The Normafa Statement

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Protection of Wildlife Against Commercial Trade in Central and Eastern Europe

IFAW NGO Workshop, Budapest, Hungary, July 9-11, 2004

The Normafa Statement of all participating NGOs

The EU imports a vast number of species protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and has a special obligation to ensure that this international trade does not endanger species and that illegal trade is controlled. Many other species traded in vast numbers in the EU are not yet even protected in any adequate manner, despite major conservation and welfare problems.

Enlargement has increased the importance of the EU's role both in (global) policy-making and as consumers of large quantities of wildlife. It is expected that the volume of both legal and illegal wildlife trade will rise within the EU, in particular in Central Eastern European (CEE) countries. With the expansion of the EU's external borders the active cooperation of governmental authorities as well as non-governmental organizations on both sides to control wildlife trade is required.

Invited by IFAW the undersigned NGOs attended a regional workshop for NGOs in CEE countries to assess the challenges and problems from wildlife trade along the new Eastern EU border and to look at opportunities at the 13th CITES Conference of the Parties. This meeting was held in Budapest from July 8-11, 2004. The focus of the workshop was on regional and cross-border concerns, as well as issues for the upcoming CITES Conference of the Parties in October 2004.

The workshop has reached the following conclusions:

Therefore the participants of the workshop call on the EU and other European countries' governments and the EU Commission to adopt for all specimens of species listed in CITES (Appendix I, II or III) or in the EU Council Regulation (EC) No. 338/97 (Annex A, B, C or D) the following measures:

Special attention was given to the problem of the devastating trade in song birds, among other bird species, for the food trade in the EU, particularly in Italy, where these animals are hunted illegally or imported illegally into EU member states and other countries of the CEE region. It was clearly recognised and identified that enforcement measures need to be supported and encouraged in the range states and in the consumption countries. Serious sanctions against the countries that do not effectively address the problem should be imposed based on the EU Birds Directive.

Because of the high level and inherent cruelty of the trade in so-called Exotic Pets, resulting in high mortality and possible detrimental impacts on wild populations, whether already recognised as threatened species or not, the participants demand for the EU and individual countries in the region

As many wildlife conservation and welfare problems arise from lack of cooperation between relevant institutions, the EU Commission and individual governments of countries in the CEE region

The governing bodies shall be encouraged to recognise the experience and capacity of the NGO sector in the region, and to involve NGOs with proven expertise in the decision-making and implementation process. The NGOs offer their capacity to assist the official wildlife conservation and welfare efforts. At the same time those NGOs should be adequately supported, particularly where they engage in tasks that are government obligations for the conservation and welfare of wildlife and protection of nature.

Further, all participants in the workshop demand from their governments and the EU Commission the initiation of a new and unbiased process to assess the benefits of a reverse listing system by which species listed are only those which can - under certain well regulated, monitored and controlled conditions - be traded without the risk of harming any wildlife populations (be it the population of the species traded or any other species in the ecosystem).

Finally, governments should adopt and support the recommendations of the Species Survival Network (SSN) for decisions at the up-coming 13th CITES Conference of the Parties (CoP13) as laid out in detail within their Analysis of Species and Working Documents.

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