OceanCare

Swiss coalition for the protection of whales (SCPW)

Where to now - the Caribbean! Wädenswil/Santiago, Chile (ots) - As the 12th meeting of the Parties of the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species draws to a close today, one thing that has stood out is that the voting patterns of the East Caribbean island states of Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, Dominica and Grenada remain closely linked to those of Japan. The self appointed leader of this group is Daven Joseph of Antigua. His aggressive interventions, often insulting to delegates, prompted the head of the EU delegation to remind parties that procedurally they could make a formal complaint against this country; for the sake of business this did not happen. ECCEA as an international observer at several of the UN conventions is concerned that these attitudes are alienating friends at a time when our economies are in serious decline: delegations must now explain their representation at home. For the species fortunately the Wider Caribbean states, Bahamas, Barbados, Surinam, Belize and the Central American countries with Martinique and Guadeloupe have conservation policies which were able to ensure the listing of many newly endangered species, such as the whale shark, basking shark, the Black Sea bottlenose dolphin, seahorses and feshwater turtle species. Marine Turtles and the great whales have stood up to the assault on their status and remain on the highest of the CITES listing: Appendix 1. Plants and orchids such as the monkey puzzle tree, the lignum vitae, aloes, cactus and orchids have been newly listed. A major victory for the Latin American countries was the listing of the bigleaf mahogany endangered in many of the range states. We failed though to ensure the future of the African Elephant, whose demise or use would certainly not alleviate poverty in Africa, but more likely improve the trading partner - Japan - federal reserves. The Albatross and the petrels, mythical birds faced with extinction due to illegal pirate fishing of toothfish will still have to fight for their future. Species need 2/3 of the parties to agree and where the East Caribbean joins with Japan in the exploitation of endangered natural resources, the blocking vote is often there. A secret ballot was consistantly asked for by Japan and the Caribbean and the reason they say is "intimidation". This is not so: the UN recognizes the sovereignty of all nations, as do we. ECCEA and the SCPW published an impartial report on the Socio-Economic and political aspects of the aid provided by Japan to the fishing industry in the small independent islands in the East Caribbean. The author, recognized as one of the region´s leading economist, points out that the 160'000'000 US$ of Japanese grant aid to these islands over the past 15 years, does not and never will probablym fill the true needs of the Caribbean, whereas that of the EU 3 times this sum does. The EU makes provision for infrastructures, schools, hospitals and training. An aid which does not have strings attached to it. Most of the CITES delegates read this report, commenting that similar situations existed in Africa and the Pacific. They will be translating it into other language forms including Japanese for broad distribution. In summing up, CITES and this report, a clear picture has been forged that transparency and accountability go hand in hand with conservation, whereas politics do not. ots Originaltext: ASMS Internet: www.newsaktuell.ch Contact: Lesley Sutty Head of Operations and CEO ECCEA Phone: Chile Number gsm: until 15 nov 2002 +56/9/170'58'80 Phone: Martinique +595/596/65'67'25 Sigrid Lueber CEO SCPW Chile Number gsm: until 15 nov 2002 +56/9/170'58'80 Phone: Switzerland +41/79/475'26'87

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