Interview: UNEP calls for consensus in wildlife management (Johannesburg, South Africa)



Date Published

The head of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Office in
South Africa, Cecilia Kinuthia-Njenga, on Saturday encouraged
countries taking part in the upcoming World Wildlife Conference to
work towards reaching a consensus on how to sustainably manage

The World Wildlife Conference, officially known as 17th Conference of
Parties (Cop17) of the Convention on the International Trade in
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), will be held in
Johannesburg from Sept. 23 to Oct. 5.

There will be much lobbying on the plenary, behind the scenes and even
on social networks about nature conservation, Kinuthia-Njenga told
Xinhua in an interview.

Kinuthia-Njenga, who is also the UNEP’s Regional Programme Coordinator
in Southern Africa, lamented that African countries go to the
conference with divergent views.

She said South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia have proposed for
international trade in elephant ivory, while other 29 African
countries are against the idea.

“We hope they will come up with a resolution which protects our
wildlife heritage. I also hope that African countries will find a
common agreement on managing African elephants and reach consensus on
sustainable management of wildlife,” she said.

The UNEP official said the number of elephants in Africa has been
reduced due to poaching.

Poaching is a huge challenge in the management of wildlife, and Africa
should expect consuming countries to cooperate in seeking sustainable
solutions, she said.

Meanwhile, Swaziland is also lobbying for the legalization of the sale
of rhino horns. Kinuthia-Njenga said there will be slim chances for
the proposals to succeed.

“The UN definitely hopes for a resolution on sustainable management of
wildlife, and is optimistic about that,” Kinuthia-Njenga said.

“We will be neutral as UN in the conference, but will provide the
technical and expertise so that member states come to resolutions
based on scientific research,” she added.

Kinuthia-Njenga also called for concerted efforts in fighting the
depletion of national resources, which she said, would impoverish
local communities, therefore causing hunger and inequity.

The CITES conference will be attended by delegates from over 180
countries. The participants will get an update on actions taken after
the last conference in Bangkok three years ago.