Sunday, February 5, 2023

Botswana considers lobbying strategies for the next CITES CoP

Botswana and some Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states have begun planning for the 20th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which is scheduled to take place in about three years.

Following the conclusion of the CITES CoP 19 meeting in Panama, Botswana’s ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation, and Tourism made a statement on Facebook that suggested southern African nations might decide against withdrawing from CITES in favor of lobbying tactics for the subsequent conference. The brief statement mentions that SADC member states have already begun to plan their lobbying tactics and identify prospective allies for the subsequent conference of parties.

“SADC delegation met to conclude CITES related matters before the plenary of CITES CoP19 as it draws to an end. The meeting discussed key milestones, outcomes, challenges and strategies post CITES to enhance SADC voice and identify opportunities as a block. Areas of focus included lobbying strategies and identifying potential alliances for the next CoP as well as building capacity,” reads part of the statement.

Prior to the CoP-19 meeting, Botswana along with some SADC member states had threatened to pull out of the treaty if her proposal to sell stockpiled ivory was rejected at the CoP-19 in Panama City. When CITES voted against the proposals, there was much speculation about whether southern African countries would follow through on their decision to withdraw from the wildlife treaty.

In her remarks delivered on behalf of SADC members at the conclusion of the CoP-19, Botswana’s minister of environment, natural resources conservation, and tourism, Philda Kereng said they might still be open to the idea of cooperating with the conservation organisation on issues such as CITES and Forests (tree species) Programme.

“This calls for SADC range states to determine their tree species resource base in order to guide CITES to seek funding streams for CITES listed tree species,” reads part of the closing remarks.

However, this is not the first time that Botswana has threatened to leave CITES. Botswana threatened to leave the treaty after SADC member states’ request to sell ivory was denied at the CoP 18 in Geneva, Switzerland.

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