45 Envtl. Pol'y & L. 1 (2015)

handle is hein.journals/envpola45 and id is 1 raw text is: 










The  most important sessions of the 69th United Nations General Assembly concluded - as usual -just before
the end of last year The leading report of this issue provides a thorough overview of the large number of
resolutions and decisions of interest to our readers.'


Several organs of the United Nations, including the General Assembly, have passed resolutions on poaching
elephants and rhinoceroses. Yet, it is still not enough. There is a dire need for more serious action.
The  grave and  multifaceted problems facing local populations, national governments and the international
community  are illustrated in a recent report published in the German magazine DER SPIEGEL.  The Africa
correspondent had intended to write a story on the global trade in ivory -from South Africa and Mozambique
to Vietnam  where ivory, especially ground rhino horn, is considered a symbol of wealth and an aid against
impotence and numerous  illnesses. However, during research, he was abducted in Massingir (Mozambique) by a
lead poacher controlling not only the local police forces, but much of the local government. Having entered the
poacher's village without permission, the reporter and photographer were threatened with rape and murder From
this location 10 to 15 poaching units are regularly organized to venture into Krfiger National Park under the
cover of darkness to hunt down and hack off rhino horns, leaving the animals to die. The international business
of trading in rhino horn is so lucrative and unemployment in remote areas so grave, that the crime of poaching
goes unpunished
This shows that growing demand for ivory and increasing poaching activities aren't likely to cease simply due to
resolutions of UN organs. Nonetheless, Gabon and  Germany  have organized high-level meetings in both 2013
and 2014  on the margins of the General Assembly's  General Debate. Furthermore,  they have joined a  UN
Group  of Friends on Poaching and Illicit Wildlhfe Trafficking, composed of approximately 20 states, seeking
tofollow-up on the callfrom last year's UNEP Environment Assembly and  introduce a resolution on the issue of
illegal wildlfe trade during this year's session.
These efforts need to be taken further and implementing legislation adopted into national laws, so wildlfe crime
can be severely punished Yet, more immediate and serious measures need to be taken. In this regard, I repeat
what I have stated on several occasions: precious products of nature, such as ivory, should not be destroyed in
efforts to counteract increasing demand Destroying existing stockpiles is not an appropriate way of dealing
with the problem of elephant and rhino poaching The well-publicized practices of governments seizing, burning
or crushing ivory only serves to artificially increase prices and thus embolden poachers to bring more products
to market. We  hope that ivory can one day be traded under a legal regime with the express purpose of funding
programs  to effectively operate anti-poaching programs that translate the invaluable benefits of these magnificent
creatures into meaningful livelihoods for the people closest to them.


Preparations are progressing for COP-21/CMP-11 in Paris at the end of this   year in hope of concluding a
global climate treaty. The United Nations Secretary- General has set the goal of securing a meaningful, universal
climate change agreement, while stressing the interdependence of climate change and sustainable development.








1  For additional background information we refer you to our database of UN documents concerning the environment at:
   https://www.iucn.org/about/work/programnimes/environmentallaw/elp-resources/elp-res-tools/undocuments/.
2  Grill, B. 7 Mar 2011. Der Spiegel. Vol. 2015(11).

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