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Convention Evasion: Madagascar's plan to pull rosewood stockpiles out of CITES

This week, Madagascar will propose a new approach to managing its extremely valuable rosewood stockpiles at the 74th meeting of the Standing Committee (SC74) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The Malagasy government is attempting to maintain the stockpile for domestic uses and allow it to leave the island in shipments of less than 10 kilograms. Critically, they want to drop the safeguard of verifying, inventorying and marking the stockpiles before use. Transparency International and the Environmental Investigation Agency believe this approach will lead to laundering and a lack of transparency and accountability.

There is already evidence this new approach is not in the people's interest: Erick Lambert Besoa is now serving as vice-president of the senate, despite being allegedly involved in the silencing of Malagasy environmental activists and trafficking. As Madagascar faces a series of socio-economic crises, it is essential that timber processes strengthen governance and people's livelihoods.

In order to avoid yet another rosewood trafficking crisis, Environmental Investigation Agency and Transparency International recommend:

  • 1. Reliable verification, inventory, and marking of any stockpile before official use
  • 2. Securing of the "controlled" stocks, for instance by regrouping all logs in one location
  • 3. Establishment of an operational third-party independent monitor to accompany the stockpile disposal and use plan
  • 4. Creation of a corruption-free oversight body
  • 5. Implementation of a transparent disposal and revenue allocation process
  • 6. Implementation of domestic supply chain traceability