African Elephant Coalition meets in Switzerland to fight the poaching crisis
Delegates from the 29 countries that make up the African Elephant Coalition (AEC), gathered together in Montreux, Switzerland, last weekend, to work on measures to fight the poaching crisis.
The AEC launched a social media campaign – using the hashtags #WorthMoreAlive, #EndIvoryTrade, #Vote4Elephants – to gain support for their Montreux Manifesto, which aims to put an end to the ivory trade and allow elephants better protection under international law.
The manifesto consists of five proposals that will be presented to the 17th Conference of the Parties (CoP17) of CITES this autumn in Johannesburg. Together these proposals would ban the international trade in ivory by listing all elephants in CITES Appendix I, close domestic ivory markets around the world, encourage better management of ivory stockpiles and where possible their destruction, end further debate in CITES on a mechanism to legalize ivory trade, and limit exports of live African elephants to conservation projects in their natural habitat.
“The Montreux Manifesto shows that our message is clear,” said Bourama Niagaté from Mali, a member of the Council of the Elders for the Coalition. “We need to all pull together for the sake of Africa’s elephants.”
“CITES saved African elephants from certain extinction 27 years ago by listing them on Appendix I,” said Vera Weber, president of the Swiss-based Fondation Franz Weber, a partner organisation of the AEC which facilitated the meeting. “Since then the protection of elephants has been weakened, and poaching has escalated. The AEC has charted a path to relist elephants on Appendix I and ban the ivory trade once and for all.”
The Manifesto appeals to governments, inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations for their support, and calls on citizens around the world to ask their respective governments and CITES representatives to support the five proposals and to help the Coalition in its mission to list all elephants in Appendix I.