Zimbabwe together with other African countries is set to use the African Elephant Conservation Conference to be held in Hwange from 23 to 26 May 2022 to lobby for the lifting of the ban on ivory trade.
Addressing the 13th Post Cabinet briefing yesterday in the capital, the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Senator Monica Mutsvangwa, informed that the conference would discuss and prepare for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) 19th Conference of Parties (COP 19) scheduled for November 2022 in Panam.
“The African Elephant Conference will also provide technical scientific research on African elephant conservation and management as well as assess the successes and failures recorded in that regard. Furthermore, the Conference will galvanize support on measures to improve African Elephant conservation in Southern Africa and agree on a framework for wildlife management,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
The Minister informed that a total of 150 participants were expected to attend the event and these would include responsible Ministers from 16 Southern, Central, Eastern and Western African countries; diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe and Non-State Actors such as the CAMPFIRE Association, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation.
According to Minister Mutsvangwa, the key output of the Conference will be a Ministerial Declaration on African Elephant Conservation in Africa that is to be referred to as the Hwange Elephant Declaration.
Minister Mutsvangwa added that the outcome of the African Elephant Conference should be mutually beneficial to all parties, including communities, wildlife, the environment and Government.
Minister Mutsvangwa further said Government acknowledged that the CITES COP 19 was critical in the country’s wildlife conservation and management programmes, especially that of elephants and stockpiled products.
Meanwhile, Minister Mutsvangwa said that there was need to look objectively into the issue of trade in elephant products as well as human-wildlife conflict issues in affected communities.