Sunday, March 21, 2010

Trade in red and pink coral to continue unchecked

This CoP should be called No-ha, instead of Doha. Red and pink coral protection voted down after intensive lobbying efforts from the coral trade industry. We heard that after bluefin, this was the proposal that Japan was most keen to see defeated. Final vote count was 64 in favor, 59 against and 10 abstentions, with a total of 133 countries voting. That's no 2/3rds majority. So think twice before purchasing (actually, just don't purchase it, full stop) any red and pink coral - who knows where and how it was harvested? And those that are supplying it clearly don't care about meaningful protection.

The US and EU did a great job. Tom Strickland of the US introduced proposal 21 (see photo), and then the opposition were off and running. Libya, Singapore, Vanatu, Malaysia, Iceland, Japan, Morocco, Tunisia, Indonesia all spoke out against. Croatia, Iran, UAE, and EU all supported. Thank you Iran! SeaWeb's Kristian Teleki made the only NGO intervention and did a SMASHING JOB, pointing out that the EU and US proposal was not a ban on trade, that capacity building in the range states could have taken place if an Appendix II was put in place, and that if there is no RESOURCE, there is no INDUSTRY, LIVELIHOODS OR FUTURE for these coral artisans and workers. It's not rocket science.

The coral proposal got some attention (the wrong kind, I might add) from the Libyan representative as well. My favorite part of his intervention was him giving FULL CREDIT to the flawed FAO analysis, imploring all the countries to follow the FAO's advice on coral (they didn't support). Because just three days ago, he railed against the FAO analysis for bluefin, saying there was no basis to support the propsal.

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