The JRS Biodiversity Foundation is pleased to announce Matthew Cassetta as its new Executive Director. Cassetta brings over two decades of diverse experience in international diplomacy and project management, much of it focused in Africa on capacity-building and development partnerships.
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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Wildlife: during the month of March, the UICN publicly announced two decisions concerning forest elephants. The first one was declaring the forest elephant (Loxodonta Cyclotis) an altogether different species, as until recently it was merely considered a subspecies. The second decision was declaring this species critically endangered.
To benefit people, biodiversity and the climate, EU development programmes must heed local voices – Fern
The EU is the world’s largest aid donor and a major political actor with a strong influence over global policies. The EU recognises civil society as an essential actor in policy making and implementation, specifically in the development sector.
To read: The German CBFP Facilitation and COMIFAC are preparing for the 2021 Climate and Biodiversity Conferences of the Parties; Report on landmark deforestation events in 2019; The 2021-2025 Operational Plan of COMIFAC Convergence Plan validated...
March 2021 Highlights: Rescued 1 Black-bellied pangolin; Released 1 Black-bellied pangolin back into the wild; Released 19 African grey parrots into the wild; Finished maintenance of Gorilla group 1 night den; Completed phase 1 of the Gorilla re-enrichment project…
Read: Position of European Partners on SIGIF 2 in Cameroon; Only few days left to register for the webinars "The Role of Forest Certification in the EUTR"; ATIBT technical data sheet : quality of plantation species for timber use; "Choosing tropical woods to fight climate change" says Timber Trade Federation...
Forest Watch The latest forest news April 2021: Discarding a decade of effort developing FLEGT licenses or ignoring key land rights in EC proposals to fight deforestation won't keep forests standing
Read: FLEGT ‘Fitness Check’: Abandoning FLEGT licenses would harm forest governance and the legal timber trade; EU Law on deforestation: Key land rights risk being ignored in DG Environment’s proposal; Could the palm oil arrangement between Indonesia and Switzerland offer lessons for EU and Indonesia free trade agreement negotiations?
The co-facilitators for the negotiated outcome of the 2021 UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development have issued an outline for consideration. The proposed structure includes sections on: the impact of COVID-19 on the 2030 Agenda; progress towards the SDGs under review in 2021; and accelerated actions to achieve the SDGs.
The International Renewable Energy (IRENA) has published a preview of its publication, ‘World Energy Transitions Outlook.’ The report reviews technology choices, investment needs, and socio-economic contexts necessary to set the world on a trajectory towards a sustainable, resilient and inclusive energy future.
The German CBFP Facilitation and COMIFAC are preparing for the 2021 Climate and Biodiversity Conferences of the Parties
From 9 to 13 March the COMIFAC Working Group meetings of the Central African Climate and Biodiversity Negotiators took place in Douala, Cameroon. These two meetings were held at the same time and place, with financial support provided by the German cooperation.
This publication adds to ongoing work by the World Bank Group on how to better design and incorporate fiscal policy within the climate and sustainable development policy mix. The publication shows how various fiscal reforms can positively influence forest conservation while freeing up resources that can be used for national development.
Environmental issues affect us all. As is it, the planet is moving towards a global warming of 3°C by 2100. This is not the future we want. Forests, our first carbon sink within submerged land, are however in critical danger, with the possible savannahisation of the Amazon and tropical forests that could eventually turn into proper CO2 emitters. Faced with these projections, that involve unimaginable socio-economic consequences, our absolute priority can be summed up in a single word: reduction. Reducing our carbon footprint. Reducing deforestation. Reducing the degradation of forests. Reducing them increasingly and continuously.
The world is facing unprecedented economic and environmental challenges. While climate change increasingly poses risks to macroeconomic and fiscal stability, deforestation and forest degradation impair the ability of forests to act as carbon sinks and reduce the resiliency of local communities to climate damages. The loss and decay of forests also threaten global biodiversity, the provision of ecosystem services, and other core ecological functions that economies worldwide rely on.
Fern’s report Beyond commitments: How can Nationally Determined Contributions contribute to forest governance and resilient local communities? looks at progress, challenges, and opportunities in six African countries: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Liberia, and Republic of the Congo.
The undeniable connection between nature, human health, and economic well-being has become more evident than ever during this time of crisis. Resilience is in our nature: IUCN and its Members are working to ensure a nature-based recovery that can deliver sustainable solutions, providing a foundation for a healthier relationship between humanity and the planet.
As indicated on the Fordaq website, Hans Fahrni, CEO of FACO Construction, is pleased with the effects of the log export ban on the timber industry in Gabon, where the majority of the forest area is FSC-certified (the government's goal is to certify all of them within 4 years).
The ATIBT and the Malaysian Timber Council (MTC) have recently held several online meetings to clarify their common issues for the development of a responsible tropical timber sector. These meetings have been preceded in recent years by annual meetings.
REN21’s Renewables in Cities Global Status Report (REC) series provides an overview of the status, trends and developments of renewable energy in cities, using the most up-to-date information and data available. The REC’s neutral, fact-based approach documents in detail the annual developments in policies, markets, investments and citizen action, with a particular focus on renewables in public, residential and commercial buildings as well as public and private urban transport. This report aims to inform decision makers and to create an active exchange of views and information around urban renewable energy.
The price of deforestation and degradation is enormous, said Robert Nasi, director general of CIFOR and managing director of CIFOR-ICRAF, speaking at the Global Forest Summit.
The crisis provoked by the coronavirus pandemic offers a chance to shift from a fossil-fuel based economy to a nature-based circular bioeconomy, said Britain’s heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles on Friday.
The UK and Norway launched an initiative on sustainable finance that will serve as a platform for British and Norwegian financial institutions to share knowledge and best practices focused on actionable climate solutions in the financial sector and explore the regulatory frameworks and investment decisions that would be necessary to achieve a zero-emissions economy.
The post-2020 global biodiversity framework (GBF) took center stage at the informal meeting in preparation for the third meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI-3), convened by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
UN-Water convened a three-day event to discuss accelerating progress towards water and sanitation for all by 2030, and a report that indicates ambitions for 2030 remain off-track. Participants were briefed on the SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework, upcoming high-level events on water, and the preparatory process for the 2023 UN conference for the midterm review of the Water Action Decade.
The pandemic has tragically claimed millions of lives and placed countries in complete economic and social lockdown, with the threat of a global recession looming. But the pandemic is not just an immediate human health crisis; it also poses a long-term socio-economic ramifications for people who depend on natural resources such as timber, fisheries and wildlife.
This Sunday, 21 March, is the United Nations International Day of Forests (IDF), intended to celebrate and raise global awareness of the importance of forests. The theme is "Forest restoration: a path to recovery and well-being", a cause that Fern championed in our recent report looking at how rights-based forest restoration can empower communities, recover biodiversity, and tackle the climate crisis. It also explained that forest restoration must never be used to greenwash other sectors' lack of action towards climate objectives.
The Green Climate Fund (GCF) and its partners have signed implementation agreements for two new climate finance projects only hours after they were approved by the GCF Board.
Elon Musk tweeted earlier this year that he would be "donating $100 million towards a prize for best carbon capture technology”. Out of 600 thousand likes and retweets, twenty thousand corresponded to a brilliant solution: “A tree”. The Tesla boss responded that trees were, indeed, part of the solution, but that we may require something that is “ultra-large-scale industrial in 10 to 20 years”. The sense of acting ‘urgently’ and at ‘scale’ are clearly central to the concepts of innovations announced in his offer.
19. February 2020 | In the past, Germany has been among the more ambitious providers of financial assistance to developing countries’ efforts to adapt to a changing climate and cut or avoid greenhouse gas emissions.
The findings and recommendations in this Toolkit were identified based on a meta-review of program evaluations and scholarly research in French and English, supplemented by a series of key informant interviews with program implementers. The Toolkit was validated through review by an Advisory Council of external civil society practitioners and researchers as well as practitioners from Search for Common Ground’s field offices across the Sudano-Sahel (Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Nigeria, Niger, South Sudan, Sudan).
Not Too Late to Undo Forest Damage, Secretary-General Says, in Message for International Day, while Warning ‘We Risk a Point of No Return - UN
Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for the International Day of Forests, observed on 21 March: Humanity’s well-being is inextricably linked to the health of our planet. Forests play a crucial role.
February saw the 13th session of our Advisory Board meeting, held in Brazzaville, where our workplan and budget for 2021 were finalised and approved. This year will see a whole host of developments from the park - from new construction, including schools, markets and clean-water pumps, to new projects, such as the Makao community pharmacy, due to be launched in March 2021. We here at the park look forward to getting stuck into these challenges.
28 Green Climate Fund Board meeting approves 15 new projects, USD 1.2 billion for climate action: The Congo Basin named among the beneficiaries which include the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of Congo, and the Central African Republic
The following projects are relevant to the Congo Basin: (1)USD 29 million for PREFOREST CONGO - Project aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from forests in five departments in the Republic of Congo with the FAO (FP159) – (2) USD 280 million for Sustainable Renewables Risk Mitigation Initiative (SRMI) Facility with World Bank in Botswana, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Mali, Namibia, Uzbekistan (FP163) – (3) - USD 82.8 million for The Africa Integrated Climate Risk Management Programme: Building resilience of smallholder farmers to climate change impacts in 7 Sahelian Countries of the Great Green Wall (GGW) with IFAD in Burkina Faso, Chad, Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal (FP162).
large numbers of elephants, chimpanzees and gorillas, as well as numerous other species and habitats. The area covers some 178,000 square kilometres, 97 percent of which is forest, making it a large and productive carbon sink. Illegal logging, large-scale mining, poaching, and forest conversion for commodity crops has made the area vulnerable and is threatening its ecosystem. A comprehensive effort is underway to combat wildlife crime, designate protected areas and institute sustainable forest management. The World Bank Carbon Fund has earmarked $280 million in climate finance to reduce forest emissions in the area.
The African Adaptation Initiative and GCA consolidated their partnership with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to support African leadership to accelerate climate change adaptation across the continent.
RFUK supports civil society call for the immediate cancellation of three million hectares of illegal logging concessions in DRC
RFUK, Greenpeace and Congolese civil society groups are calling on the DRC Government to revoke three million hectares of illegal logging concessions or risk wrecking its image on the international climate stage.