CITES rejects Zimbabwe’s bid-The 19th Conference of the Parties (CoP19) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), convening presently in Panama has rejected Zimbabwe’s bid to lift the ban on international ivory trade.
CITES maintains that “all international trade in ivory is banned”.
Zimbabwe’s bid, says although only four southern African States host a majority of the world’s elephants in healthy populations, sustaining this conservation success is expensive.
“Very little in CITES recognises or supports any of this enormous achievement or serves to assist countries with large elephant populations to continue protecting them…” the proposal says. “CITES has acted as an inhibitor and not an enabler of progress.
“The Conference of the Parties has repeatedly discounted the importance of the Southern African elephant population and its conservation needs against other regions in Africa.”
The proposal added that it was time to remove the anomaly of having 256 000 elephants on Appendix II being treated as if they are on Appendix I, against the wishes of the people who own them and who have the most to lose or gain from them.
Lapointe , who is coordinating the activities of several pro-sustainable organisations in Panama, the CITES Secretariat leaves as an exercise for the reader.
The ivory trade decision once again demonstrates that CoP19 is not willing to reflect on the threat made by Tanzania, on behalf of the 16 members of SADC, to withdraw from the Convention if the interests of range States are routinely ignored.
Before the conference, Zimbabwe pleaded with European Union (EU) to lobby CITES to allow a once off sale of $600 million worth of ivory in its stockpiles.
The country’s previous attempts to engage Cites to sell 130 tonnes of ivory stocked in a warehouse in Harare have hit a snag as the stockpile continues to grow.
The country has nearly 100 000 elephants, the second largest in the world, while its carrying capacity remains at 55 000.
This has led to unprecedented human, wildlife conflict where over 60 people have been killed by elephants this year.
Zimbabwe has in the past threatened to pull out of Cites if it maintains the ban.
“We feel betrayed after adhering to conditions in relation to the annotation to the listing of all elephant population. Without an ivory market we will end up not recovering ivory from natural attrition in protected areas,” Zimparks director general, Fulton Mangwanya said at that time.
THE HERALD/THE NEWSREPORTLIVE