March 9, 2020

Zim joins alliance to fight CITES decisions

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Takudzwa Chihambakwe

Zimbabwe has decided to join a coalition of countries that intend to fight the decision by the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to maintain a ban on international trade in elephant ivory.

With elephant and rhino horns worth over US$1 billion in stock and recoding an increase of cases of conflict between humans and wildlife the Southern African country believes it cannot sit and wait for CITIES to reassess the situation in 2023.

Zimbabwe’s position was expounded on by the country’s permanent secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Munesu Munodawafa as he presented oral evidence in Parliament on Monday.

“We have noted that counties from various subcontinents were affected by decisions at the CITES meeting last year,” said Munodawafa.

“However, what we realized is that we the affected are not united. For instance, when the issue of elephants is being discussed those who do not have them in the countries do not participate in the discussion, hence we are outvoted.

“The same is true when the issue of whales comes up. Because it does not affect us we do not see any reason to participate in that discussion and this results in countries affected being outvoted.

“So we have agreed that since all of us are seriously affected by these decisions which we believe have political backing, let us regroup and form our coalition of countries that believe in the sustainable use of resources.”

The coalition had its first meeting fortnight ago.

“We have been tasked with the role of coordinating other countries so that when we have the next CITES meeting in 2023 we will put up a front as a united front.

“Currently we are running under the title Sustainable Use Alliance (SUA). It is a very loose coalition at this stage but with the same intent of saying let’s fight together and return CITES to its founding principles,” added Munodawafa.

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