Story by Diplomatic Correspondent, Josephine Mugiyo
ZIMBABWE continues to lobby for the lifting of the ban on ivory trade, with the country’s delegation to the US -Africa summit in Washington DC engaging the leadership of the International Conservation Caucus Foundation.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) ban on ivory trade remains a sore spot for countries like Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia which have large herds of elephants, with Zimbabwe sitting on 130 000 tonnes of ivory stockpiles.
Chairperson of a Washington DC-based animals lobby group, the International Conservation Caucus Foundation, Mr David Barron has commended Zimbabwe for the manner it is managing its wildlife under difficult circumstances and condemned those who want to dictate to other nations how to manage their resources.
“The potential in biodiversity management in Zimbabwe is fantastic. Zimbabwe has done a great job in managing biodiversity despite the challenges, those who have not managed their resources well now want to dictate to Zimbabwe how they should manage their resources, Africa should decide how they manage their resources. The African heads of State should come up with a stance and communicate it,” he said.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister, Ambassador Frederick Shava also spoke strongly against the stance by CITES, saying the organisation should not micro-manage Zimbabwe’s wildlife.
“We get concerned when CITES tries to micromanage what we have in Zimbabwe. We are saying to those enthusiasts that if it is about us burning the ivory why don’t they buy them from us and burn them themselves,” he said.
Meanwhile, Minister Shava attended a meeting on peace and security at the ongoing US-Africa Summit, which among other things discussed the issue of insurgence in the Cabo Delgado region of Mozambique.
US Secretary of State, Mr Antony Blinken spoke on the triggers of food insecurity on the African continent.
The engagements will continue this Thursday with Minister Shava meeting the US Assistant Secretary for Africa.