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The politics of SITES

The recent 15th meeting of the 175-nation CITES failed many species, particularly marine, with nearly all related proposals voted down. Broadcaster Al Jazeera sums up the meeting and the situation well. 

Hats off to the heroes who fought for the planet and for the species it contains from a position of science and good sense, but who ultimately lost a great deal to politics and greed. 

I leave you with the words of Lesley Sutty representing the ECCEA (Eastern Caribbean Coalition for Environmental Awareness), who summed up the feeling of many delegates attending the conference. 

Clearly we are millions of people under shock since the UN conference CITES closed its doors in Doha last week. We had naively hoped that common sense and science would prevail with regard to dramatic decline in key species and the need to preserve remaining stocks. 

The vote for the death of our oceans was made by just 40 or 50 individuals – a speck of dust in the universe, but that is all that was needed. A minute, paid-up, nondescript conglomerate, who are now spilling over with satisfaction and reaping personal benefits to have done just this. 

Can they account honestly to their country, to each member of the community as to why they decided to lead them forward to this “journey into extinction”. Can they explain to the international community their real leitmotif? 

Unfortunately ocean life seems to be firmly under their thumbs just now, due to a long-term strategy put in place in the early ’90s by Japan. The plan was ultimate governance of the world’s living marine resources by the 21st century. 

It is with this latest victory in their pocket that this dismal and secret body will try and do a repeat at the IWC [International Whaling Commission] in Morocco next June to finish off the whales. World press now has the responsibility to do something about this, as we do. Tides have been turned in the past and must be now.

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