“There is a need for continuing communication.”– Gaël de Rotalier from the European Commission Environment Directorate-General at the CIC General Assembly in Brussels.
The CIC was delighted to host a session at this year’s General Assembly on “Hunting bans must be banned”, which was exclusively dedicated to participants of the General Assembly.
Trophy hunting has been the subject of intense debate, and there are different processes under way aimed at making hunting trophy imports into the European Union even more difficult. In light of the European Commission’s proposal on trophy imports for the forthcoming CITES-COP 2016 in South Africa, and the recent initiative taken by MEPs at the European Parliament, the CIC invited a representative from the European Commission to this session to present the Commission’s point of view.
Gaël de Rotalier, from the Environment Directorate-General of European Commission mentioned the EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking as a first step towards to an even more comprehensive policy, and in relation to the proposed ban on hunting trophies into the EU, he clearly stated that “it is not the EU approach on hunting trophies, although this is a sensitive issue,” referring to the Written Declaration, which was initiated by MEPs and lapsed with 135 signatures.
Participants gained insight into the European Commission’s proposal from Mr. de Rotalier. The two page document does not go into details but rather sets out basic principles for trophy imports into the EU.
“We are proposing guiding principles which relate to the legality of the trophy in accordance with national law and the protection of wildlife. Firstly, legality; secondly, sustainability; and thirdly, we should ensure that hunting activities are in consultation with local communities and that the benefits are going back to local communities.” He added, “we are not talking about all hunting trophies, we are talking about those which are protected, which may be threatened by international trade.”
“Today in the current context, we are also, as importing countries, we have some questions about the conditions. We think it would be useful as an exporting country, but also for other countries, to have these basic checks being done to ensure what is coming into the EU is sustainable and legal. These requirements are in place for commercial trade.”
The European Commission is submitting its proposal this week and is calling for further consultation in this matter.