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Information for G02359

Blanket Bans – conservation or imperialism? A response to Cooney & Jepson

Dilys Roe

Journal article

The Wild Bird Declaration recently promoted by a coalition of conservation and animal welfare organizations seeks to ban all imports of wild birds into the EU. It recognizes that while not all bird species are necessarily rare or endangered, a blanket ban is the most effective way to reduce demand for all species (including those that are threatened), deter smuggling and facilitate enforcement. Cooney & Jepson (2006) challenge each of these assumptions, arguing that while context-specific trade bans may have their uses, blanket bans have limited effectiveness and, moreover, may have unforeseen negative impacts on the livelihoods of poor communities. This is an issue that has recently been recognized by CITES Resolution Conf 8.3, noting that ‘implementation of CITES-listing decisions should take into account potential impacts on the livelihoods of the poor’. An issue that Cooney & Jepson do not pick up on is the national governance implications of externally imposed trade bans. The Convention on Biological Diversity affirms that States ‘have sovereign rights over their own biological resources’. Trade bans potentially undermine this sovereign right. The most common mechanism for controlling trade in wildlife is through CITES. By acceding to CITES, Parties agree to controls on international trade in species that are listed in one of the Convention’s appendices, with Appendix I currently listing animal and plant species. However, proposals to list species in the CITES Appendices or to move species between appendices can be submitted by any Party, whether or not that Party is a range state for the species concerned. A process of consultation with range states then occurs and acceptance of the proposal is dependent on it winning a two–thirds majority vote if there is no consensus position.

Publication information

  • IIED code: G02359
  • Published: Jan 2006
  • Theme: Biodiversity
  • Source pub: Oryx Vol 40 No 1 January 2006
  • Language: English

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