As coalition of countries, including US, push for resolution to end practise, Japan, Namibia, South Africa and Canada raise concerns at Hawaii meeting
A resolution to end the domestic trading in ivory has descended into acrimony at a major conservation summit, with a handful of countries, including Japan and South Africa, objecting to the proposed ban.
A coalition of countries, including the US, France, Gabon, Kenya and Malawi, spoke in favor of an International Union for the Conservation of Nature( IUCN) motion that calls for every country to ban their internal trade of tusk.
However, a delegation from Japan, Namibia and South Africa was contended that domestic ivory marketplaces should be left open as long as they are regulated. Canada voiced concerns that the ivory forbidding would affect trade of walrus and narwhal, which are hunted by indigenous people in the country.
South Africa and Namibia even threatened to end their membership of IUCN over the wording of the motion, according to sources at the world preservation congress, which is being held in Hawaii. After two days of deadlocked talks, the resolution will be discussed further on Saturday in a bid to find consensus.
The intransigence of some countries has enraged environmental groups that make up the bulk of the IUCNs 1,300 -strong membership, which also includes 217 country and national government agencies.
It is disappointing that we are now told we have to meet again for a contact group[ a negotiating session ], since a few members were not pleased with the outcome of previous deliberations, told Sue Lieberman, vice-president of international policy at the Wildlife Conservation Society, a cosponsor of the motion.
Theres genuinely a crisis for elephants and we need to close the elephant ivory markets. The overwhelming majority of the earlier contact group wanted to close domestic tusk markets.
Danny Auron, campaign director at Avaaz, similarly expressed annoyance. Every 15 minutes an elephant is slaughtered for its tusks, and at this rate theyll be gone eternally in a few short years, he said. If we want this species to survive, governments need to be falling over themselves to strengthen protections , not fighting to water them down.
While the IUCN does not govern the tusk trade, it is hoped that a resolution calling for the end of domestic markets will help spur nations to commit to a forbidding at the Cites convention, held in Johannesburg later this month. It is through the Cites treaty that the international trade in tusk was banned in 1989.
John Scanlon, secretary-general of Cites, told the Guardian the forthcoming convention is without doubt one of the most critical meetings of Quotes in its 43 -year history.
It is clear that this[ IUCN] motion is producing an intense and robust debate amongst the membership of IUCN, with differing opinions being strongly expressed.
The IUCN resolution calls on governments around the world to close their domestic markets for elephant tusk as a matter of urgency. The motion states that IUCN members are deeply concerned by the illegal killing of elephants that threatens the species survival, harms national security and undermines sustainable economic development in countries where elephants are found in the wild.
Millions of elephants once wandered throughout Africa and from the coast of Persia through India and deep into China. Habitat loss and rampant poaching has drastically reduced this number, with African elephants now being killed at a faster rate than they are reproducing.
The first ever continent-wide census of Africas savannah elephants found that nearly a third were wiped out between 2007 and 2014. Poachers target the animals to furnish ivory from their tusks in Asia. Gangs can get $ 1,100 per kilogram for ivory in China, which announced last year it would shut down its own domestic marketplace.
Ivory can also be found by purchasers in many western countries. A recent report by the NGO Traffic found that the antiques ivory market in the UK appeared to have declined significantly, though there are still thousands of tusk items on sale in Londons markets.
Even though the international trade in ivory has been banned for more than 25 years, a flourishing black market has led to the carnage of elephants, as well as the people charged with protecting them.
A separate IUCN motion to protect 30% of the worlds oceans was agreed with little conflict. The resolve, if adopted by countries, would drastically increase the small amount of marine region currently off limits to commercial fishing and drilling. A related motion that supports marine protected areas on the high seas, which are beyond national jurisdiction, also passed.
These motions will help reverse the tide of habitat extermination, pollution and depletion of the worlds oceans, said Francine Kershaw, a science fellow with the Natural Resource Defense Council.
Both emphasize the necessity of achieving more marine protected areas, which are scientifically supported to enhance ocean health and resilience in the face of global warming, ocean acidification and rapidly escalating industrial activities.
Dr Lance Morgan, president of the Marine Conservation Institute, also praised the motions. This is terrific news and will surely make momentum for establishing more marine reserves around the world in coming years, he said. We know how to fix the oceans but now we need the political will and public support to make hard decisions before its too late.
More than 80 other resolutions passed with little fuss. They include a call for a ban on gillnet fishing, which threatens the vaquita porpoise in Mexico, and restrictions on the trade of pangolins. Other motions backed the adoption of renewable energy and energy efficiency by countries. Voting was conducted online prior to the opening of the IUCN congress.
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