October 29, 2019
SADC ministers responsible for the environment, natural resources and tourism have reservations over the continued capture of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) by Western-funded civic organisations and the politicisation of global wildlife trade.
The just-concluded SADC Joint Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Environment, Natural Resources, and Tourism, which took place from the 21-25 October 2019 in Arusha, Tanzania gave the regional bloc a platform to formulate strategies that ensure sustainable tourism development and, most importantly, to come up with a common response to the recent move by CITES to maintain the global ban on ivory trade and other wildlife species.
Head of the Zimbabwean team to the meeting, Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Acting Minister, Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu described the meeting as a success given the consensus by the regional bloc to express displeasure at the recent CITES decision on elephants, rhinos and giraffes.
“We just had successful discussions here in Tanzania. As SADC, we felt hard done by the outcomes of CITES and the general manner in which we were treated as SADC. We agreed, as a region, that we will deposit reservations on the manner in which we are being treated,” he revealed.
Meanwhile, Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Permanent Secretary, Munesu Munodawafa highlighted a general displeasure among the SADC countries on the continued capture of CITES and manipulation of information by western funded animal rights activists.
“There is a consensus that we cannot let CITES carry on being hijacked by a small group of non-governmental organisations that want to swing the direction of an institution that is supposed to be run by governments,” he said.
The ministers responsible for Environment, Natural Resources, and Tourism meeting also approved the SADC Tourism Programme 2020-2030 and expressed confidence that it will guide the development of the sustainable tourism industry in the region.