§ Mr. Banks
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the Government's policy on the proposed sale of ivory stockpiles by(a) Namibia, (b) Botswana and (c) South Africa under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. 
§ Mr. Morley
[holding answer 28 January 2004]: It was agreed at the 12th Conference of Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Chile in 2002, that any one-off ivory sales would be supervised through a strict control system. It was also agreed that no sales would take place before May 2004 at the earliest to provide time for baseline data to be gathered on population and poaching levels and for information to be obtained on whether potential importing countries can effectively regulate their domestic ivory markets. The aim of these controls is to prevent any illegal ivory from entering into legal markets and to discourage an upsurge in poaching.
The Government are strongly opposed to the illegal and unsustainable trade in elephant ivory. We will therefore insist at the CITES Standing Committee in Geneva in March 2004 that all of the strict conditions governing the one-off sale are met in full before any trade is allowed to go ahead.