Press release: European Union invests EUR 12 m to minimize the illegal killing of endangered species

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PRESS RELEASE

European Union invests EUR 12 m to minimize the illegal killing of endangered species

Funds to focus on species under pressure in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific

Geneva, 4 July 2014– The European Commission and the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) signed this week a EUR 12 million agreement to minimise  the poaching of flagship species in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.

The programme called Minimising the Illegal Killing of Elephants and other Endangered Species (MIKES) has a duration of 50 months and will generate regular and reliable information on the status and threats to elephants and other flagship species based on law enforcement benchmarks and ranger-based monitoring systems.

The European Union, in partnership with the Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States, have played a vital role to strengthen global efforts to combat wildlife crime. The European Commission announced its decision to support MIKES in December 2013 during an elephant summit held in Botswana.

"The fight against the criminals who are decimating wildlife through illegal trade will be won or lost on the front lines. This project will provide practical and real time support to the brave and committed rangers who are serving in the field in selected sites, which is exactly where more support is needed," said John E. Scanlon, Secretary-General of CITES

“The European Union has been a long-standing and steadfast supporter of CITES and its effective implementation at the country level, which is further reinforced by this timely and much needed initiative.” added  Scanlon.

This major programme builds on the highly successful Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) Programme, which has been developed and implemented by CITES in collaboration with African elephant range States, with the support of the European Commission and key partners, from 2001 until the present day.

MIKE was designed to generate reliable and impartial data on the status and trends in African elephant populations, illegal killing and illegal trade in ivory, as a basis for international and range State decision making and action concerning elephant conservation.

The MIKE Programme has documented alarming increases in levels of elephant poaching and highlighted the urgent need for further action to reduce the increasing threat to elephant populations across Africa as a result of the escalating international illegal trade in their ivory. The need for action extends to other CITES-listed species facing similar threats.

MIKES will respond to this need by leveraging the strong foundation established and successes achieved by MIKE over the past decade, but with an expanded focus to include other CITES-listed flagship species threatened by international trade.

The CITES Standing Committee (7 to 11 July in Geneva) will assess MIKE figures and eight countries’ National Ivory Action Plans (China, Kenya, Malaysia, Philippines, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda and Viet Nam) and will discuss the next steps to stop illegal ivory trade, including whether additional countries should develop National Ivory Action Plans.

The Committee will also consider the roll out of a wide-range of enforcement-related decisions taken by CITES in March 2013 on other species being pressured by illegal trade, including elephants, rhinos, pangolins, great apes, as well as a study of the legal and illegal trade in wild cheetahs.

Note to editors: For more information, contact Juan Carlos Vasquez at +41 22 917 8156 or juan.vasquez@cites.org.

See also the EC press release of 3 December 2013.

About CITES:

With 180 Member States, CITES remains one of the world's most powerful tools for biodiversity conservation through the regulation of trade in wild fauna and flora. Thousands of species are internationally traded and used by people in their daily lives for food, housing, health care, ecotourism, cosmetics or fashion.

CITES regulates international trade in over 35,000 species of plants and animals, including their products and derivatives, ensuring their survival in the wild with benefits for the livelihoods of local people and the global environment. The CITES permit system seeks to ensure that international trade in listed species is sustainable, legal and traceable.   CITES was signed in Washington D.C. on 3 March 1973.

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