Poland hosts collaboration meeting on implementation of wildlife trade regulations
Poznań, Poland, 15th December 2011—Representatives from nine Central and Eastern European countries, plus several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) including TRAFFIC met last week in Poznań, Poland, to examine ways of improving wildlife trade regulations in the region.
The countries of Central and Eastern Europe share similar problems related to effective enforcement of CITES regulations (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), and because of their geographic position, many bear a special responsibility for controlling the importation of protected animals and plants and their products from Asia.
Delegates examined issues ranging from ownership, registration and commercial trading of protected wildlife to ways of tackling the growing web-organized trafficking of protected species.
TRAFFIC was invited to participate in the meeting, in particular to a session devoted to illegal exploitation of reptile populations in South-East Asia, the origin of many specimens brought to Europe.
“Rising numbers of reptiles, both live for the pet trade, and skins for the fashion industry, are being smuggled from South-East Asia into the EU and beyond,” said Chris R. Shepherd, Deputy Regional Director of TRAFFIC Southeast Asia.
“Illegal trade undermines efforts to attain sustainable harvest and trade levels and the intentions of the CITES Convention itself.”
“TRAFFIC is confident that enhanced co-operation between countries in South-East Asia and in Central and Eastern Europe will result in improved implementation of CITES globally, helping lessen the threat posed to wildlife from illegal and unsustainable trade.”
Delegates agreed that requirements for certificates of legal origin for specimens in national and EU trade should be standardized across the region and these are currently being drafted.
All participants agreed that the seminar should be held on a regular basis and the next meeting is planned for 2012.
The meeting was held during Poland’s current tenure as the presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU). It was organized by the Polish Society for Nature Conservation “Salamandra” and supported financially by the EU and the network of nature conservation NGOs, the CEEweb for Biodiversity.
The 35 delegates included representatives of CITES scientific and management authorities from nine countries—Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine—plus NGOs, who were invited to attend by the State Council for Nature Conservation and the Polish Ministry of the Environment.