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A set of China-Africa policy essays – by practitioners, scholars and researchers – on issues around governance, peace and security, conservation and industrialisation has just been translated into Mandarin.

There has been growing interest in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and in particular, whether this international conference will decide to extend the international ban on elephant ivory - in place since 1990 – into domestic markets.

A crucial international wildlife meeting is currently taking place in South Africa. But can these kinds of high-level conferences translate into local actions to protect endangered wildlife such the African elephant? In an article for The Mercury, SAIIA Senior Researcher Yu-Shan Wu discusses the findings of her latest research into the matter.

SAIIA and the Embassy of Switzerland in South Africa held a panel discussion on 'Reflections on how to create a transparent and sustainable location for doing business in the commodities sector: the Swiss case.' This discussion was led by H.E. Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, Swiss State Secretary for Economic Affairs.

Partnerships between government and civil society organisations (CSOs) can be volatile if not adequately nurtured, leading to mutual suspicion and questioning each other’s agendas. CSOs in South Africa have recently expressed dissatisfaction about the lack of consultation and implementation of the Open Government Partnership (OGP). This is a voluntary international initiative where government and CSOs work together to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. The OGP will reflect on its first five years in New York on 21-22 September 2016 and the stakes are high for South Africa to lead by example and yield tangible results as a founding member and current Chair.

Dozens of wildlife species are endangered, pushed ever closer to extinction by habitat loss and illegal trade. This is an important and disquieting element of the so-called Anthropocene, the proposed geological epoch to describe the current period, in which the earth and its complex systems have been fundamentally shaped by human activity. The illegal wildlife trade, which has been estimated at $7 billion to $23 billion a year, is the world’s fourth-largest form of transnational organized crime.

SAIIA Occasional Paper No 244, September 2016

SAIIA Occasional Paper No 243, September 2016