JOHANNESBURG, (Xinhua) --
African countries have the potential to influence
the negotiations at the upcoming World Wildlife Conference,
South African Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa said
South Africa will
support proposals and working documents that promote sustainable
use of natural resources, provided they have a scientific basis
and are aimed at securing the long term conservation of the
species, Molewa said at a press briefing on preparations for the
conference, officially known as the meeting of the 17th
Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the International
Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES
South Africa will
host the conference from September 24 to October 5 in
This will be the
fourth Conference of the Parties to CITES to be held on the
African continent since 1975.
An estimated 3,500
delegates to CITES CoP17 will attend the conference. This not
only includes ministers and government representatives from the
member countries, but also representatives from
inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations, civil
society and other stakeholders, Molewa said.
South Africa is a
founding member of CITES. The Convention was adopted on March 3,
1973, but only came into force on July 1, 1975. Today, 183
Parties are signatory to the Treaty, which has as its aim to
ensure that international trade in specimens of listed wild
animals and plants does not threaten their survival in the wild.
More than 120
documents will be considered during the conference. Among these
documents, 60 are proposals to amend the lists of species
subject to CITES trade controls.
The Conference will
also deliberate on the role of CITES in securing the livelihoods
of people living with wildlife and ensuring communities are
considered in terms of interventions implemented in terms of the
Convention. Other issues to be discussed include the legal and
sustainable wildlife trade, measures to tackle illicit wildlife
trafficking, and enhanced enforcement.
Topics such as
interventions to address the poaching of elephant, the proposed
listing of elephant, lion, rosewood species and sharks, as well
as the illegal trade in rhino horn and pangolin, are probably
the areas that will receive the most attention, according to
Zimbabwe and Namibia have proposed for international trade in
elephant ivory. Other 29 African countries are against the idea.
Swaziland is also lobbying for the legalization of the sale of