About Lynn Johnson

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So far Lynn Johnson has created 169 blog entries.

The Misguided ‘Once In A Generation’ Mindset

By |2024-05-10T12:07:19+10:00May 10th, 2024|Blog|

Anyone reading about Australia’s bungled Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) reform will no doubt have seen the well-worn phrase ‘once in a generation’. The EPBC Act is stated to be Australia’s central piece of national environmental law, covering the Commonwealth’s role in environmental protection matters of national significance. After a scathing statutory review of the EPBC Act’s effectiveness, undertaken in 2019/20, Australia supposedly has a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity to ensure the country’s environment laws are working and this ‘once in a generation’ reform can’t be rushed. This ‘once in a generation’ statement is music to the ears of the stakeholders who want to maintain the status quo. They can lobby hard to [...]

Fact-Check: Not Just One Bad Apple

By |2024-04-29T20:43:03+10:00April 28th, 2024|Blog|

This week saw Nancy González, a Colombian designer whose customers are the likes of Victoria Beckham and whose products have been featured in The Devil Wears Prada, receive an 18-month prison sentence in the USA for smuggling.  The maximum sentence available for González for illegally importing designer handbags made from caiman and python skin was 25 years. The indictment charged Gonzalez, her company Gzuniga Ltd and two employees with one count of conspiracy and two counts of illegally importing reptile skin handbags between February 2016 to April 2019. Gzuniga was ordered to forfeit all handbags and other previously seized product and banned for three years from any activities involving commercial trade in wildlife. The indictment detailed that the [...]

Keep It Simple Stupid: ASYCUDA eCITES v Blockchain

By |2024-04-10T06:59:44+10:00April 9th, 2024|Blog|

For World Wildlife Day, 2024, CITES hosted an event with the theme, “Connecting People and Planet: Exploring Digital Innovation in Wildlife Conservation". The event profiled some of the latest applications of digital technologies in wildlife conservation and ecosystems mapping and monitoring. Just over an hour into the event, Ivonne Higuero, CITES Secretary-General, introduced the ASYCUDA eCITES system, saying, “In our next segment we are going to look into the future. I would like to introduce you to yet another one of CITES digital efforts. The electronic CITES permitting system or eCITES. Something close to my heart. When I started working with CITES some six years ago, I thought we need to move into the future, and [...]

Can Python Pizza Help Justify Python Handbags? Simple Answer: No

By |2024-03-26T07:31:35+11:00March 24th, 2024|Blog|

In 2019, I attended CITES CoP18 in Geneva, two weeks of watching how decisions are made about which endangered and exotic species can be legally traded. During the mid-conference break, my colleagues and I took the 4-hour drive to Milan, to take a look at what was on sale in one of the top fashion destinations in the world. After seafood, fashion and furniture are the are the two biggest users of wild species. The first thing we noted from Milan’s luxury retail sector was how difficult it was to pass a store that didn’t contain fur, exotic leathers or feathers. Posing as a customer who wanted to take something ‘special’ back to Australia from her Italian holiday [...]

The Long Read: The Traders, The Traffickers And The Torturers

By |2024-02-06T10:11:05+11:00February 5th, 2024|Blog|

The 2023 BBC investigation, The Monkey Haters, which exposed the torture of baby macaques for the online viewing pleasure of sadistic people worldwide, provides a window on a world which profits from a trade in wild species and its light-touch regulation. The legal wildlife trade has been called one of the most lucrative trades in the world, yet most trade has no regulation at all. Only for around 40,000 species is trade regulated, on paper at least. But with the CITES trade permit processes stuck in the 1970s, the reality is this trade is managed with the technological equivalent of the 3M Post-It Note launched in 1977 (CITES launched in 1975). CITES trade regulation can’t cope with a [...]

Could This Sound The Needed Death Knell On The Legal Horn Debate?

By |2024-01-12T10:18:58+11:00January 12th, 2024|Blog|

In the final days of 2023, a tip-off to the South African Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation resulted in a 16-hour raid on Derek Lewitton’s South African ranch. Twenty-six rhino carcasses were located during the raid and it was suggested by officers that there could be more, “From the helicopter the place looked like a slaughterhouse,” Provincial Commissioner of Police Major General Jan Scheepers told ABC News when describing the scene. “Everywhere you looked, rhinos were lying there dead”. South African authorities must be informed about the death of a rhino, even if it dies of natural causes. Rhino horn was also found at the property without the necessary government documentation. Lewitton’s website, Black Rock Rhino Conservation, says, [...]

You Can’t Make a Silk Purse Out Of A Sow’s Ear

By |2023-12-05T10:30:33+11:00December 5th, 2023|Blog|

One of the key arguments used for not moving to a reverse-listing (positive-listing, white-listing) regulatory system for the trade in wild species is that CITES already has a mechanism for implementing the precautionary principle - the Non-Detriment Findings (NDFs). In theory, the convention directs signatory counties to only issue export permits for Appendix I and II listed species when the national Scientific Authority of the State of export has advised that such export will not be detrimental to the survival of the species. Yet, as with the CITES regulator more broadly, ample evidence has been provided over the years that NDFs are unfit-for-purpose. The concerns about the quality and trustworthiness of NDFs are completely justifiable, given the lack [...]

Corporate Overexploitation Hides Behind The Skirts Of Community Livelihoods

By |2023-11-15T10:50:34+11:00November 15th, 2023|Blog|

Having just returned from Washington DC and meetings with political representatives and advisors from both side of the aisle, what is evident is how little they know about the international commercial legal trade in wild species. The pattern of the meetings was them bringing up elephants and rhinos, hunting trophies and zoos and poverty alleviation. This isn’t unique to the USA, we have found the same situation in meetings with political and trade representatives from Australia to Europe, Asia to Latin America. But it begs the question, how have the government policy people in the global conservation organisations, who do have access to government, left political representatives so ignorant of the scale of this industrial commercial trade? They [...]

Introducing The BU$IN€$$ of Nature Report

By |2023-09-22T10:11:57+10:00September 22nd, 2023|Blog|

Businesses and their investors have had 50 years to prove they could curb their excess with voluntary governance systems. They have decisively failed. Even now, in the face of natural and heath disasters, the success of new iterations of voluntary self-governance is being exaggerated. It is time to call them what they are, Phantom Solutions. We need to get real. The delusion of the need for constant growth, which is the desired state for investors, business and governments is accelerating the world to a tipping point from which we will not recover. We already live in a changed reality and even some of the key institutions who have driven us to this precipice are changing their tune; recently [...]

Reverse Listing – A Strategy Whose Time Has Come

By |2023-05-19T15:52:27+10:00May 19th, 2023|Blog|

It is time to accept that the current system of protecting species from over-exploitation by commercialising them is not working and hasn’t for some decades. The problem with regulating the legal trade in wild species and protecting species from extinction through trade is that the underlying basic assumption of the design of the CITES system, which was done in the mid-1960s, no longer applies. At the time, the perception of abundance and of low trade volumes led to the justification that the default could be ‘to trade’ in endangered and exotic species and only to apply restrictions when there is evidence of over exploitation because of the legal trade. Today the focus of conservation bodies is [...]

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