The convention on international trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora (CITES) secretariat has advised members states including Zimbabwe on the postponement of the Cop18 meeting following the tragic events which happened in the host country, Sri Lanka where more than 200 people were killed in bombings on Easter Sunday.

Zimbabwe and the rest of the SADC countries will have to wait longer for their submission on the ivory trade to be heard by the CITES family after the global body’s secretariat announced the postponement of the high level Conference of the Parties (Cop18) meeting which was scheduled for Colombo, Sri Lanka from the 22nd of May to the 2nd of June.

In a notification released to member states the secretariat announced that the postponement was made following consultations with the standing committee adding that the Sri Lanka government has since accepted the rescheduling of the indaba.

“It was the noble thing to do following the tragic events which occurred in Colombo. We however remain optimistic that the meeting will the held at the appropriate time and that the CITES family will agree on the lifting of the ban on ivory trade,” read the statement.

The secretariat also announced that it will work with the Sri Lanka government to make new arrangements to the meeting and will also liaise with the United Nations Department of Safety and Security.

Zimbabwe and the rest of SADC countries, which account for over 60% of the global elephant population, are looking forward to the lifting of the ban on trade in registered raw ivory.