In a much-hyped conference last month to strong-arm the international wildlife trade organisation CITES into allowing the global sale of elephants and ivory, Zimbabwe last week invited 16 African countries and a range of dignitaries to join its cause.
However, only five countries signed the conference declaration and the summit failed to come up with a continent-wide consensus that could be taken to the CITES (COP19) meeting in Panama in November.
The South African delegation which attended the conference did not include Environment Minister Barabara Creecy and notably did not sign the declaration.
South Africa’s current position is that it will not seek to trade ivory while current circumstances persist. At South Africa’s pre-COP19 meeting on 25 May, no elephant or ivory related proposals were raised.
The Hwange statement demanded non-interference from CITES on domestic trade, sovereignty of states and their right to monetise local wildlife.
Lead Image: A herd of elephant in the Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe. (Photo: Wikimedia / Jürgen Kehrberger).
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