Postal bureau joins enforcement agencies for CITES training
Xi’an, China, December 2016—more than 50 officers from government departments in Shaanxi, Gansu, Qinghai and Ningxia provinces were joined for the first time by representatives from the Shaanxi Postal Bureau for two days of training on implementation of measures under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) late last month.
The workshop was organized by the Xi’an Branch of China’s CITES Management Authority (CITES MA) and held in co-operation with TRAFFIC and other NGOs under the auspices of the Provincial Inter-agency CITES Enforcement Coordination Group (PICE-CG).
Government departments attending from the four provinces included Forest Police, Customs, Industry and Commerce Administration, Inspection and Quarantine Bureau, Forestry Department and Fishery Department, plus representatives of Shaanxi Postal Bureau, the newest member of the PICE-CG.
“More and more wildlife products are being traded online using the internet and social media with delivery taking place via courier companies,” said Jia Yongyi, Director of Xi’an Branch of China’s CITES MA. “As the overseer of the courier industry, the Postal Bureau is an important stakeholder joining the PICE-CG to help implement CITES measures.”
Delegates received species identification training from experts from China’s CITES Scientific Authority and heard about the latest developments following the 17th Conference of the Parties (CoP17) to CITES that ended in South Africa in October, while an expert from Beijing Forestry University spoke about significant changes in the revised “China Wildlife Conservation Act”.
TRAFFIC presented an overview of the latest developments in illegal wildlife trade globally and nationally and outlined how information sharing with government departments was facilitating enforcement actions. Acting on information supplied by TRAFFIC, government enforcement agencies in Shaanxi province undertook a series of enforcement actions against illegal wildlife markets in June 2016. TRAFFIC surveys of the same markets in November 2016 found no illegal wildlife products for sale.
Follow up surveys clearly showed the impact of the government’s fast and effective enforcement actions, acting on the information provided by TRAFFIC. Nevertheless, wildlife trafficking remains a highly profitable activity and we must not grow complacent: TRAFFIC will continue to monitor the markets and share our findings with relevant government agencies
Zhou Fei, Head of TRAFFIC’s China office
Members the PICE-CG reviewed various issues to be addressed in 2017, including more emphasis on species identification, raising public awareness of conservation issues, and addressing the relatively low punishments dealt out for minor wildlife trafficking infringements. Shaanxi Postal Bureau representatives spoke of their plans to address transportation of wildlife products through staff training and outreach to courier companies and collaboration with enforcement agencies. All the delegates spoke of their desire and willingness to enhance interagency co-operation and collaboration in the coming year.
TRAFFIC’s capacity building work in Northwest China is kindly supported by WWF UK and GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB).
WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organisations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature.