Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Historic Declaration to be signed in Kinshasa to save great apes

Posted: 15 November 2005

Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, 9 September 2005. At an historic conference held in Kinshasa, the Great Ape Survival Project (GRASP), a unique United Nations partnership of governments, conservation and animal campaign groups, scientists and ecotourism companies, is signing an international declaration today to save the Great Apes from extinction.

Chimpanzees, bonobos (pygmy chimpanzees), gorillas and orang-utans will now receive special attention, protection and support worldwide.

UK Biodiversity Minister Jim Knight will be signing the Kinshasa Declaration on behalf of the UK Government. The UK is signing up to this historic undertaking together with other “donor” countries – Belgium, France, Italy, Japan and USA.

Many of the countries who hold in trust for humanity the links to the very origins of our species are amongst the poorest in the world and therefore the “donor” countries - the developed nations who create the demand for the products which have depleted the environment of the Great Apes - are pledged to play their part in helping the range states of these species to fulfil their custodianship on behalf of the world community, whilst allowing their own economies to develop.

ADI Chief Executive Jan Creamer, who has attended the GRASP inaugural conference this week, said today: “The UN’s GRASP project is a huge step which will bring together governments, campaign groups, scientists and the business community to work to save our next of kin. The ape populations are threatened by exploitation for bushmeat, as pets and for the entertainment industry; their environment is being ravaged for timber, palm oil, coltan (for mobile phones) and other products. We congratulate everyone who has worked so hard to take this bold step to bring together everyone involved in these issues. This is a truly great day which offers a glimmer of hope for humanity and our planet, as well as our wider family.”

UK DEFRA Minister Mr Knight addressed the meeting in the morning and will be signing the Kinshasa Declaration in the afternoon (between 3pm and 5pm), along with the governments of the countries where mankind’s closest relatives live –Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Malaysia, Mali, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania.

The ADI team also took time out of the conference to look at the primate pet trade and bushmeat selling as part of their My Mate’s a Primate campaign.

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