CoP18 — Geneva, Switzerland
Compiled by Emmanuel Koro, African environmental journalist who has extensively written on environment and development issues in Africa
IN THIS ISSUE:
Western animal rights groups steal SADC countries’ votes for ivory trade amid calls for SADC to pull out of ‘useless’ CITES.
First CITES employee confirms a Western animal rights groups CITES hijack.
Complaint about lack of decisiveness in CITES.
• It was a day like no other (22 August 2019) in the history of the UN when Western animal rights groups rigged the vote on SADC countries’ ivory trade bid; that even elephants that overpopulate SADC countries’ parks would have voted in favour of, in order to secure their own better protection from poachers daily.
• With complaints of a vote-rigging scandal having been made to the CITES Secretariat over a long time and as we headed to CoP18, even here at CoP18 when a SADC environmental journalist pointed it in an interview with the CITES Secretary; it was a foregone conclusion that SADC would lose the vote.
• However, the almost unprecedented margin of the loss of the elephant overpopulated SADC countries’ ivory trade proposals made it evident that the US$600 million Western animal rights groups ‘industry’ was involved. These groups want to continue profiting from ivory trade bans because they don’t save the African elephant but ironically increase the poaching of the iconic species, a crisis they create in order to selfishly use if for raising money pays their high salaries but scandalously never gets to African rural communities for elephant conservation. Therefore, the Western animal rights groups continue to use this ivory trade ban triggered
• However, the almost unprecedented margin of the loss of the elephant overpopulated SADC countries’ ivory trade proposals made it evident that the US$600 million Western animal rights groups ‘industry’ was involved. These groups want to continue profiting from ivory trade bans because they don’t save the African elephant but ironically increase the poaching of the iconic species, a crisis they create in order to selfishly use if for raising money that pays their high salaries but scandalously never gets to African rural communities for elephant conservation. Therefore, Western animal rights groups continue to use this ivory trade ban triggered poaching to keep themselves in business. They collectively raising global average of US$6million from this scam that hurts both the African elephant and people, particularly from elephant-rich but benefits denied Southern Africa.
• The three elephant over-populated SADC countries, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe submitted a joint proposal to trade in their thousands of tonnes of stockpiled ivory but were incredibly defeated by 81% no-votes, with only 19% supporting their proposal.
Not accepted 81% to 19% – that’s the smoking gun. It shows that animal rights groups had long rigged the votes through among other things paying inducement money to elderly and young East and West African representative of the African Elephant Coalition countries, formed and funded by Western animal rights groups.
The East and West African countries representative were seen in numerous and suspicious and compromising meetings with Western animal rights groups. From time to time they were frog- marched into televisions interviews, told in typical puppet fashion what to say in committees and how to vote; by young Western blondes – young enough to be their own grandchildren. Then after the SADC ivory trade proposal was scandalously and controversially defeated in the stolen vote, the very same people were seen celebrating with Western nationals.
• How can three elephant overpopulated countries that contribute more than 70% of the world’s total elephant population receive only 19% of the total vote in their bid to trade in ivory is the question that defeated SADC governments and communities were asking after the vote?
• They then collectively dismissed CITES as integrity damaged UN agency that they no longer trusted and called upon SADC presidents to pull out of CITES.
• “Fraud, rigged elections, sold votes bought by the Europeans,” said Botswana Minister Mokaila of Environment, Natural Resources, Conservation, and Tourism, describing the stolen election overseen by the UN CITES. He declined to disclose the collective action that SADC countries would take following this rigged CITES election result. He said the next 90 days would be an important consultative period for SADC “to do what is right.”
• “The future threat to elephant populations in Africa isn’t necessarily sustainable use but rather local communities retaliating if they don’t get benefits from the destructive elephants,” said Namibia’s Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta in his warning statement urging CITES member countries to support SADC countries’ the ivory trade bid just before it was put to a vote.
• Zimbabwe’s Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality industry, Munesu Munodawafa said that we know CITES is an organisation where decisions are based on science but the vote against elephant overpopulated SADC countries suggested that CITES decisions “are no longer based on science.”
• Speaking in support of SADC countries’ ivory trade proposals, representatives of the South African Government urged CITES to reward and not punish, them for their conservation success. The South African delegates expressed shock and disappointment at the vote against SADC countries’ bid to trade in ivory by East and West African countries that have been formed into anti-sustainable use African Elephant Coalition force; through the financial support of Western forces. Each time these countries declared their links with the African Elephant Coalition, each time they spoke before the vote, confirming the Western animal rights groups and countries rigged votes that were to come.
• Meanwhile, SADC rural communities were equally disappointed for not being rewarded for their excellent elephant conservation efforts. Rigged vote disgusted SADC community representatives who then immediately called upon their presidents to pull out of CITES because it was not serving their interests.
• They also appealed to Western citizens to stop donating even a cent to the Western animal rights groups as they were scandalously using the votes against ivory trade – not to stop but to increase elephant poaching; through ivory trade ban trigger demand.
• “CITES to me is a rotten organisation and the UN needs to look into this rigged voting process,” said a representative of the Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO), Maxi Louis. “They claim to be a scientific organisation that bases its decisions on science but they are not even looking at science. I have lost faith in this institution and I would like our government to know that we are wasting our time and taxpayers money by remaining in CITES.”
• A Botswana rural communities representative and a member of the Ngamiland Council of NGOs, Gakemotho Satau said that the stolen vote made him lose trust in CITES.
• “My proposal is that SADC countries should just denounce or pull out of CITES because the voting is not based on science, said Satau. “I am not happy with the voting process and its outcome.”
• A Masoka, Zimbabwe CAMPFIRE Community representative, Ishmael Chaukura said the CITES rigged vote was an unjust outcome. “The decision is affecting us who bear the costs of living with wildlife.” he said. “They (Western animal rights groups) are using the money to spearhead their agenda while we (Africans) remain poor and suffering.”
• SADC conservationists back home have also complained bitterly against vote-rigging at UN CITES. Ron Thomson, the CEO of one of Africa’s most outspoken environmental NGOs; South Africa- based True Green Alliance said, “Our immediate thrust, however, should be to extricate SADC from the quagmire and to get South Africa to abandon its association with CITES. That is a job I shall be engaged in during the weeks and months ahead.”
• Even CITES’ very first and longest-serving employee, Swiss national Jacques Berney confirmed that CITES had lost its credibility as an objective UN agency because it was no longer making decisions informed by science but by animal rights emotions. “Western animal rights groups started to influence CITES at the 1985 CoP5 Buenos Aires, Argentina,” he said. “The animal rights groups claim that legal trade is promoting illegal trade which is contested by almost all economists worldwide. Prohibition of ivory trade doesn’t stop elephant poaching. Without trade in ivory, it will be very difficult to achieve sustainable development by 2030.”
• Berney said that the Western animal rights groups are opposed to trade in any wildlife. The Western governments support these groups when votes are cast at CITES because they also want their votes in their political elections in the West.”
• Elsewhere, the Los Angeles-based Ivory Education Institute has expressed concern that “The bureaucrats in the delegations that attend CITES meetings don’t really want to come to a decision on any issue. They just want “a way forward” in the never-ending struggle to reach “consensus”. But the consensus is not on the substance of what was discussed. It’s simply an excuse to talk about the topic again at a future Standing Committee meeting or Conference of the Parties. Is CITES just a charade (a false act)? Are all the actors in Geneva participating in a kabuki dance (political posturing with a predictable outcome) that only they can see? The answer is probably yes.”