WCC 2016 Res 011 - Progress Report

General information
IUCN Constituencies implementing this Resolution
IUCN Members: 
Wildlife Conservation Society ( WCS ) / United States of America
IUCN Commissions: 
IUCN Species Survival Commission 2017-2020 (SSC)
IUCN SSC African Elephant Specialist Group 2013-2016 ()
IUCN Secretariat: 
Indicate which actions have been carried out to implement this Resolution : 
Convene stakeholders/Networking
Education/Communication/Raising awareness
Policy influencing/advocacy
Describe the results/achievements of the actions taken: 
In March 2019, TRAFFIC released 'Wildlife Cyber Crime Trends In China - Online Monitoring Results 2017-2018' showing that the proportion of advertisements on elephant products online in China has declined from 63.1% during the period between 2012 and 2016 to 52.4% during the period between 2017 and 2018. Although the major proportion of advertisements is still dominated by elephant products, the proportional reduction is possibly due to the fact that the Chinese government began to implement the commercial ivory trade ban at the end of 2017. Some sellers have stopped posting ivory advertisements while advertisements for rhino horn and other endangered species products have increased by comparison, possibly as it attracts less law enforcement attention and may be more difficult to identify online.

In March, 2019, the British Embassy in Viet Nam and TRAFFIC kicked off the #MakeVietnamProud campaign, an initiative to encourage Vietnamese citizens to show off their national pride by rejecting ivory products. The campaign will run throughout the month of March on Facebook and Zalo, as well as featuring some of Viet Nam’s top football players in a TV ad that will debut in April. The campaign hopes to galvanize anti-ivory sentiment by bringing together the contributions of various NGOs that are working on combatting the ivory trade, spreading their messaging further through dedicated social media channels. Ivory consumption remains a persistent issue in Viet Nam, with a 2017 TRAFFIC study finding more than 10,000 individual ivory items for sale both in physical markets and online.

In August 2019, Japanese internet company Yahoo! Japan Corporation announced a complete ban on ivory trade on all its e-commerce platforms. The ban will enter into effect in November this year.

In September 2019, TRAFFIC released the study, “The State of Wildlife Trade in Macau” - the first-ever comprehensive assessment of wildlife trade in Macau Special Administrative Region (SAR), a former Portuguese colony in southeast China. The study found Macau’s legal ivory market decreasing, with legislative changes reducing known retailers from 22 shops in 2015 to only six shops in 2017. However, the report warns that changes in regional policies could reverse this trend. With recent ivory market closures in mainland China and an upcoming closure in Hong Kong SAR in 2021, Macau can become an enclave for legal ivory trade in China, a legal inconsistency that could make the territory a target for illegal ivory flows and laundering.

In January 2019, TRAFFIC organised a carving and art exhibition on the theme of “Having cultural value without cost to life” in Chengdu to promote green transformation as a way to preserve the culture and tradition of the carving industry. During the event, artists and national intangible cultural heritage bearers carved artistic creations related to endangered wild animals such as pangolins, elephants, rhinos and giant panda. But rather with using traditional carving materials such as ivory, the carvers used peach, olive and walnut seeds, or “pits”. This does not impact on the survival of these species, and their use is still an expression of art, free from the cost of life.

TRAFFIC continues to assist the European Commission in developing regulations to further regulate its domestic ivory trade. Following a stakeholder meeting in January 2019, DG Environment organised a second stakeholder consultation on 4 October 2019 that brought together EU Member States, experts, policy makers, conservation NGOs and organisations with interest in ivory trade (e.g. antique and arts dealers, and musicians), to deliberate possible further restrictions on ivory trade that may be warranted at the EU level and, if so, which measures would be suitable. In November, TRAFFIC helped draft a European Commission non-paper on 'Closing the gaps in EU rules for ivory trade' based on the consultations, presenting two separate proposals to amend the current EU ivory trade rules are now being presented as possible ways forward

TRAFFIC presented its analysis of the Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) to CITES CoP18 noted that major policy interventions such as China’s landmark closure of its domestic ivory market, together with sustained pressure from the CITES-led NIAP process is resulting in more more global oversight and law enforcement pressure on illegal ivory trade than previously was the case. The current period of flux and adaptation suggests that trade activity is beginning to drop but whether it will be sustained will need to be carefully watched. Further, it needs to be recognized that any decline in illegal ivory trade activity is also occurring in conjunction with an overall decline in elephant populations in Africa.

The New Zealand Government has consulted the public on options for regulating the domestic trade in elephant ivory, as well as further regulations at the border. Options on regulating elephant ivory is part of a wider reform of the Trade in Endangered Species Act 1989, which implements the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The New Zealand Government received 119 submissions on a public discussion document. The majority of submitters commented on options for regulating the trade in elephant ivory. Submissions are currently being analysed with decisions on options being made by the Government in 2020.
What challenges/obstacles have been encountered in the implementation of this Resolution and how were they overcome : 
None were rasied specifically although it is clear that the intended objectives are long-term.
Briefly describe what future actions are needed for the implementation of this Resolution: 
Continued efforts by all concerned.
Status of implementation
Status of implementation for this Resolution: 
On-going: implementation consisting of repetitive, recurrent action (attending meetings, reporting, etc.)
Are these actions planned for yet: