UK government sets out plans to curb illegal ivory trade in Africa

Environment Secretary proposes a ban on ivory sales to help bring an end to elephant poaching.

Ban will prohibit the sale of ivory items of all ages. Plans will put the UK at the forefront of global efforts to address the drastic decline in the elephant population. The UK will impose a ban on ivory sales to help bring an end to the poaching of elephants, under plans announced by Environment Secretary Michael Gove today.

The proposals will protect elephants and help combat poaching by removing opportunities for criminals to trade illegally-poached ivory. Today’s plans will be subject to a 12-week consultation and cover items of all ages, not only those created after a certain date.

The number of elephants has declined by almost a third in the last decade and around 20,000 a year are still being slaughtered due to the global demand for ivory. If current rates of poaching continue, elephants could become extinct within decades in some African countries, meaning that future generations of children may only see these majestic creatures alive in zoos.

The decline of elephants would also deprive some of the poorest countries in the world of their valuable natural capital, affecting economic growth and sustainable development.

As profits become ever greater, the illegal wildlife trade has become a trans-nationally organised enterprise, estimated to be worth up to £17 billion a year.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said:

“The decline in the elephant population fueled by poaching for ivory shames our generation. The need for radical and robust action to protect one of the world’s most iconic and treasured species is beyond dispute. Ivory should never be seen as a commodity for financial gain or a status symbol – so we want to ban its sale. These plans will put the UK front and centre of global efforts to end the insidious trade in ivory.”

Stop Ivory’s chief executive, John Stephenson, said:

“Stop Ivory and its partners welcome today’s action by the UK government. By starting the process to bring in a total ban on ivory sales in the UK, the government continues to work with the African countries leading the Elephant Protection Initiative to secure a meaningful future for elephants across Africa the initiative the government helped launch at the London Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade in 2014.”

“The unprecedented crisis we face – with Africa’s natural heritage being destroyed and communities put at risk due to poaching by illegal armed gangs – will only stop when people stop buying ivory. Along with our partners, we congratulate the Government on this important step and look forward to working with it and our colleagues to ensure the ban is implemented robustly and without delay.”

In line with the approach taken by other countries, the government is proposing certain narrowly-defined and carefully-targeted exemptions for items which do not contribute to the poaching of elephants and where a ban would be unwarranted.

The consultation proposes four categories of exemptions:

  • musical instruments
  • items containing only a small proportion of ivory, a de minimis exemption
  • items of significant historic, artistic or cultural value
  • and sales to and between museums

The government will work with conservationists, the arts and antiques sectors and other interested parties through the consultation period on exactly how these exemptions can be defined, implemented and enforced so as to ensure there is no room for loopholes which continue to fuel the poaching of elephants.

Current rules allow worked ivory items produced before 3 March 1947 to be traded within the UK and other EU countries, while the trade of raw ivory of any age is prohibited. The existing regulations will be considerably strengthened through the new proposals.

This new ban will build on government work both at home and overseas to tackle poaching and the illegal ivory trade. The UK military trains an elite force of anti-poachers in African countries, and Border Force officers share their expertise in identifying smuggled ivory with counterparts worldwide to stop wildlife trafficking.

In October 2018, the UK will host a fourth international conference on the illegal wildlife trade, bringing global leaders to London to tackle the strategic challenges of the trade. This follows the ground breaking London 2014 conference on the illegal wildlife trade, and subsequent conferences in Botswana and Vietnam.

The consultation will run for 12 weeks, closing on 29 December.

Distributed by APO on behalf of British High Commission Gaborone.

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EU Delegation pays courtesy call on President Faure

EU Delegation pays courtesy call on President FaureThe Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to the Republic of Seychelles, H.E. Marjaana Sall, accompanied by representatives from thirteen EU Member States, paid a courtesy visit to President Danny Faure at State House this morning.

The EU delegation is in Seychelles for the Fifth Political Dialogue meeting, taking place under Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement. Regular Political Dialogue is a key element of the cooperation between Seychelles and the EU, and this year also celebrates 40 years of partnership.

President Danny Faure began by welcoming the delegation to State House and thanked them for 40 years of excellent relations. The meeting involved discussions on the current political and economic situation in Seychelles, and areas to develop the collaboration between Seychelles and the EU including maritime security, capacity building, economic diversification and cybersecurity.

President Faure also mentioned that though Seychelles has been classified as a High Income country, tackling inequalities and improving the lives of the poorest Seychellois remain key priorities, alongside strong measures to tackle the scourge of drugs. The EU reiterated its support to work with the Government in those areas.

Seychelles and EU reaffirmed their commitment to continue working together and promote common shared values and interests.

The Ambassador of the European Union, Ms Marjaana Sall, led the EU party. She was accompanied by the Ambassadors of Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Slovak Republic, Spain, the British High Commissioner, the Chargé d’ Affaires of the Polish Embassy, and the Deputy Head of Mission from the Netherlands. Also Present at the meeting was the Diplomatic Advisor to the President, Ambassador Callixte D’Offay, Secretary of State for Cabinet Affairs, Mr Mohammed Afif, Foreign Secretary, Ambassador Claude Morel, Principal Secretary for the Department of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Michelle Murray, Director General for International Relations and other officials of the Seychelles Department of Foreign Affairs.

Distributed by APO on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Seychelles.

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Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the elections in Liberia

The Secretary-General welcomes the peaceful holding of the presidential and House of Representatives elections in Liberia on 10 October. He congratulates the people of Liberia who turned out enthusiastically in high numbers to vote. The Secretary-General commends the efforts of the National Elections Commission and security institutions for this important milestone in the history of Liberia. He also commends the Liberian women’s groups for their active and important role in the electoral process. International and national observers have also provided important contributions.

The Secretary-General reiterates the continued support of the United Nations to the consolidation of peace and democracy in Liberia.

Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations – Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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Islamic Republic of Mauritania: Discussions continue on an IMF-supported economic program

  • The Mauritanian authorities and the IMF mission have made considerable progress in discussions on an economic program that could be supported by the IMF.
  • These discussions will continue next week in Washington, on the sidelines of the IMF Annual Meetings.

An IMF mission headed by Mr. Eric Mottu visited Nouakchott from September 25 to October 6, 2017 to continue the discussions, initiated in February 2017, on an economic and financial program that could be supported under the Fund’s Extended Credit Facility (ECF). At the conclusion of the visit, Mr. Mottu made the following statement:

“The Mauritanian authorities and the IMF mission have made considerable progress in their discussions on an economic program and reform measures that could be supported under a new ECF arrangement covering the period 2017-20, aimed at preserving macroeconomic stability and supporting inclusive growth.

“The authorities and the mission have agreed to continue the discussions next week in Washington, on the sidelines of the IMF Annual Meetings, focusing in particular on the public investment program, fiscal policy, and public finance and monetary policy reforms.

“Economic indicators point to a recovery of economic activity, inflation was stabilized at 2.2 percent in August, and the outlook is favorable despite uncertainties related to this year’s rainfall. The Mauritanian authorities’ economic program makes inclusive and sustainable growth a priority by emphasizing economic diversification, job creation, and improvement of the population’s living conditions, including within the framework of the Growth and Shared Prosperity Strategy (SCAPP).

“The mission wishes to thank the authorities for their warm welcome and for the constructive dialogue that prevailed during the discussions.”

Distributed by APO on behalf of International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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