to act decisively and we have to act now."

Hillary Clinton: "We invite more partners to work with African governments and NGOs, and to work with communities to assist economic development. CGI will work with African leaders and in Asian countries to address demand. Please let CGI know if you want to help."

Watch the CGI event here.

Will Travers concludes: 'On behalf of Born Free, I say once more, we must all do what we can. The time is now. You can help by supporting Born Free’s elephant conservation work in Ethiopia'.


*Non Governmental Organisations


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