HC Deb 16 September 2004 vol 424 cc1662-77WS
Mr. Drew

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 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species; and what steps the Government can take to influence the EU position on CITES. [188117]

Mr. Morley

The UK has always sought to maintain a balanced approach to CITES issues—basing its decisions on sound science. This means promoting worthwhile and practicable conservation measures while upholding the principle of sustainable development. The views of the UK Government on these issues are widely respected both within the EU and CITES as a whole, and as such have been, and continue to be, very influential in shaping the EU position on CITES issues.

Mr. Drew

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her policy is on the resumption of a legal ivory trade; and what representations she has made to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species on this issue. [188119]

Mr. Morley

The UK Government and the other EU member states take the view that no decision on commercial trade in ivory should be taken outside the framework agreed at the last Conference of CITES Parties in Santiago. This allowed for a one-off sale of ivory stocks held by Botswana, Namibia and South Africa subject to certain strict conditions, which have yet to be met.

It is our view that it would be inappropriate to consider any wider resumption in the commercial trade in ivory until there has been a proper assessment of the wider impact of this proposed one-off sale. This is therefore the line that the UK and other member states will take at the forthcoming CITES conference in Bangkok.

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