CITES CoP19 – MIKE Programme Update
Upper right image: Klairoong Poonpon, Director of CITES Implementation and Monitoring, Thailand
Bottom left image: Charles Tumwesigye, MIKE National Focal Point, Uganda
The nineteenth meeting of the Conference of Parties (CoP19) to CITES was held in Panama City, Panama, from 14 to 25 November 2022. The MIKE and ETIS programmes featured as important topics of discussion, with CITES Parties considering four documents relating to MIKE and ETIS:
- a report on the MIKE programme that included the latest PIKE (Proportion of Illegally Killed Elephants) trend analysis which shows the continued downward trend in elephant poaching; the results of the covariate analysis indicating factors influencing PIKE; and capacity building activities of the MIKE programme,
- a report on the MIKE and ETIS programmes that resulted in decisions to address the operational and financial sustainability of the programmes (Decisions 35, 19.36 and 19.37),
- a report on the ETIS programme that included the latest trend analysis and cluster analysis as well as the categorization of Parties based on the analysis and interpretation of seizure data, and
- a review of the ETIS programme that resulted in the adoption of priority recommendations to be addressed during the period between CoP19 and CoP20.
The adoption of the Decisions relating to the MIKE and ETIS programmes reflect the importance and the need for ongoing support to implement these programmes, which provide the most up to date and reliable information relating to illegal killing of elephants and the flow of illegal ivory at a global level.
All Parties, governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, donors and other entities are encouraged to support elephant range States and the Secretariat in the implementation of these programmes. The Secretariat is tasked with preparing funding proposals for support to the MIKE programme, exploring alternative financing sources, and continuing to enhance operational performances, including by improving the MIKE Online Database and online training, and identifying and implementing cost-effective approaches to deliver on MIKE objectives.
CITES CoP19 Side Event – Monitoring Illegal Killing of Elephants – 20 years in view
The long history and achievements of the MIKE programme were highlighted in a side event at CoP19, which provided perspectives on over 20 years of implementation of the programme. Representatives from African and Asian elephant range states from different sub-regions spoke about results achieved, lessons learned, and support needed for ongoing implementation of the MIKE programme. Some of the key results mentioned included the capacity built by the MIKE programme for standardized data collection. The provision of technology (such as MIST and SMART monitoring tools) has also enabled the identification of hotspots and improved enforcement response. The dedicated support to focal sites was also emphasized, noting that this has enabled realignment of ranger posts to poaching hotspots, improved ranger communications, and construction of critical facilities including control rooms, among other advancements. The opportunity to apply experience from MIKE sites to other areas in the country was also seen as a key result.
Lessons and key messages included the need to train rangers consistently to ensure accurate data collection, as well as the need to build on existing partnerships and networks. Representatives emphasized the importance of the integration of technology to improve data collection and analysis, to enhance the information available to inform decision-making. Other messages included the need for attention to human-elephant conflict, as well as on the bushmeat trade, which is growing in some areas. For southeast Asia, needs identified included a greater capacity for wildlife forensics and an improved approach to site selection, to go beyond the current MIKE sites to address factors affecting poaching in different areas.
Following the discussion with range State representatives, representatives from three donor agencies providing support to the MIKE programme in Africa and Asia were brought together in a panel to share their advice for range States seeking donor support for MIKE implementation, among related concerns. Donor representatives emphasized the importance of ensuring sustainability of project interventions and seeking opportunities to obtain matching funds, as well as reaching out to donor representatives at the national level.
The rich discussion among range States, donors and participants representing a wide range of organizations, served to demonstrate the reach and impact of the MIKE programme, and the extent to which it has helped advance wildlife law enforcement capacity in sites across Africa and Asia over the past two decades. The MIKE Central Coordination Unit would like to thank the European Union, the United States Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, as well as the people of Japan, for their generous support to the operation of the MIKE programme. This assistance to the efforts of many elephant range States in Africa and in Asia, and especially the rangers monitoring these sites on the ground, has helped the MIKE programme to truly make a difference in not only monitoring, but also minimizing the illegal killing of elephants.
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