Namibia fails to stop vote on ivory sale ban

Bus Ivory tradeNamibia`s bid to prevent a vote on a proposed ban of domestic ivory sales has been thwarted.

The move was championed by Namibia, and supported by South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe, but fell flat at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) on Monday.

In addition, Malawi and Mozambique broke ranks with their regional peers in the Southern Africa Development Community.

The United States is spearheading the proposal to ban domestic ivory sales, which it believes will curb the scourge threatening elephants. The proposal will go to vote, and parties have until October 5.

A total of 57 parties resisted Namibia’s efforts to prevent a vote on the issue, while 31 others, including SA, said the proposal should not go to vote.

Namibia claims the proposal to regulate ivory markets is invalid and outside the scope of the convention, which deals with international, not domestic, trade.

However, a US delegate attending the conference rejected the notion that parties were acting beyond the scope of the convention and said they had addressed domestic markets, and there was a clear connection between domestic and international trade.

Both Namibia and Zimbabwe have put forward proposals that would allow the trade of their domestic ivory.

Richard Thomas, the global communications co-ordinator for Traffic, a wildlife trade monitoring network, said if the US proposal were passed, Namibia and Zimbabwe’s proposals would be negated because the domestic market ivory would be closed.

On two occasions, the two countries were allowed to auction off their ivory stockpiles, which fed local supply in Asian countries.

According to the International Fund for Animal Welfare, in 2011 elephant ivory and rhino horn were coveted investments in China, which drove up their price to an all-time high.-Bday