Botswana is billed to break ranks with its Southern African counterparts by not supporting the sales of ivory which is one of the topical issues to be discussed at the United Nations ongoing conference in Johannesburg.
Botswana has on the past made it clear that it would not support any country which allows for the sale of ivory.
Trade in ivory is due to take center stage at the ongoing meeting of the U.N.’s Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Johannesburg which started yesterday (24 September) until 5th October.
Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism Tshekedi Khama said Botswana condemn the selling of ivory.
He said there is inconsistency on the issue of selling ivory and its protection arguing that other countries have listed Elephant on Appendix 1 and Ivory on Appendix 2.
Tshekedi said the issue has to be debated as a whole because there is no how you can separate the two.
Tshekedi Khama shared the same view which was said by President Khama that Botswana will not support loosing restriction on the trading of ivory because that would be encouraging poaching.
South Africa Environment Minister Edna Molewa was recently quoted in some international media saying SADC would take a united stand and support Namibia and Zimbabwean proposals to be allowed to sell ivory.
Tshekedi said animals listed on CITES’ Appendix I are afforded the highest level of protection and global trade in products derived from them is prohibited.
He said Botswana will be joining Kenya and other African nations seeking to remove the trade.
Tshekedi raised concern that if domestic trading of ivory is allowed then CITES would seem to be allowing ivory to be traded, even from stockpiles and as a one-off, it would send a signal that it is socially acceptable, which could spur demand and further poaching.
”As SADC each country has its own view and i’m not sure that at the end of the meeting whether the decision will fall on the vote which will then determine the position that SADC will adopt and when i said SADC i actually want to stop there and say said individual countries because the paradigm that exist in SADC countries is so different between each countries is going to be a fair challenge because SADC member states are arguing on different Appendix.
Khama warn member states to be careful in allowing the trading of ivory.
“It means other countries that are struggling with their populations are going to suffer, and one day if their animals become extinct, and we still have viable populations, all the guns will now be focused on us,” he said.
HE said Botswana condemn hunting and trading of ivory and would not support any country willing to sell their ivory.