President Hage Geingob has expressed concern over the increasing costs and
security implications of holding ivory stocks and reiterated Namibia’s
favourable stance towards the resumption of legal international ivory trade.
Geingob, who is also the chairman of SADC, made these remarks at the Kasane
The presidents of Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia, as well as
Angola’s environment minister, met at Kasane, Botswana, on Tuesday to forge
a common policy toward elephant management, saying that conflict between
elephants and rural farmers is escalating.
Ivory sales currently require approval from the international community
through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
Geingob said Namibia continued to exercise strict control over ivory
stocks, but he stressed that stocks continue to accumulate, by an average
of 4.5% per year, primarily because of natural deaths.
He said the proceeds from the legal ivory trade would be utilised to
support elephant conservation and rural conservation programmes.
He said with regard to the trade in elephant specimens, Namibia has fully
complied with CITES requirements and contributed to the development of a
rigorous trade control system.
“As a result, Namibia successfully exported raw ivory between 1999 and
2008, proving that with adequate controls and strict enforcement measures,
ivory can be traded legally.”
He further stressed that the Namibian elephant population was secure.
“The population recovery over the past several years attests to our
management efforts. Changing times call for appropriate management
strategies to be developed in order to maintain the historic coexistence
between our people and elephants.”
Geingob said Namibia had taken note of the criticism of elephant population
management in Botswana and affirmed its support of the new policies and
programmes on elephant population management and sustainable use, which
have been developed by the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area
(KAZA) partner states.
He continued to say that conservancies manage approximately 19.8% of the
total Namibian surface area.
“By joining large contiguous areas and thereby allowing wildlife to roam
freely, environmental restoration has been achieved and healthy wildlife
He said Namibia?s conservation model has enabled expansion of the elephant
population from just over 7 500 in 1995 to 24 000 at present.
According to him the biggest potential threat to the Namibian elephant
population is the loss of habitat due to cyclical periods of drought.
Another problem area is fragmentation of range and the rising incidence of
“We are aware that these challenges are not unique to Namibia and exist
within all member states. We therefore welcome the developed Elephant
Management and Planning Framework, which will assist partner states to
manage their elephants as one contiguous population through a harmonised
He said that Namibia supports the realization of a shared approach towards
elephant conservation via the KAZA Agreement, thereby, remaining committed
towards a common vision for the management of Southern Africa?s elephants.
Geingob said conservation generated much-needed economic returns for rural
communities. By the end of 2017, community conservation contributed an
estimated N$7 billion to the net national income, facilitating job growth
within local communities.
“With this in mind, Namibia affirms the call for communities to be actively
involved in the protection and conservation of environment and
biodiversity. We further underscore that programmes to promote conservation
of biodiversity must positively impact the standard of living of rural
Geingob further said that the tremendous potential presented by tourism
sector remained largely untapped and brimming with possibilities for
accelerated socio- economic growth and development in the sub-region.
“The conservation and sustainable management of our natural resources
remain key markets in rekindling economic growth and job creation.”
He also said that the free movement of people must be facilitated,
especially to enable Africans who are traveling within Africa.
He called for the easing of movement of people across African borders and
affirmed Namibia?s commitment to implement the KAZA UNIVISA, which has been
successfully piloted in Zambia and Zimbabwe since 2014.