GENEVA 11 September 2019 — The Philippines successfully rallied support for international cooperation to protect Philippine animals threatened with extinction during the 18th meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES), held on 17-28 August 2019 in Geneva, where a Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) official was also recognized for her role in strengthening the country’s conservation efforts and helping put a stop to domestic ivory trade.
Supported by other countries, the Philippines was able to include local species of otters and butterflies in Appendix I of the Convention, and geckos and wedge fish in Appendix II.
Appendix I offers the highest protection to species already threatened with extinction by limiting trade and requiring the issuance of export and import permits in exceptional cases, while Appendix II includes animals that may face extinction due to uncontrolled or illegal trade.
Meanwhile, former DENR Biodiversity Management Bureau-Wildlife Resources Division division chief Josefina De Leon received the Clark Bavin Wildlife Law Enforcement Award from the Species Survival Network and Animal Welfare Institute for her crucial role in strengthening wildlife law enforcement in the Philippines.
Apart from developing standards and protocols for wildlife law enforcers, Ms. De Leon was among the key figures in the destruction of more than four tons of elephant tusks seized in 2013.
Ambassador Evan Garcia, Philippine Permanent Representative to the UN and Other Organizations in Geneva, received the award on her behalf in a side event held on 20 August 2019.
The Ambassador also hailed the inclusion of Philippine animals in the CITES appendices. “The listing is a victory not just for the animals whose survival is endangered because of unmitigated trade, but for present and future generations whose access to the benefits of biodiversity rests on our current resolve and ability to recognize threats, respond quickly to dynamic situations, and modify destructive patterns of consumption.”
Members of the Philippine delegation included representatives from the DENR, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, Save Philippine Seas, Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines, Center for Sustainability PH, Inc., Large Marine Vertebrates Research Institute Philippines, Inc., and Crocodylus Porosus Philippines, Inc.