28 countries support ban on ivory trade


Gilbert Koech, The Star

Date Published

Kenya’s bid to push for the total ban on ivory trade during the 17th meeting of the Cites convention in Johannesburg, South Africa, is supported by 28 countries.

Kenya Wildlife Service director general Kitili Mbathi told the Star on the phone preparations for the meeting are on top gear. “We have resolutions and proposals ready,” he said.

Mbathi said Kenya has 14 proposals to be tabled during the convention.

It has been described by Cites secretary general John Scanlon “as one of the largest and the most critical meetings in the 43-year history of the convention”.

The Cites conference will be held from September 24 to October 5.

Kenya has been pushing for a total ban on ivory trade.

During the Giant Club inaugural on April 29 in Laikipia, President Uhuru Kenyatta said the ban will protect Africa’s elephants . “We will not be the Africans who stood by as we lost our elephants,” he said.

Last month, 29 members of the African Elephant Coalition called for a ban in ivory trade in Montreux, Switzerland.

The member countries of the African Elephant Coalition include Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad and Comoros.

Of the 29 countries represented in the coalition, 25 are African elephant range states, comprising the majority (68 per cent) of the 37 countries where African elephants live in the wild.

Cites has already received proposals calling for a ban on the international ivory trade by listing all elephants in Cites Appendix I, the closing of domestic ivory markets around the world.

The proposals encourage better management of ivory stockpiles and where possible, their destruction.

They also stop further debate in Cites on legalising ivory trade and limiting export of live African elephants to conservation projects.

Scanlon has said those who intend to participate in the meeting as observers have 30 days to register. Deadline is August 10.

They include as non-party countries, United Nations organisations and its specialised agencies, intergovernmental organisations, NGOs and the private sector.