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

Namibia's consideration to leave the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) will have negative implication on ivory stockpiles and wildlife products trade with its main clients, Japan and China, Ministry of Environment and Tourism Executive Director, Teolifus Nghitila has said.

Namibia's deliberation to leave CITES follows after its proposals to allow for 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 was rejected at just-ended conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

In an interview with Nampa here on Wednesday Nghitila said if Namibia becomes a non-party of CITES it Namibia will have limited market to sell its current ivory stock piles worth N.dollars 125.4 million and other wildlife products.

CITES allow party members to trade and Japan and China who are biggest clients of ivory will never leave CITES, so will we have limited market that is the tricky part, he said.

However, during a press conference by MET Minister Pohamba Shifeta on the same day, said the rejected proposal poses a serious setback to Namibia's conservation programme which is based on sustainable use of wildlife resources and as provided for in our national constitution.

It is unfortunate that this very important science-based Convention which is supposed to regulating sustainable trade has been turned into a non-sustainable wildlife tool, he stressed.

Shifeta further added decisions are also no longer based on science as well, 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 that were 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.

He 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 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.

Source: Namibia Press Agency