What is ETIS?
As its name suggests, ETIS is a comprehensive information system to track illegal trade in ivory and other elephant products. It shares the same objectives as those set out for MIKE in Resolution Conf. 10.10 (Rev. CoP16), with the difference that its aim is to record and analyse levels and trends in illegal trade, rather than the illegal killing of elephants. The central component of ETIS is a database on seizures of elephant specimens that have occurred anywhere in the world since 1989. The seizure database is supported by a series of subsidiary database components that assess law enforcement effort and efficiency, rates of reporting, domestic ivory markets and background economic variables. These database components are time-based and country-specific and are used to mitigate factors that cause bias in the data and might otherwise distort the analytical results. The subsidiary database components also assist in interpreting and understanding the results of the ETIS analyses. Since its inception, ETIS has been managed by TRAFFIC on behalf of the CITES Parties and is currently housed at the TRAFFIC East/Southern Africa office in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Monitoring illegal trade in elephant products and illegal killing of elephants was first mandated at the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP10, 1997, Harare) when the Conference of the Parties adopted Resolution Conf. 10.10 on Trade in elephant specimens. Among other things, Resolution Conf. 10.10 called for the establishment, under the supervision and direction of the Standing Committee, of a comprehensive international system to monitor the illegal trade in elephant specimens. Initially, an existing database of ivory seizure information, TRAFFIC’s Bad Ivory Database System (BIDS), was designated as the appropriate instrument for these purposes. To serve the needs of the CITES Parties more effectively, and through a consultative process involving a number of technical experts worldwide, BIDS eventually evolved into ETIS, a far more sophisticated monitoring tool.
Resolution Conf. 10.10 was later refined and strengthened at both the 11th and 12th meetings of the Conference of the Parties (2000, Gigiri, and 2002, Santiago, respectively). The fundamental objectives of the monitoring system are:
i) measuring and recording current levels and trends, and changes in levels and trends of illegal… trade in elephant range States, and in trade entrepots;
ii) assessing whether and to what extent observed trends are related to changes in the listing of elephant populations in the CITES appendices and/or the resumption of legal international trade in ivory;
iii) establishing an information base to support the making of decisions on appropriate management, protection and enforcement needs; and
iv) building capacity in range States.
TRAFFIC is mandated to produce a comprehensive analytical report of the ETIS data assessing the factors addressed in the above objectives at each meeting of the Conference of the Parties. To ensure that there are sufficient data from which to assess illegal trade, the CITES Parties are mandated to communicate information on elephant ivory and other elephant product seizures to TRAFFIC via the CITES Secretariat within 90 days of their occurrence. While this time-frame is often ignored, it is worth noting that the seizure database has nonetheless grown from around 4,000 records from 40 countries or territories in 1997 to include over 10,394 cases, representing 77 countries and territories around the world, at the present time. Today, more Parties than ever before are actively contributing data to ETIS on a regular basis.
2. Progress to date
Significant progress has been achieved since the initial adoption of Resolution Conf. 10.10. The following events were important milestones in the evolution of ETIS:
ETIS has become a well-established and effective tool for monitoring illegal trade in elephant products under CITES. Together with MIKE, there is now a very promising basis for assessing decision-making for elephant conservation under CITES in a transparent and credible manner.
3. The funding for ETIS
As noted in the following table, since 1997, a number of government institutions and organizations have supported the development and operation of ETIS. In particular, the United Kingdom’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA, formerly DETR) is the leading donor supporting ETIS. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the CITES Secretariat and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) have also provided valuable support.
|11/1997||WWF-International||70,000||Redesigning BIDS assessment/Operation|
|12/1998||USFWS||2,300||BIDS data input|
|03/1998||USFWS||4,200||BIDS data input|
|03/1998||CITES Secretariat||30,000||ETIS development/data collection/software|
|04/1999||UK DETR||103,200||ETIS installation/operation/Computer purchases|
|02/2000||UK DETR||50,000||ETIS operation/development|
|06/2002||CITES Secretariat||13,000||ETIS analysis|
|01/2003||UK DEFRA||124,000||ETIS development/operation/data collection/country reports|
|01/2004||UK DEFRA||45,000||ETIS analysis|
The current budget for each of the main components of ETIS, for the period 2004 to 2006, is provided in the table below. The maintenance and further development of ETIS will cost approximately CHF 352,850 over this three-year period. Currently, the United Kingdom’s DEFRA is the principal donor supporting the operation and implementation of ETIS.
ETIS OPERATIONAL BUDGET 2004-2006 (CHF)
|BUDGET ITEMS||FY 2004||FY 2005||FY 2006|
|A.: Personnel costs||53,700||66,200||58,600|
|B.: Equipment purchase/operations/repairs||7,550||2,600||5,400|
|C: Communication costs||6,700||8,250||6,950|
|D: Office supplies/consumables||5,950||7,450||6,750|
|E: Professional fees||21,2000||26,450||16,050|
|F: Travel/Subsistence for project staff||7,550||12,400||8,500|
|G: TRAFFIC’S administrative overheads (7.5%)||7,700||9,250||7,325|
Note: Fiscal Year for ETIS runs from July to June of each year
4. Future developments for ETIS
Through ETIS, TRAFFIC’s innovative use of law enforcement data to track illegal elephant product trade has become one of the principal monitoring tools for elephants under CITES. Analysis of the information in ETIS is currently being used to help understand contemporary trade dynamics and advise CITES policy, decisions and interventions as appropriate. The analysis produced for CoP13 essentially ‘put a face’ on the trade by identifying key countries engaged in the illicit trade in ivory and documenting the trend since 1989. Although an extremely useful tool in this regard, ETIS also has the potential for another valuable function: to counter illegal trade in elephant products through the provision of enforcement intelligence reports.
It is envisaged that analysis of the data in ETIS could result in the generation of intelligence reports to support effective law enforcement. Such reports would not be the type that identify, for example, particular individuals or companies, but rather would be of a nature and design to help focus enforcement effort where it could be most effective. The analysis of various subsets of ETIS data could lead to the production of reports that include the following information:
These reports would enhance and add value to existing ETIS processes and outputs, and serve to engage a wider audience within the law enforcement community in a specialized and practical manner. The outputs of such an effort could also be generated in other formats that make them accessible and understandable to the CITES community and the media at large. Ultimately improving law enforcement capacity to impact the illegal trade in elephant products will have a positive effect upon elephant conservation and CITES implementation. TRAFFIC has produced a project proposal to undertake such an effort and is currently soliciting donor support for a pilot project to realize this future goal.