Geneva, 6 May 2003
Measures for improving law enforcement coordination
between ivory producing and ivory importing States
1. At its 49th meeting (Geneva, April 2003), the Standing Committee discussed measures for improving law enforcement coordination between ivory producing and ivory importing States, as required in Decision 12.35 of the Conference of the Parties.
2. The Standing Committee agreed that the most important measure is to encourage a greater flow of information between relevant Parties. For example, it is essential that Parties making seizures of ivory should, at an early stage, pass details of each seizure to the country of origin or last re-export, when it can be identified. This should help identify smuggling routes, smuggling methods, couriers, dealers, processors, and perhaps even help identify those involved in poaching. It is also important that countries of origin or re-export that have intelligence relating to illicit trade, but that may be unable to intercept shipments within their own territories, make such intelligence available to likely countries of transit or destination.
3. The Committee believed that sufficient channels already exist through which such information can be communicated, such as ICPO-Interpol, the World Customs Organization, the CITES Secretariat and regional law enforcement networks and agreements (the Lusaka Agreement Task Force, for example). It also believed, however, that insufficient use is made of such channels and that there is considerable room for improvement in the exchange of information. The Committee encouraged Parties, where possible, to make use of electronic means for the exchange of information to facilitate quick and widespread dissemination. For example the ivory and elephant product seizure data collection form is available on the CITES website (see Notification to the Parties No.1999/92 of 30 November 1999).
4. The Committee noted that the involvement of a variety of agencies (police, Customs, national parks departments and CITES Management Authorities) could make law enforcement coordination a challenge, both at national and international levels. For example, elephant poaching might be the responsibility of national park staff who do not have ready access to the facilities of their country’s Interpol National Central Bureau to send information abroad or they may not have the authority to undertake inspection work at ports where the smuggling of ivory is likely to occur. Moreover, national law enforcement organizations do not always advise their CITES Management Authorities of work they are undertaking. Often, all that is required to improve law enforcement is simply to increase communication between relevant agencies.
5. The Committee further noted that the Secretariat has previously supplied to the Parties advice from ICPO-Interpol regarding improving cooperation between Management Authorities and the police. The World Customs Organization has also prepared a draft memorandum of understanding that can be used by Management Authorities and Customs authorities.
6. The Standing Committee postponed making further recommendations until it has received the results of an expert group meeting on enforcement that will be convened by the Secretariat.
7. In addition to the above recommendations of the Standing Committee, the Secretariat will shortly be distributing to the Parties Alert No. 11, relating to illicit trade in ivory. This will contain targeting advice and other observations for the assistance of Management Authorities and law enforcement agencies.
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