Minister Barbara Creecy discusses wildlife exports from South Africa to China with the EMS Foundation and BAT

22 May 2020

 

The Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Ms Barbara Creecy, today held an online meeting with non-governmental organisations alleging breaches to the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)

Today’s meeting follows the release of a recent report co-authored by the EMS Foundation and Ban Animal Trading which documents allegations of abuse in the wildlife trade.

During the meeting, the Minister explained that South Africa is a signatory to CITES and the Conventions on Biological Diversity and Migratory species. In addition, South Africa has domestic legislation which regulates our approach to the environment, ecosystems and species. Our country has also passed CITES-specific regulations.

“Because our country is a signatory to these conventions we regard allegations that the system is being abused in a serious light” said Minister Creecy.

Environmental management is a concurrent power between provincial and national government. National government is the management authority, while provincial government is responsible for issuing permits. Because South Africa is a unitary state, the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries remains the custodian of nature, ecosystems and species.

“South Africa remains committed to the highest level of compliance with its international obligations, and to act in accordance with and in fulfilment of the Convention’s legal and scientific requirements,” said the Minister.

At the meeting it was agreed that the Department would investigate the allegations with two specific objectives: firstly, to find evidence of irregularities and take the necessary remedial action and secondly, to review whether remedial action is necessary to strengthen the administrative and regulatory system in pursuit of the Convention and national objectives of conservation and sustainable use.

The NGOs committed to co-operating with the investigation and providing information at their disposal.

The meeting agreed to a time-frame of three months for the investigation to complete its work.

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