Namibia’s contemplation to leave CITES will have negative consequences: Nghitila

04 Sep 2019 18:50pm
WINDHOEK, 04 SEP (NAMPA) – Namibia’s consideration to leave the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) will have negative implications on ivory stockpiles and wildlife product trade with its main clients, Japan and China, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism’s Executive Director Teofilus Nghitila has said.
Namibia’s deliberation to leave CITES follows the rejection of its proposals to allow hunting and trade of the southern white rhino and its products, as well as to be allowed a one-time sale of Government-owned ivory stockpiles, at a recent conference in Geneva, Switzerland.
In an interview with Nampa here on Wednesday, Nghitila said if Namibia leaves CITES the country will have a limited market to sell its current ivory stockpiles worth N.dollars 125.4 million and other wildlife products to.
“CITES allow party members to trade and Japan and China who are the biggest clients of ivory will never leave CITES, so we will have a limited market; that is the tricky part,” he said.
However during a press conference the same day, Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta said the rejected proposals pose a serious setback to Namibia’s conservation programme which is based on sustainable use of wildlife resources as provided for in the national constitution.
“It is unfortunate that this very important science-based Convention which is supposed to regulate sustainable trade, has been turned into a non-sustainable wildlife tool,” he stated.
Shifeta further said decisions are also “no longer based on science”, hence Namibia will consult broadly in consideration of its membership to CITES as it cannot be affiliated to “something that does not support the interest and wellbeing of its people”.
“Namibia is disappointed in the decisions made by CITES and it is for this reason that we are, together with other southern African countries, investigating options to ensure that the principles of sustainable use of wildlife are upheld through trading outside CITES,” he said.
Namibia along with Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa submitted the proposal.
Shifeta noted that CITES should ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival, adding that all submissions were aimed at promoting conservation of natural resources.
Based on the 2008 auction, the ministry currently holds legal ivory weighing 29 964 kilogrammes worth N.dollars 54 188 054 and illegal ivory (seized from poachers) of 39 427 kilogrammes worth N.dollars 71 299 913.