AFFIRMING her commitment to fighting illegal wildlife trade, Occidental Mindoro Rep. Josephine “Nene” Y. Ramirez-Sato has joined the Ivory Alliance 2024, a high-level coalition of international leaders and influencers in the fight against the ivory trade.
Sato formally took her oath as a member during the Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference 2018 held last October 11 and 12 at the Evolution, Battersea Park in London, where she delivered the Philippine statement as head of the delegation.
Sato became a pioneer member and the first Filipino leader to become a member of the London-based Ivory Alliance 2024.
The other Ivory Alliance political members are: UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove, chairman; former UN Development Programme Administrator and New Zealand Prime Minister Rt Hon Helen Clark; Hong Kong Legislative Council member Elizabeth Quat; Uganda Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities Minister Ephraim Kamuntu; and California Senate President pro Tempore Leader Toni Atkins.
Some of the noted Ivory Alliance supporters include Alexandra Bounxouei, musician and performer from Laos; Bella Lack, a youth blogger for Born Free Foundation; and Singapore actor Adrian Pang.
Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, feted the IVA members at a reception dinner held on Oct.10 at the St. James Palace in London.
“The Philippines is one of the 17 megadiverse countries in the world but also one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots because of the various threats that include illegal wildlife trade. It is no longer just an environmental crime, it is a transnational crime that must be stopped along with illegal drugs, arms, and human trafficking,” said Sato.
Sato was invited by the Alliance’s chairman, Secretary of State Michael Gove of the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs of the United Kingdom, to take part in the global effort to combat the illegal wildlife trade, particularly activities that target elephants for their tusks.
According to Gove, African elephant numbers have declined from 1.3 million in 1979 to 415,000 today, with 20,000 a year still being illegally-slaughtered due to the huge ivory demand.