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From Giraffes, elephants, reptiles and sea cucumbers

A young giraffe and his mother (Giraffa camelopardalis) in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Result check: the role of the European Union to save endangered species.

The International Conference on Trade in Endangered Species ended. We provide a brief analysis and address future challenges for the European Union and its Member States.

Earlier this year, the public was shaken up when an international forum of scientists demonstrated that we are on the path to a mass extinction of unimaginable proportions. All the more attention was paid to the three-yearly Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which ended on 28 August 2019 in Geneva.

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Wildlifecrime: Stolen from the wild

© Milivoje Krvavac

The CITES species conservation conference and the role of the EU

In May 2019, a report by IPBES, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity, shocked the world: One million species could disappear from the Earth in the coming decades. The report clearly identifies the exploitation of wild populations as one of the five main causes of mass extinction. In the light of such urgent warnings, it’s hard to believe that keeping up the trade ban on ivory and rhino horn still needs strenuous efforts. Further, countless animals of hundreds, if not thousands of endangered reptile, amphibian and fish species continue to be taken from the wild without any control, because the species still lack international protection.

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Wildlife trade – a global wake-up call

The world’s wild animals are in serious decline. Humanity has wiped out 60% of wild animal populations since 1970. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s ‘Red List’ classifies a quarter of all mammals, a third of sharks, rays and corals, and 40% of amphibians, as threatened with extinction. Many more species may be falling under the radar.

The Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, published recently by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), estimated that a million species may be at risk of extinction, identified economic exploitation among the key drivers of biodiversity loss, emphasised that ‘transformative changes’ are required to restore and protect nature, and indicated the need for opposition from vested interests to be overcome. These are strong words from an intergovernmental body, and they come not a moment too soon.

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