ivory.jpgThe Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species CITES convention opened in Doha, Qatar with Zimbabwe’s six member delegation ready to defend the country itself against Kenya’s proposal for a 20 year ban in the trade of ivory.

The 15th meeting of the Convention on International Trade in endangered species which opened in Doha, brought together experts from more than 175 countries.

 

The delegates will consider proposals made by different countries in wildlife, marine, flora and fauna conservation in a move aimed at protecting them from extinction.

 

Zimbabwe has also sent a six member delegation led by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Management, Ms Florence Nhekairo.

 

The Ministerial delegation will join the delegation on the 20th of this month to seal deals.

 

Environment and Natural Resources Management Minister Cde Francis Nhema said topping the discussions on Africa are issues to do with Kenya’s proposal for a 20 year ban on ivory trade.

 

Southern African countries such as South Africa, Zambia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe among others are supporting a proposal by Zambia’s proposal which will enable the sale of ivory stocks to raise money for conservation.

 

Parks and Wildlife Management Board Member Mr. Jerry Gotora says the argument against Kenya’s proposal is that over the years conservation has become an expensive exercise hence the need for the Southern African countries to be offered a chance to sell the stocks of ivory they have accumulated over the years.

 

The 15th meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species brings together experts from participating countries to consider proposals for tighter trade controls on Atlantic bluefin tuna, polar bears, sharks, corals and elephant ivory.

CITES meets every three years to change trade rules through amendments to the CITES Appendices. Controversially, Monaco wants the large tunas on Appendix 1, a category that prevents all commercial international trade in the species listed in Appendix II so that they can be traded only under special permit conditions.

 

The United States has proposed to transfer the polar bear from Appendix II to Appendix I for greater protection from extinction. In 2008 the United States listed the polar bear as threatened on the US Endangered Species Act, and proposed in October to protect much of Alaska’s north coast as critical habitat for the bears.

 

New and emerging issues on the conference agenda included the need to protect the livelihoods of poor communities dependent on wildlife trade and the growth in wildlife trade via the Internet.