jeudi 18 juin 2009

Frankfurt Declaration on Gorilla Conservation

Frankfurt Declaration on Gorilla Conservation
Advance version as of 16 June, 2009
Marking the “UN Year of the Gorilla 2009”, representatives of gorilla range states and donor
states, the UNEP/UNESCO Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP), other UN agencies,
intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations, scientists, conservation experts and
the private sector met for a symposium on gorilla conservation at Zoo Frankfurt in Germany
on 9 and 10 June 2009.
Gorillas are internationally classified as Endangered or Critically Endangered by the IUCN
Red List. All gorilla species are protected by law both nationally in the ten range states, as
well as internationally through listings of Gorilla gorilla and Gorilla beringei on Appendix I
of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and the Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Nevertheless, gorillas still face a high risk of extinction and global population numbers
continue to decline sharply. Wide-ranging measures to address the threats outlined below are
required to restore gorilla populations for future generations.
The forest ecosystems inhabited by gorillas provide services to the entire world, including
carbon sequestration and storage, estimated at several billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, as
well as generating rainfall both locally and globally. The long-term health of these forests
depends on viable populations of animals such as gorillas, inter alia, to disperse the seeds of
the next generation of trees.
The CMS Agreement on the Conservation of Gorillas and their Habitats, which came into
force in June 2008, is the first legally binding international instrument exclusively targeting
gorillas and complements the work of the GRASP partnership. The action plans under the
Agreement provide a well-defined roadmap for gorilla conservation throughout the ten range
states. The Frankfurt Declaration aims to support this Agreement.
Threats and Challenges
There are three main threats to gorillas- poaching, disease, and loss of habitat. The indirect
threats contributing to these are climate change, exploitation of timber, fuel-wood and
minerals, harmful practices related to traditional medicine, , human conflict and subsequent
displacement, and the pet trade.
Illegal hunting and bushmeat trade
Impunity remains a problematic catalyst for encouraging the illegal exploitation of gorillas.
Without a considerable increase in political will and consequent government support for law
enforcement efforts, increases in the efficiency of the judiciary, and increased public
awareness, gorilla numbers are likely to continue to decline until their recovery is unlikely or
impossible. Hunting for bushmeat and the pet trade as well as for traditional medicine is
reaching proportions where large areas of forest are now devoid of wildlife.
Forestry, deforestation and energy
Forests are being cut down or degraded for a variety of reasons, including charcoal
production, firewood needs, timber extraction and agricultural expansion. The timber
industry creates a network of routes into previously remote areas greatly facilitating hunting
access and bushmeat transportation.
Loss of forest cover and changes in forest composition threaten gorilla conservation and
ecosystem services, including carbon sequestration and the capacity of forests to contribute to
climate change mitigation and adaptation, reduce poverty, and support sustainable
Mining industries, if not planned and regulated properly, are a growing threat to wildlife
conservation in general and in particular to gorillas across their range, leading to destruction
and degradation of habitats and increased poaching pressure.
For example, coltan and other natural resources are one means of understanding the dynamics
of civil war in Central Africa; profit is a main driver for all kinds of illegal activities and
warring factions. The relevance for international markets is high, as coltan and other raw
materials are used in cell-phones, computers and other high-tech equipment.
Armed conflict
Protected areas, including World Heritage Sites, can become centres of violence during times
of armed conflict. This results in the loss of life, displacement of local communities,
violations of human rights, and the loss of biodiversity, key species and ecosystem services.
Additionally, the loss of valuable natural heritage compromises future opportunities for local,
national and regional sustainable development.
The conservation of great apes is inextricably linked to ecosystem, human, wildlife and
livestock health. Diseases, including those of human origin, are one of the primary threats to
gorilla survival, yet there exist scant comprehensive health data on free-ranging gorilla
An emerging threat is the highly infectious Ebola virus, which can have up to 95% mortality
in gorillas and humans. A large proportion of Central African great apes were killed by Ebola
epidemics between 1994 and 2005, and this remains an ongoing threat. Their extremely low
reproductive rate means that it would take over a century for great ape populations to recover
from Ebola outbreaks even in the absence of poaching.
Sustainable conservation-based tourism contributes to the ecologically sound management of
forests and provides livelihood opportunities to local communities. A number of stakeholders
can benefit from a successful gorilla tourism site, including conservation authorities, local
communities, private sector partners and even national economies. However, gorilla tourism
also has a number of potential negative impacts such as increased risk of diseases and
poaching, which should be minimised.
Conservation and poverty alleviation are complementary goals at many gorilla tourism sites;
the expectations of stakeholders and potential beneficiaries of gorilla tourism must be
balanced. The private sector’s and others’ profits must be viewed as an added value rather
than the driving force.
We, the participants of the Gorilla Symposium:
Law enforcement
1. Request range states to enforce laws in order to restore gorilla populations to a
favourable conservation status as a matter of urgency,
2. Call upon the international community, donor states and other gorilla stakeholders to
provide technical and financial support to range states in order to develop and enforce
these laws,
Gorilla hunting and capture
3. Urge range states to:
i. Enforce existing laws banning the taking and trading of gorillas, including strictly
regulating the wider bushmeat trade,
ii. Establish zones available for legal, sustainable use of wildlife over which local
communities have full ownership,
iii. Create a network of effectively managed protected areas,
iv. Develop and adhere to best practice guidelines on logging, mineral resource
extraction and agricultural production,
v. Raise awareness of the legal status and exploitation of gorillas and other wildlife and
take action in order to change public attitudes and consumer behaviour,
vi. Promote research projects and implement systematic monitoring programmes aimed
at evaluating the effectiveness of anti-poaching efforts and halting the illegal
bushmeat trade,
vii. Reduce bushmeat transportation options,
viii. Develop alternative protein sources.
4. Urge donor states, the international community including NGOs and the private sector to
assist range states in implementing the above-mentioned points through the provision of
financial and technical assistance,
5. Call upon states to combat illegal trade through the confiscation of illegally held live
gorillas and ensure their repatriation into sanctuaries in their country of origin in
cooperation with CITES,
6. Call upon the states of the European Union to assess the level of bushmeat imported into
the European Union from gorilla range states and to improve the enforcement of existing
legislation and regulations governing such imports,
7. Call for laws dealing with the disposal of bushmeat seized by the authorities to be
harmonised across countries, so that with the sole exception of preserved samples or
specimens needed for non-commercial scientific research or reference collections, all
great ape meat, or parts of great apes, or meat or parts of other fully protected species be
incinerated or otherwise destroyed, rather than being sold or given away, so that it is no
longer available for human or animal consumption,
Forestry, deforestation and energy
8. Recommend governments to develop and implement comprehensive, integrated land use
plans that address the needs of local people as well as the needs of gorillas, their habitat
and other wildlife,
9. Urge the regulation and provision of a region-wide, sustainable energy supply to local
people, which includes the use of fuel-efficient stoves and the exploration of alternative
energy opportunities,
10. Urge forestry companies to develop and implement adequate protection measures within
their forest management plans, in accordance with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
and IUCN guidelines, and in cooperation with all stakeholders,
11. Urge the international community to increase support to gorilla range states with
concrete and long-term solutions concerning the energy-related deforestation threats
affecting ever shrinking gorilla habitats,
12. Recommend the implementation of socially and environmentally sound lending practices
by institutions lending to forestry companies operating in gorilla habitat,
13. Further recommend the development of a differentiated forestry taxation system to
reward best practice and promote sustainable forestry and sustainable development,
14. Recommend that range state governments ensure forest taxes and other benefits are
effectively remitted to decentralised entities and local communities,
15. Urge the international donor community to assist range states in reducing destruction and
degradation of gorilla habitat through the provision of financial and technical assistance
to support the following areas of work:
i. Establishing national strategies for Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and
Degradation (REDD),
ii. Undertaking early action on REDD,
iii. Establishing financial and governance mechanisms for REDD,
16. Emphasise the importance of transparent trade for all competitors and certified standards
along the commodity chain of mineral resources, including the possibility of the use of
mineral fingerprinting,
17. Encourage, in conformity with national legislation in gorilla range states, the
development of instruments and tools to ensure safe mineral exploitation, request range
states to enforce existing laws and further recommend the application of adequate land
use planning during any infrastructure development,
18. Recommend that no mineral exploitation activities be permitted in gorilla habitats and
associated buffer zones,
19. Remind mining companies and concession holders to develop alternative sources of
protein for local people dependent on mining in protected areas to feed their families,
20. Urge mining companies to adopt socially and environmentally responsible practices, and
to ensure their operations do not negatively impact gorillas or other biodiversity,
21. Recommend the regular update and implementation of adequate regulatory frameworks
for infrastructure and extractives development,
Armed conflict
22. Call upon the UN and the International Community to help bring about an end to the
conflicts in gorilla range states,
23. Call upon the international community to acknowledge that the illegal exploitation of
resources by identified actors within protected areas can contribute to the violation of
human rights,
24. Further call upon the international community to initiate a dialogue on whether the
widespread or systematic destruction of natural resources or key species of global
cultural or economic significance resulting in the forced displacement of local
communities and causing great suffering or serious injury to mental or physical health
should be considered as crimes against humanity,
25. Urge the United Nations to expand their peacekeeping mandates to include the
protection of biodiversity with special attention to highly endangered species and their
habitats, and include environmental advisors (eco-officers) within their missions,
26. Recommend enforcement of existing conventions to ensure adequate protection of
valuable natural resources during times of conflict (e.g. The Hague Convention 1954 and
The World Heritage Convention),
27. Further recommend that existing conventions be adapted to include the protection of
natural sites during times of armed conflict,
28. Remind humanitarian agencies and NGOs to implement and enforce existing
environmental guidelines and develop additional codes of conduct where necessary, in
order to minimise the negative impacts of their activities,
29. Express our appreciation for the commitment, bravery and sacrifice made by park
rangers and others working to save gorillas and their habitats during periods of armed
30. Endorse the following measures as actions critical for protecting gorilla populations:
i. Enforcing strict rules concerning good hygiene practices for all people entering gorilla
habitat including, but not limited to, field workers and tourists,
ii. Expanding ecological surveillance and health monitoring throughout the gorilla range,
iii. Recommending public health and education programmes for human communities
sharing gorilla habitat to prevent disease transmission at the human–wildlife–
livestock interface,
iv. Promoting more extensive research on diseases relevant to gorilla health, including
building local capacity and improving local health infrastructure to ensure the rapid
identification of zoonotic diseases,
v. Pursuing timely yet safe and ethically reviewed prophylactic strategies and treatments
for the mitigation of gorilla health threats,
vi. Recommending the development of vaccination strategies to reduce the infection rates
of gorilla populations when critical for their survival and specifically, to support
feasibility studies to deliver anti-Ebola vaccines to the great apes, whether by darting
or via a passive medium (food baits),
vii. Urging authorising national bodies to issue, in a timely manner, CITES and other
permits for non-commercial scientific samples that address gorilla disease control,
containment, or diagnosis.
30. Emphasise that conservation and poverty alleviation are complementary goals in any
gorilla tourism site,
31. Urge that gorilla tourism sites establish a fair revenue sharing system between
conservation / protected area management, local communities and private sector partners,
32. Encourage stakeholders, including donor states, to facilitate the transfer of skills and
experience from successful gorilla tourism projects to other sites where ecotourism is
being considered or implemented, and to share these findings within the wider
conservation community,
33. Recommend that IUCN best practice guidelines for great ape tourism be followed in the
assessment, planning and implementation of gorilla tourism at all existing and any
potential site to minimise negative and maximise positive impacts,
Monitoring & research
34. Encourage the collation of data on the spatial distribution of variables associated with
threats to gorillas, such as natural resource density, to inform stakeholders and create
35. Encourage applied research focussed on practical management, planning and monitoring
issues affecting gorillas, their habitats, associated local stakeholder and development
matters, prioritising research that will benefit gorilla conservation,
Awareness raising
36. Invite stakeholders to mobilise, sensitise and involve rural communities living adjacent
to or inside wildlife conservation areas in order to improve awareness and local action to
conserve gorillas,
37. Emphasise that the conservation of gorillas in the wild must also be the primary goal at
zoological institutions who breed and study gorillas and display them to the public, and
request all zoological institutions to establish or strengthen links with projects to
conserve gorillas in the wild,
Land use planning
38. Urge the international donor community to assist range states in reducing the poaching
and consumption of gorillas and the destruction and degradation of their habitat, through
the provision of financial and technical assistance to support the following areas of work:
i. Establishment and effective and sustainable management of new and existing
protected areas,
ii. Establishment and sustainable management of CBNRM,
iii. Establishment of integrated national and landscape level land use planning processes.
Final Recommendations
39. Urge the international donor community to prioritise funding for projects benefiting
gorillas and their habitats,
40. Further urge the international donor community to increase funding which benefits the
conservation of biodiversity including gorillas within the context of poverty alleviation,
41. Highlight that efforts to support gorilla conservation should be coordinated and
harmonised at local, national and international levels, and should fully take into account
the complexity of the situation marked by conflicting use of resources,
42. Appeal to the international community to support these efforts, whether by financial, “inkind”
contributions, personnel, logistic or political means, by joining forces to save the
last strongholds of the gorilla.
In respect of the above recommendations, intentions and actions set out in the Frankfurt
Declaration, we, the participants of the Gorilla Symposium, pledge to do everything in our
power to ensure the long term survival of all species of gorilla, and encourage range states,
other states, international organisations, non-governmental organisations and individuals to
join us in this endeavour.
Frankfurt am Main, 10 June 2009

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