By Leonard Ncube
Zimbabwe is sitting on ivory and rhino horn stockpiles worth US$600 million but cannot dispose them due to a ban by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
At the African Union-United Nations Wildlife Economy Summit in Victoria Falls on Monday, Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa said proceeds from the stockpile could finance conservation projects for the next 20 years.
“Zimbabwe subscribes to the founding principles of the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species and we remain committed to the adherence of its protocols and rules. We are gravely concerned by the one-size-fits all approach where banning of trade is creeping into the Cites decision-making process.
“We call upon the institution to resist the temptation of being a policing institution and instead be a developmental one which promotes the intricate balance between conservation and sustainable utilisation of all wildlife resources.”
Present at the Summit were Presidents Mogkwetsi Masisi (Botswana), Edgar Lungu (Zambia) and Hage Geingob (Namibia) who is also Sadc Chair.
Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana are lobbying Cites to lift a ban on ivory trade.