Compiled by Emmanuel Koro, African environmental journalist who extensively written on environment and development issues in Africa
IN THIS ISSUE:
Four African countries risk losing CITES CoP18 voting rights for failure to submit their credentials in “proper” form.
Kenyan President supports Botswana ivory trade bid but Kenyan Wildlife Service opposes him,
CITES CoP18 agenda is significantly longer than Johannesburg CoP17.
Egypt, Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia are in danger of being denied their right to vote at CoP18 for failing to submit original credentials to the CITES Secretariat before the start of the meeting. If they are not allowed to vote this could have negative implications on many issues, as their representatives would not be officially recognized as well as their proposals. Egypt fired back saying that its papers are original. “We used an electronic signature and we have done this before,” said an Egyptian representative.
The Kenyan Wildlife Service defied President Uhuru Kenyatta’s decision to have Kenya support Botswana’s ivory trade proposal at CITES CoP18. This directive followed President Kenyatta’s recent meeting with Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi.
The Source was informed that certain Western animal rights groups have and continue to pay the Kenyan Wildlife Service millions of U.S dollars in exchange for votes against ivory and rhino horn trade as well as on other issues.
SOURCE COMMENT: This inter-governmental dispute playing out in public is not only shocking, but embarrassing.
The Source hopes President Kenyatta preserves his constitutional authority to govern his country and the KWS accepts its subordinate role in a democratically-governed country.
The CITES Secretary-General Yvonne Higuero told CITES CoP18 delegates and observers at their opening session on Saturday, August 17, that the agenda of CoP 18 is 20 percent longer than the agenda of issues at CoP17 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
This increased workload has forced the CITES Secretariat to schedule a night session of indeterminate length to better ensure getting through the agenda in the days allotted for this Conference of the Parties.
SOURCE COMMENT The CITES Secretariat could have avoided planning an unprecedented night meeting by asking the Chair to declare out of order, member countries who congratulate the chairpersons on their election to office. No one cares, no one listens, and no one pays attention to such congratulatory messages — not even those on the Chairman’s table who can be seen chatting, shuffling papers, and otherwise ignoring the speakers. With 180 potential interventions, each taking 1 minute to stumble through the obligatory observations, the Conference could gain as much as three hours for substantive discussion. Could it be that the Secretariat really likes the drama of a night session to show how busy CITES is?
Yesterday at the Ibis Hotel in Geneva, The Source saw delegates from Chad milling around a young blonde Humane Society of the United States representative in what was clearly a money handout meeting. They later disappeared with her to an unknown venue.
SOURCE COMMENT: Country votes seem to be on sale again as usual. THE SOURCE will be on guard to determine if countries vote against sustainable use at the command of their paymasters from the animal rights groups and against the demands of their country’s needs.
Are you listening Kenya?