The European Commission is requesting Greece to establish a general system of protection for wild birds, prohibiting, in particular, their deliberate killing through poison baits. The use of poison baits is widespread in Greece, and no serious action has been taken so far, contrary to what is required under the Birds (Directive 2009/147/EC) and Habitats (Council Directive 92/43/EEC) Directives. In the Natura 2000 site of Nestos river, for example, the use of this illegal practice in 2012 led to the destruction of an entire vulture species colony, but the Greek authorities have so far done little to prevent such incidents from happening again. The Commission opened an infringement procedure against Greece in September 2013, urging the Greek authorities to better control this phenomenon in the entire country and to adopt the necessary measures to restore the damages that have occurred in Nestos in 2012. As the measures to ensure full compliance with EU law have not yet been taken, the Commission is sending a reasoned opinion. If the Greek authorities fail to act within two months, the case may be referred to the Court of Justice of the EU.
East Midlands MEP Emma McClarkin has today, on World Rhino Day, spoken of the need to tackle illegal wild life at all stages of the supply chain, starting with the preservation on the ground in Africa.
The 17th meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) is taking place in Johannesburg, South Africa, starting this weekend. Every three years CITES meets to review and strengthen the fight against illegal wildlife trade.
As part of her work on the International Trade Committee and her long campaign to crack down on Illegal Wildlife, Miss McClarkin will meet with a range of experts from government, international organisations, and non-profits to compile her report on illegal wildlife trade and her recommendations for tackling it, due for debate in December.
In recent times, the Illegal Trade in Wildlife has witnessed a surge, and has been increasing in value. Miss McClarkin is committed to ensure that illegal wildlife trafficking remains a permanent topic on the EU trade agenda and that appropriate mechanisms and procedures are developed and put in place to combat this crime.
Anti-corruption measures, good governance and support for trade facilitation will be three of the key points on the agenda, areas that Miss McClarkin has previously identified as crucial in tackling this illegal activity.
"It is vital that the international community works together to stop illegal wildlife trade, which generates an illicit economy of billions of dollars each year, and threatens the sustainability of not only our ecosystem but also the stability of many developing countries.
"The present policies should be reinforced and appropriate enforcement measures developed to guarantee that that this crime is stemmed and that CITEs is making concrete steps.
"This should be done within the framework of existing agreements and with resources already available to international organisations."
Recent statistics reveal that over the past ten years rhino poaching increased by 7000% just in South Africa alone, while illicit ivory trade in general has doubled since 2007. In light of these figures, Miss McClarkin welcomes the new improved efforts by the British government to crack down illegal ivory trade, as reported in The Times this week.