Kuujjuaq – May 2, 2016 -Makivvik recently received notification that no proposal has been submitted to the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) to uplist polar bears from Appendix II to Appendix I of the Convention at the next Conference of the Parties (CoP) to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, September 24-October 5, 2016. This represents an important milestone in Inuit efforts to have the international community recognize the legitimacy of Inuit trade in polar bear skins and other parts and further emphasizes that Canadian Inuit trade is not detrimental to the conservation of polar bears.
Proposals to uplist polar bear from CITES Appendix II to Appendix I had previously been submitted to the CITES CoPs in Doha, Qatar in 2010 and in Bangkok, Thailand in 2013. These proposals, which would have effectively banned international trade in polar bear skins and other parts, were defeated thanks to strong efforts made by Canadian Inuit, and the Governments of Canada, Nunavut, and the Northwest Territories.
In the interim between the last CoP in 2013 and the April 27 2016 deadline for submissions of proposals for this year’s CoP, Makivvik and Inuit from the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Nunavut, and Nunatsiavut, as well as Environment Canada, the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Government of Nunavut, undertook numerous initiatives and interventions with foreign government agencies and animal rights non-governmental organizations. The objective of these interventions was to highlight the social, cultural and economic importance of polar bears for Inuit and to demonstrate the responsiveness, robustness, and adaptive nature of the Canadian polar bear management regime. It is a testament to the perseverance of Inuit that these efforts will result in no change to the trade status of polar bears under CITES in the foreseeable future.
Adamie Delisle-Alaku, Executive Vice-President of Makivvik’s Resource Development Department and who leads this file for Nunavik, would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all Canadian Inuit for their dedication to this effort. He would also like to remind Inuit that while this represents an important victory, Inuit must continue to demonstrate the importance of polar bears to their culture and economic well-being, and must remain dedicated to the sound management and conservation of polar bears within each Canadian Inuit region to ensure they will be available to meet the needs of future generations.
For more information contact:
Communications Coordinator and Media Relations
Makivvik is the development corporation mandated to manage the heritage funds of the Inuit of Nunavik provided for in the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement. Makivvik’s role includes the administration and investment of these funds and the promotion of economic growth.