Today, South Africa President Jacob Zuma opened the CITES 17th Conference of the Parties (CoP17) in Johannesburg.
In his opening address, President Zuma highlighted the economic value of hunting to the South African economy. He reminded all delegates that it is “important for all to remember that natural resources do not only sustain livelihoods of communities, they are also critical in promoting economic development. Examples of this include the lawful trade in wildlife, including the practice of hunting, which is criticized by many.” President Zuma pointed to well-known examples of how hunting promotes conservation in his country. “South Africa’s proud and successful conservation record has saved important species such as the black and white rhino, elephant, bontebok, and Cape Mountain zebra from near extinction in the past century. Despite increased pressure due to poaching, South Africa hosts 70% of the world’s rhino population, and 30% of South Africa’s white rhino population is in private hands. South Africa also prides itself on its ... position as the last bastion of the rhino.”
Over the next ten days CoP17 participants will debate and decide policy and management issues on hundreds of topics including those of significant importance to SCI members. SCI and SCI Foundation will issue updates throughout the CoP as issues of importance to the hunting community are debated and decided.
CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) was enacted in the 1970's and the COPs occur every three years each time hosted by a member nation. This is the largest CoP in the 43-year history of the Convention with over 3000 attendees in Johannesburg.
SCI’s delegation, including staff and volunteers, is co-chaired by Abigail Day and John Monson. SCI Foundation’s delegation is chaired by Dr. Al Maki.
The two delegations work as a team. Together this group has already been hard at work in the preceding months to craft our positions and strategies for critical issues affecting the future of worldwide hunting.