In the agreement that it concluded with Namibia to allow cheetahs to fly, India agreed to promote “sustainable use and conservation of diversity” by assisting with advances in this field of bilateral collaboration “at international forums, including meetings in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna” (CITES).
While the term “ivory” is not spoken of, Namibia has already sought India’s approval, in line with the agreement to support “sustainable management” at the CITES, for its longstanding idea to allow the trade of ivory by elephants of Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.
The issue will be put to vote again in November. If India is in favor of this decision, it will mark an unanticipated shift in the policy, considering that it has supported an absolute prohibition of ivory trade since the 1980s.
If the agreement will assure Namibia of India’s backing in lifting the ivory trade ban during the 19th session of the CITES Conference of the Parties (CoP19) scheduled for Panama in the coming month, the Indian CITES administration authorities S P Yadav said: “We are working to determine the position that is being made by India’s Government of India.”
The Namibian part is more specific. “It will be great for Namibia, if Namibia and the other range countries are allowed to sell their ivory stocks. We have asked India to help us in this respect in accordance with the clause of this agreement. With another country backing us, it improves the chances of success in our plan,” Romeo Muyunda, the chief public relations officer for Namibia’s Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, spoke to The Indian Express.
On the 20th of July, Environmental Minister Bhupender Yadav signed the agreement regarding “Wildlife Conservation as well as Sustainable Biodiversity Utilization” with Namibia’s Vice-Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah to help bring back cheetahs.
The agreement was described by Minister Yadav as “historic” as “historic” by Minister Yadav the deal was not released by neither government.
A government official who was involved in the negotiation process, stated that “the animal was constantly present” from when we were at the “very beginning of the discussions” regarding the cheetahs.
“The drafting process took time, and a direct reference to Namibia was not made to keep the discussion in the open. Namibia’s proposal was defeated 4 to 1 in the year 2019. Both sides are aware that a similar outcome this time would render India’s vote meaningless,” he said.
Namibia and the three other southern Africa countries The three countries of southern Africa – Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe They argue that their populations of elephants have rebounded and their accumulated ivory is, if it’s sold internationally could generate much-needed revenues for conservation of elephants and also incentivize communities.
People who oppose the trade in ivory argue argue that any supply fuels demand. They also claim that sharp spikes in poaching for elephants have been observed all over the world following the single-off sales permitted by CITES in the years 1999 and 2008.
The trade in ivory was banned worldwide in 1989, and the entire African population of elephants were included into CITES Appendix I. Populations of Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe were moved onto Appendix II as of 1997 as well as South Africa’s population was added in 2000. Trade is not permitted in the species that are listed within CITES Appendix I, while trade is strictly controlled in Appendix II.
Between 1999 and 2008 Namibia as well as Zimbabwe and later Botswana as well as South Africa, was permitted by CITES to hold one-off sales of ivory due to natural elephant deaths as well as confiscations from poachers.
The Namibian proposal of permitting a regularized kind of controlled ivory trade by removing the elephant population from the other four nations of CITES Appendix I was deferred at co-presidential meeting (2016) in 2016 and at the CoP18 (2019). It will be up for another vote during CoP19 in the next month. CoP19 next month.
India has been opposed to lifting the ban on international ivory trade, despite having an ivory inventory of between 20-30,000 kg valued at more than $250 million which is kept with forests departments of different states.
Conservationist Vivek Menon, who has been a part of several Indian representatives to CITES in the 1990s and said “For more than 30 years India is a staunch opponent of international trade in ivory. Actually, India and Kenya together have backed the proposal of CoP12 (2002) in order to place Southern African elephants back into Appendix I. Whatever commitments that might be taken, I expect India to remain steadfast in its opposition to ivory trade.”
Raman Sukumar, elephant expert and an active member of the National Board for Wildlife, stated, “If true, it will be a significant change in the sense that India has been a proponent of a complete prohibition on exports for any African ivory from the late 1990s. But, it’s not unusual to me that the Southern Africa countries, with enormous populations of elephants are keen to gain economic benefits from the large quantities of ivory derived from deceased elephants.”
It has been learned that the main areas of cooperation under the agreement between India and Namibia are:
Conservation of biodiversity, with a special concentration on rehabilitating cheetahs’ former ranges through sharing knowledge and capabilities.
Conservation of wildlife and sustainable exploitation of biodiversity by sharing best techniques in the field of technological applications, methods of living-wage generation in local populations, and the sustainable conservation of biodiversity. Help advance these areas in international forums, including the meetings with members of the CITES.
Collaboration on issues that deal with climate change, environmental governance, waste management, and pollution.
Learn Namibian employees in the use of smart patrols and estimation of population techniques. assist with monitoring and surveillance equipment.
Two seats available for Namibia on the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun.
Legally binding for each party, the agreement for five years is automatically renewed for successive five-year intervals unless ended by either party with the issue of a notice of six months. The agreement is able to be modified in a mutual manner by giving a three-month notice.
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