Bahrain to sign key convention
Manama, June 21, 2010
Bahrain is all set to join the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), it has been declared.
All legal, operational and logistical issues have been completed and a resolution will be passed soon by the Cabinet, said Public Commission for the Protection of Marine Resources, Environment and Wildlife director-general Dr Adel Al Zayani.
He was speaking on the sidelines of a five-day training workshop held as part of Bahrain's responsibility towards Cites.
Dr Al Zayani said after the move there would only be three other countries in the Middle East that would remain non-signatories - Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine.
'We should have signed much earlier, but there were several issues,' he told our sister newspaper Gulf Daily News (GDN).
'It was not that we did not want to sign, it was because we needed time to get our act together by ensuring all internal issues had been sorted out and co-ordinated.'
The event is organised by the commission, the United Nations Environment Programme's West Asia Regional Office (UNEP-ROWA) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
It is being held under the patronage of commission head Shaikh Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa.
'In Bahrain, we are already protecting our endangered species and have protected areas, but we will be able to better manage the import of all endangered species of animals,' said Dr Al Zayani.
He said there was no such thing as completely ending a trade in endangered animals.
'However, we will try and maximise our reach and stamp out the practice from Bahrain,' said Dr Al Zayani.
Laws, he added, were in force in Bahrain but needed to be further toughened.
'Offenders get away far too easily because we do not have the tough laws and stringent punishment needed.'
Dr Al Zayani said in some cases, offenders might get away with a warning or a fine of around BD50.
'We have to have stricter and tougher implementation if we want to make a mark,' he said.
One of the major challenges in Bahrain is that imported animals tend to reproduce and spread in the community, said Dr Al Zayani.
'There is a real danger to the country's biodiversity if that happens. That is a concern we are discussing,' he said.
Dr Al Zayani said several officials from the Interior Ministry's Customs Directorate were attending the workshop, where they will be made aware of the rules governing Cites.
'Municipal and Industry and Commerce Ministry officials among others were also provided with detailed guidelines, names and pictures of endangered species,' he said.
He said teams of officials would also periodically conduct raids at the Isa Town market, where such animals were reportedly being sold.
'We have to try and link all authorities concerned and come up with a plan.'
Cites is an international agreement between governments, drafted following a resolution adopted in 1963 at a meeting of members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
It entered into force in 1975 with the aim to ensure international trade in wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. The convention accords varying degrees of protection to more than 33,000 species of animals and plants.-TradeArabia News Service
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