EU backs Zim­babwe, Sadc CITES po­si­tion

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Tendai Mu­gabe Harare Bureau

THE Euro­pean Union has thrown its weight be­hind Zim­babwe and Sadc’s po­si­tion to re­ject the pro­posed ban on tro­phy hunt­ing ahead of the Con­ven­tion on In­ter­na­tional Trade on En­dan­gered Species 17th Con­fer­ence of Par­ties to be held in South Africa next week.

An­i­mal rights ac­tivists are push­ing for the up-list­ing of ele­phants and li­ons from Ap­pendix II to Ap­pendix I at the up­com­ing CoP17.

Ap­pendix I in­cludes species threat­ened with ex­tinc­tion and if the pro­posal sailed through, Zim­babwe and other Sadc coun­tries with huge pop­u­la­tion of ele­phants and li­ons would be banned from in­ter­na­tional hunt­ing and trad­ing in li­ons and ele­phants.

Zim­babwe’s po­si­tion is that tro­phy hunt­ing should not be banned but should be al­lowed to con­tinue in a sus­tain­able way that ben­e­fited com­mu­ni­ties.

This po­si­tion had re­ceived wide sup­port from the re­gion and the EU.

EU Head of Del­e­ga­tion to Zim­babwe Am­bas­sador Philippe Van Damme told our Harare Bureau ahead of CoP17 that the Euro­pean bloc sup­ported sus­tain­able trade in ivory that ben­e­fit­ted com­mu­ni­ties.

“The EU has al­ways said that tro­phy hunt­ing is part of this use of nat­u­ral re­sources on two con­di­tions,” he said.

“One, that tro­phy hunt­ing is on a sus­tain­able way that has to be sus­tain­able in a sci­en­tific way. Se­condly, that tro­phy hunt­ing should ben­e­fit com­mu­ni­ties and that is why the EU has in­tro­duced a pro­posal to strengthen in­ter­na­tional reg­u­la­tions around tro­phy hunt­ing not to pro­hibit tro­phy hunt­ing.”

He con­tin­ued: “The in­ter­na­tional reg­u­la­tions so far have a cou­ple of loop­holes which do not guar­an­tee the sus­tain­abil­ity of tro­phy hunt­ing and then guar­an­tee that the ben­e­fits of tro­phy hunt­ing will be shared in a fair way to com­mu­ni­ties in­volved which makes it sus­tain­able in the long run.

“And since there is an in­ter­na­tional pub­lic opin­ion which is some­times hos­tile be­cause pre­cisely they will re­fer to that the way tro­phy hunt­ing is man­aged is not sus­tain­able — the way we pro­posed this reg­u­la­tion is pre­cisely to pre­serve tro­phy hunt­ing as a vi­able source of rev­enue in coun­tries like Zim­babwe which of course has po­ten­tial. Zim­babwe has been dis­cussing this res­o­lu­tion at Sadc level.”

Am­bas­sador Van Damme said the EU would push for this res­o­lu­tion to be adopted at CoP17.

En­vi­ron­ment, Wa­ter and Cli­mate Min­is­ter Op­pah Muchin­guri-Kashiri said Zim­babwe had mo­bilised the re­gion to en­sure that tro­phy hunt­ing was not banned.

“We mo­bilised for a po­si­tion which Sadc will present as one where we are speak­ing with one voice in terms of the trade in ivory, in terms also of hunt­ing and also for our li­ons pop­u­la­tion and quite a num­ber of other is­sues that are of in­ter­est to Zim­babwe,” she said.

“Our of­fi­cials have been meet­ing and we also have been meet­ing and I want to re­fer to a meet­ing that was or­gan­ised in Botswana for min­is­ters re­spon­si­ble for wildlife and at that fo­rum we were also able to dis­cuss our is­sues par­tic­u­larly the is­sue where we must as much as pos­si­ble in­volve the com­mu­nity in what­ever de­ci­sion we make be­cause these are the peo­ple who own these im­por­tant nat­u­ral re­sources and with­out their par­tic­i­pa­tion there will not be any suc­cess to talk about in terms of con­ser­va­tion is­sues of our wildlife and fauna.”

Min­is­ter Muchin­guri-Kashiri said the Zim­babwe Coun­cil of Chiefs pres­i­dent Chief For­tune Charumbira also played a piv­otal role in mo­bil­is­ing re­gional chiefs to speak strongly with one voice at CoP17.

“Chief Charumbira has gone a step fur­ther to mo­bilise other chiefs within our re­gion so that as we go to CITES chiefs will have a very strong rep­re­sen­ta­tion from the chiefs and com­mu­ni­ties who will be able to ar­gue that the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity can­not make de­ci­sions for them,” she said.

“If we do not con­vince the com­mu­ni­ties to see value in liv­ing with these an­i­mals then we have no suc­cess story to talk about,” said Min­is­ter Muchin­guri-Kashiri

Min­is­ter Op­pah Muchin­guri-Kashiri

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