On 14 September 2022, the European Parliament voted on proposals to amend the EU‘s Renewable Energy Directive (RED). Changing problematic incentives for burning forest biomass was the most contentious issue in an otherwise fairly consensual file, as most MEPs agree that overall renewable energy ambitions should be considerably increased.
New TRAFFIC-WWF report reveals France’s role in the legal and illegal trade in endangered species
In a new report launched on World Wildlife Day, WWF and TRAFFIC highlight mainland France’s and French overseas’ role in the trade of CITES1 species. With millions of wildlife specimens in trade to/from France each year, France is a significant trader in the EU. Accordingly, France also has a key role to play in preventing the over-exploitation of wildlife, by continuing to ensure the effective implementation of CITES and combating wildlife trafficking.
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The European Union (EU) is an important player in the international legal and illegal wildlife trade and is known to be a major destination market and trade hub for wildlife and their commodities, including species listed on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Being one of the largest economies in the EU, France plays a crucial role in legal and illegal wildlife trade in the EU. France also has 12 overseas territories scattered from the subarctic (Saint-Pierre and Miquelon) to the Antarctic (Terre Adélie), through the tropical zones of the three largest oceans, which makes the country a host to a remarkable biological diversity and endemism. Being a CITES Party since 1978, France bears a responsibility in ensuring that trade in wild species is sustainable, legal and traceable, not only as an importer and re-exporter, but also as a range state for various wild species.
The aim of this report is to provide an assessment of the current state of France’s legal and illegal trade in CITES-listed species for the period 2008 to 2017 so as to offer insights into the key commodities in trade, trends and main trading partners involved in order to encourage France’s effort to fight further against wildlife crime. Data sources used include CITES trade data reported by France and other EU Member States, European Union Trade in Wildlife Information eXchange (EUTWIX) seizure data, US CITES seizure data implicating France, and TRAFFIC’s global seizure database containing seizure information from open sources.
CITES trade data between 2008 and 2017 indicated France was a main importing destination country of wildlife commodities for the EU market, and (re-)export point to outside the EU; importer and re-exporter of live plants and plant products, reptile products, importer of corals, Queen Conch meat and medicinal leeches, and (re-) exporter of sturgeons and paddlefish specimens. The main trading partners varied depending on the commodities.
Among the various CITES-listed specimens seized in metropolitan France between 2008 and 2017, which totalled 3,342 seizure records according to EU-TWIX, the main commodity groups seized were elephant ivory, live reptiles, mammals (live mammals and mammal bodies, parts and derivatives), bird bodies, parts and derivatives by number of seizure records. The seizures were mainly carried out internally and on import while the main direction of trade and trading partners involved varied considerably depending on the commodity groups/species. It should be noted that any trends in illegal trade observed may in part be due to varying enforcement efforts and priorities over time, instead of shifts in demand or changes in illegal trade patterns.
Airports were the main location of seizures in France between 2008 and 2017, involving 813 seizure records involving 113,615 specimens and an additional 4,359 kg. Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport was confirmed as the main airport of those seizures, with elephant ivory and reptile bodies, parts and derivatives being the main commodity groups. In contrast, seizures at mail centres and maritime ports seem to have been less frequent in France during the period. Illegal wild meat trade is one of the areas which warrant further attention by the French authorities. The analysis of seizure data indicated seizures of wild meat in France between 2008 and 2017 were relatively low while most of them were transported from Central African countries and seized at airports on import as the previous studies suggested. Seizures of wild meat could be underreported as wild meat tends to be destroyed before species identification is made even if the specimen is CITES-listed species. With increasing human health concerns about pathogens as well as conservation, increased enforcement effort on shipments coming from Africa entering French airports are warranted.
In terms of imports of CITES-listed species into France overseas (FO), those into the France outermost regions were reportedly much higher than those into the France overseas countries and territories between 2008 and 2017. Live orchids were the main commodity imported into both the France outermost regions and France overseas countries and territories by number of specimens while Queen Conch meat was the main commodity imported into the France outermost regions by weight. In addition, France overseas were implicated in a total of 217 seizure records reported by France in the EU-TWIX database between 2008 and 2017, most of which were related to the France Outermost Regions. Both CITES trade data and seizure data suggest that Queen Conch is a very important species for France overseas especially for Martinique, Guadeloupe and Saint Martin, all in the Caribbean, confirming a previous study (Prada et al., 2017) indicating demand for Queen Conch meat in the region.
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An area of Europe equivalent to one-fifth of Belgium has burned so far this year, the greatest surface at this point in the calendar year since records began in 2006. As this and the other realities of the climate crisis made their presence felt, Professor Sten B. Nilsson wrote an opinion piece for Euractiv outlining how to prevent Europe’s forest fires.
At the start of the new academic year, the United Nations Regional Information Centre in Bonn together with UNCCD, hosted a group of graduate students from Côte d’Ivoire, Germany and Kenya to discuss the Convention’s work on combating drought and desertification and the role of science in supporting good land stewardship. Two dozen students who visited UN Bonn are a part of the programme launched by the German Center for Development Research (ZEF) in 2021, together with the Universities of Cologne, Abidjan and Nairobi as part of the new DAAD Global Environment and Climate Center Initiative.
Droughtland campaign featured in the margins of the General Assembly discussions on new ways to promote SDGs - UNCCD
On the sidelines of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the UNCCD took part in a high-level event at the opening night of Goals House held at the iconic Tavern on the Green in Central Park on 18 September 2022.
New York, September 19, 2022 – The African Union Development Agency-NEPAD in partnership with Afreximbank, co-launched the AUDA-NEPAD Energize Africa initiative on the margins of the 77th United Nations General Assembly in New York. The Energize Africa initiative recognises that Africa’s youth and women – making up more than half of the continent’s populations - must be at the core of Africa’s economic growth and inclusive development strategies.
Press Release: Climate Finance to Address Global Challenges on Climate Change, Land Degradation and Biodiversity Loss - NEPAD
New York, September 20, 2022 – Climate financing will play an important role in unlocking Africa’s potential to combat climate change. It is estimated that Africa requires about 2.5 trillion dollars of climate finance between 2020 and 2030 averaging about 250 billion dollars each year. However, the total annual climate finance flows in Africa for 2020 were only 30 billion dollars, which is just about 12 percent of the amount needed.
Global Leadership Council unveiled to scale up clean, reliable energy and stop global warming - AFDB
22-Sep-2022 - The battle to stop global warming from rising above the catastrophic 1.5 degree Celsius received a boost on Wednesday as the newly launched Global Leadership Council got down to business during the 77th session of the UN General Assembly in New York.
As the world faces multiple crises dominated by new conflicts, the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, economic shocks, and growing inequalities, development has been halted or even reversed across several domains, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO).
The African Union (AU) Youth for Peace Africa Programme, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and the United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU) have launched a serious game known as “Mission55 Conflict in Anaka”, to commemorate the International Day of Peace (Peace Day) 2022. The game, which the AU and GIZ developed, aims to raise awareness, educate and inform the public, particularly youth, on the mandate of the AU to promote good governance, peace and security in Africa.
African Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in eastern and southern Africa have been prompted to support and promote the implementation of the African Union’s Free Movement Protocol (FMP) and the Migration Policy Framework for Africa (MPFA). The call to action to CSOs was made during the opening of the second Regional CSO Sensitization Forum on the Continental Free Movement Protocol organized by the AU Economic, Social, and Cultural Council (AU-ECOSOCC) with support from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
September 15, 2022 (NAIROBI, Kenya): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) today launched the IGAD Regional Trade Policy 2022-2026 in Nairobi. Representatives of IGAD Member States from Ministry of Trade and Heads of Chamber of Commerce and Industry, representatives of partners such as the African Development Bank (AfDB), and the Pan-African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI) attended the one-day event.
New biodiversity commitments announced as world leaders declare nature summit COP15 a priority - GEF
New commitments aimed at catalyzing biodiversity finance and conservation were unveiled today at a high-level event convened on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly to showcase action and support for a nature-positive world. New initiatives announced include €0.87 billion of new funding from the German government; a 10 point plan for financing biodiversity, endorsed by 16 initial countries; and the next phase of the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People (HAC for Nature and People 2.0)...
Nancy Karigithu is Kenya’s Ambassador and Special Envoy for Shipping and the Blue Economy. In an interview, she explained how the maritime sector can reduce pollution, rein in carbon emissions, and combat wildlife trafficking on a global scale.
Patricia Zurita is CEO of BirdLife International, a leading conservation organization that works with 115 national partner organizations and 13 million members to protect birds and their habitats worldwide. In an interview marking BirdLife’s 100th anniversary, she shared her vision for how the world can create a healthy environment for healthy societies in the coming century.
Media Release: Governments Meet on Science and Evidence to Address Global Biodiversity Crisis - ipbes
Bonn, Germany – Representatives of almost 140 Governments will begin a week-long meeting on Sunday in Bonn, Germany to advance the science and evidence necessary to address the global biodiversity crisis. The ninth session of the Plenary of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (#IPBES9) will be the first in-person meeting, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, of the global body tasked with presenting decision-makers with the best-available science and expertise, to inform policy and action on nature.
Hindou, a Mbororo Indigenous pastoralist woman, is the founder of the Association of Indigenous Peul Women and Peoples of Chad (AFPAT), a community-based organization focused on promoting the rights of girls and women in the Mbororo community and inspiring leadership and advocacy in environmental protection. She is an influential climate leader in Africa, advocating for the importance of traditional knowledge for building resilience of Indigenous and forest communities to cope with the climate crisis.
Enforcement officers new to the fight against wildlife crime have put a suite of TRAFFIC resources and newly developed materials to the test in a series of trainings in Southeast Asia. The face-to-face trainings with newly designed materials have been critical in bringing up-to-date information and tools to frontliners in some of the region’s major wildlife trade hotspots. However, staff turnover, regulatory changes, and evolving trends in wildlife crime mean there is a constant need for training.” Renee Yee, TRAFFIC’s Training and Capacity Building Officer in Southeast Asia
UN Women and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) issued a report, which presents evidence on gender equality across all 17 SDGs. Emphasizing the pivotal role of gender equality in driving progress on the entire 2030 Agenda, the report warns that global crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, violent conflict, and climate change have exacerbated gender disparities.
The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) regional offices for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), and the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) published the results of a regional assessment of progress towards SDG 4 (quality education). The report highlights the urgent need for more investment and social participation to enable a systemic transformation of education.
On the occasion of the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, 9 August 2022, we reflect on the important role of indigenous women in the preservation and the transmission of traditional knowledge.
COP 15 PRESIDENCY: latest news from Huang Runqiu, President of the COP 15 and Minister of Ecology and Environment of China – CBD
On September 12, Huang Runqiu, President of the Fifteenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 15) and Minister of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, had a video meeting with Virginijus Sinkevičius, EU Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries. The two sides had in-depth exchanges on the second part of COP 15 and key issues related to the post-2020 global biodiversity framework (GBF) .
From 19 September to 20 November 2022, learn to develop a step-by-step ecosystem restoration plan and apply effective restoration solutions in your national and sub-national context. Now is the time to restore our damaged ecosystems. Join a FREE MOOC on Ecosystem Restoration on the Learning for Nature platform.
We, the representatives of Central African civil society who participated in-person and virtually in the 19th Meeting of Parties of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP), which was organized by the Federal Republic of Germany and took place from 5 to 8 July, 2022, in Libreville, Republic of Gabon, came together on 6 July 2022, as part of a strategic workshop of civil society organizations working to ensure effective management of natural resources in Congo Basin countries…
Berlin, 12th September 2022, the International Bamboo and Rattan Organization (INBAR), has officially joined the 124 members of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP). INBAR has submitted its application and consented to the CBFP members’ cooperation framework to promote sustainable management of forest ecosystems in Central Africa.
CBFP RDP 19: Main conclusions of Streams of the 19th Meeting of the Parties of the CBFP: Strong messages and recommendations...
Please download the recommendations, conclusions, messages coming out of the deliberations of Streams 1a, 1b, 2 and 3, Technical Segment of the MOP 19 of the CBFP of Libreville towards sustainable development for Central Africa’s countries, people, forests and biodiversity...These conclusions also serve as a roadmap for the partners to implement the "Declaration of commitment of COMIFAC Member States to the forests of Central Africa and call for equitable financing" and the “Joint Declaration of the Congo Basin donors of COP26”…
MoP 19 - CIFOR - USFS: Peatlands, mangroves, and other wetlands: climate responses in the Congo Basin
Please kindly consult the main conclusions of the two side events organised by CIFOR and USFS in the margins of CBFP MOP 19 on: Slot 1: Current scientific activities on peatlands (and other wetlands) in the Congo Basin and Slot 2: Early responses to protect and manage peatlands in the Congo Basin.
A new member of the great CBFP family: Welcome to the Republic of Korea (ROK) represented by the Korean Forest Service (KFS)!
Berlin, 12th August 2022, the Republic of Korea (ROK), represented by the Korea Forest Service (KFS), has officially joined the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP). ROK has submitted their application and consented to the CBFP members’ cooperation framework in promoting sustainable management of forest ecosystems in Central Africa.
The UN Global Compact published its China strategy seeking “to unlock the potential of business and other stakeholders to maximize their impact on the SDGs and contribute to sustainable development in China and the rest of the world.” The document recognizes China’s local priorities while striving to align itself with the UN Global Compact’s Ten Principles and global ambition.
Participants at the 2022 World Water Week, which convened against the backdrop of the flooding in Pakistan, the food crisis in Africa, and the drying rivers of Europe, highlighted the need for investments and political will to implement available water solutions.
The latest Human Development Report, published by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), warns that due to the impacts of the multiple crises, mounting layers of uncertainty, and increasing polarization, human development has dropped to its 2016 levels, “reversing much of the progress” towards the SDGs. Yet, it argues, there is “promise and opportunity in uncertainty” to “reimagine our futures, to renew and adapt our institutions and to craft new stories about who we are and what we value.”
Berlin September 7, 2022. Honourable Dr. Christian Ruck, CBFP Facilitator of the Federal Republic of Germany travelled to Brussels to co-host together with the Member of the European Parliament from the Group of the European People's Party (EPP) Dr. Angelika Niebler, a casual round table on the importance of the EU’s support in achieving better protection of the Congo Basin Forests, including through a “Fair Deal” mechanism for long-term financing of the region by means of payments for ecosystem services approach.
Delegates to the fourth session of the Intersessional Process for Considering the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) and the Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste Beyond 2020 (IP4) advanced their work on the outline for a future global policy framework to promote chemical safety.
A strong majority of Europeans think businesses are failing in their responsibility to protect the world’s forests and therefore support a new law to ban products that destroy them. On Amazon Rainforest Day, a new poll shows that an overwhelming majority of Europeans (82%) believe businesses should not sell products that destroy the world’s forests and think (78%) that the government needs to ban products that drive deforestation. When informed that the European Parliament has proposed such a law, support rises to 81 per cent.
MEPs have a crucial chance to ensure smallholders around the world don’t pay the price for EU efforts to end deforestation. When the European Commission published its proposal for a Regulation on deforestation-free products in November 2021, it was hailed as a landmark in the fight against deforestation.
Will the EU biomass loophole give a lifeline to energy giant EPH’s coal power plants? “A carbon bomb in the heart of Europe” investigates the rapidly growing Czech energy company EPH’s exploitation of loopholes in the European Union’s (EU) Renewable Energy Directive. The loopholes allow Member States to offer subsidies to extend the life of power stations. EPH is using such subsidies to burn biomass from forests, thereby dangerously delaying the energy sector’s decarbonisation.