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Green Activists Must Stop Misusing International Agreements

World Growth
March 1 2012

Pro-trade group calls on environmental campaigners and the European Union to improve conservation, not stymie trade with developing countries in lead up to UN conservation meeting

Washington – In the lead up to a meeting of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) pro-free market NGO World Growth has called upon environmental campaigners and European Union bureaucrats to cease politicizing the CITES agreement and focus on environmental strategies that will foster economic growth in developing countries.

World Growth Chairman and former Ambassador to the GATT (the predecessor to the World Trade Organization) stated, “Every year Greenpeace and other campaigners propose tougher restrictions on trade in timber species such as rosewood, teak and ramin. This is part of a strategy to turn CITES into a tool to halt commercial forestry in tropical countries.”

“Unfortunately, Greenpeace and other groups have a long-standing record of making claims about species losses that are exaggerated and cannot be substantiated,” he said.

“If campaigners are serious about protecting the environment, it should direct efforts towards developing effective conservation strategies. This is something they never do.”

Ambassador Oxley said that toughening trade controls is not an effective primary strategy for conservation.

“CITES is a secondary tool. It supports conservation policies – it doesn’t create them on the ground. Focussing on trade restrictions diverts attention away from the real issue of improving existing conservation measures.”

“The sole aim of campaign groups such as Greenpeace and WWF is to turn into a tool that will restrict forest exports from developing countries. Fortunately, most developing countries are aware of this and vote down these proposals.

Ambassador Oxley said it was shameful that the European Union has supported these campaign strategies.

“Most developing countries have already set aside around one-third of their land mass for conservation or protection. This exceeds the targets set by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. The position of the environmental campaigners to halt commercial forestry has no sound rationale and will stymie economic growth.”

About World Growth

World Growth is an international non-governmental organization established with a mission to expand the education, information and other resources available to disadvantaged populations to improve their health and economic welfare. At World Growth, we embrace and celebrate the new age of globalization and the power of free trade to eradicate poverty and improve living conditions for people in the developing world. For more information on World Growth, visit

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