Zimbabwe: Ivory Ban Maintained: By Clemence Manyukwe, Financial Gazette, 21 March 2013 A BID by the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority to raise US$8 million from ivory sales has hit a brick wall after the just-ended Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) conference maintained a ban in the trade on ivory.
The authority lobbied Parliament towards the end of last year for government to pressure CITES to lift the ban on the trade of ivory, arguing that permission to sell accumulated ivory valued at US$8 million would lessen its burdens in the face of underfunding by Treasury.
Funds accruing from the envisaged sale of the stockpiles were seen going a long way towards the fulfilment of the authority’s mandate, especially anti-poaching law enforcement, animal control, and the management of quelea birds which are emerging as a threat to food security.
Lawmakers were also supportive of the lifting of the ivory ban after noting that the authority was in a desperate position as it had accumulated arrears estimated at US$10 million that are crippling its operations.
But at the CITIES conference which ended in Bangkok on Saturday, there was no talk of selling Zimbabwe’s ivory, which means that the country would have to contend with stockpiling for now.
On Tuesday, Environment and Natural Resources Minister Francis Nhema, said Zimbabwe’s bid to sell the ivory was not discussed at the CITES conference. He said it would only be on the agenda in 2016.
“The matter was not discussed as it was not on the agenda. It was not tabled, it will be discussed in 2016,” said Nhema.
A statement released by a United Nations agency, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (ICUN), said the CITES conference expressed concern on illegal elephant sales and rhino poaching on the African continent.
ICUN said the CITES meeting resolved that in order to tackle rising levels of poaching of African elephants (Loxodonta Africana) and illegal ivory trade, parties agreed on improved measures for the regulation of the global illegal ivory trade, including the development of country-specific actions.
“Support was also re-affirmed for the global monitoring systems that underpin decision-making under the convention, as well as the African Elephant Action Plan…The conference identified significant range, transit and consumer states most affected by illegal rhino horn trade as well as a process of reporting back on specific urgent actions to be taken by those countries,” reads part of the IUCN statement.
“According to the IUCN African Rhino Specialist Group, poaching of African rhinos increased by 43 percent between 2011 and 2012 and illegal rhino horn trade continues to pose a serious threat to rhinos worldwide.”