At the 14th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), the Parties adopted Decisions 14.75 to 14.79 regarding the African elephant (Loxodonta africana).
These Decisions were developed following extensive dialogue and, ultimately, in recognition of the fact that many of Africa’s elephants are under threat and require co-ordinated and immediate action to provide effective protection of remaining elephant populations.
PRIORITY OBJECTIVE 1: REDUCING ILLEGAL KILLING OF ELEPHANTS AND ILLEGAL TRADE IN ELEPHANT PRODUCTS
Between 1979 and 1989 more than 50% of Africa’s elephants were poached for their ivory. Many elephant populations have not yet fully recovered from this slaughter, and most will never regain their pre-1979 population levels.
All regions of the African continent are affected by poaching and illegal ivory trade - ivory seized from illegal trade has been identified as originating from countries from all four regions, East, West, Central and Southern Africa.
A national, regional and international approach to this serious problem is, therefore, essential.
PRIORITY OBJECTIVE 2: MAINTAINING ELEPHANT HABITATS AND RESTORE
Across the continent, elephant habitats are becoming increasingly degraded, fragmented and in some cases lost entirely, due to human-induced threats such as
agricultural expansion, logging and mining.
PRIORITY OBJECTIVE 3: REDUCING HUMAN-ELEPHANT CONFLICT (HEC)
Elephants can have severe impacts on local livelihoods, such as through crop-raiding and consumption of scarce water sources. Such competition for resources can result in conflict and loss of human life and the lives of domestic stock.
As a consequence,
many elephants are also killed, both legally and illegally, as a result of both formal and
informal actions to control the damage they cause.
PRIORITY OBJECTIVE 4: INCREASING AWARENESS ON ELEPHANT CONSERVATION
AND MANAGEMENT OF KEY STAKEHOLDERS THAT INCLUDE POLICY MAKERS AND
LOCAL COMMUNITIES AMONG OTHER INTEREST GROUPS
Essential to the success of the African Elephant Action Plan is the need to stimulate the awareness of and involvement of the wider community in African elephant conservation and management principles. Current up-to-date information is often difficult to find, not synthesised, too scientific or not disseminated effectively, therefore making it difficult for people, particularly policy-makers, to fully understand the key issues.
PRIORITY OBJECTIVE 5: STRENGTHEN RANGE STATES KNOWLEDGE ON AFRICAN
An understanding of elephant populations and their distribution is essential in order to maximise the impact and effectiveness of elephant conservation and management policies and activities.
PRIORITY OBJECTIVE 6: STRENGTHEN COOPERATION AND UNDERSTANDING
Regional elephant conservation policies and strategies have been developed for Central, Southern and West Africa. Eastern Africa is in discussion about the development of its own Strategy, whilst a number of transboundary plans and projects have been initiated to facilitate the development by neighbouring elephant range States of joint management activities and protection for the species and their habitats.
PRIORITY OBJECTIVE 7: IMPROVING LOCAL COMMUNITIES COOPERATION AND COLLABORATION ON AFRICAN ELEPHANT CONSERVATION
It is often the case that communities that share land and resources with African elephants,
suffer the costs of living with elephants (such as loss of food crops), while the benefits
(such as revenue from tourism) are largely gained by those living further afield. It is
important to recognise and address this imbalance, as the accrual of greater and more
tangible benefits at a local level is more likely to translate directly into increased
tolerance for elephants by those communities most affected.
OBJECTIVE 8: AFRICAN ELEPHANT ACTION PLAN IS EFFECTIVELY IMPLEMENTED
A number of initiatives addressing the AEF are being implemented. The African elephant range States are committed to the following procedures for monitoring, evaluating and reporting on the implementation of the Action Plan.
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