Zimbabwe gears for CITES check

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THE International Wildlife Crime CITES Secretariat will this week hold a seminar in Harare in order to ascertain Zimbabwe’s performance regarding wildlife trade. CITES is an organisation that is administered in Geneva, Switzerland, which works by subjecting international trade in selected wildlife species to certain controls. It regulates imports, exports, re-exports and the introduction of all that is covered by the convention while ensuring that all processes are authorised by a licensing system. Every state which is a signatory to the convention must designate one or more management authorities to administer the licensing system. It also calls for scientific authorities to advise states on the effects of trade on the status of the species. Zimbabwe, which is a member to this convention, is not at the moment allowed to trade in ivory. The country is currently lobbying the CITES secretariat to allow it to trade in ivory. CITES chief of enforcement and compliance John Sellar is expected to jet into the country from Mozambique this week on an assignment. In an interview with The Patriot, Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority public relations manager Caroline Washaya-Moyo said the visit by Sellar follows another by the CITES secretary-general. “The visit by Sellar follows another by the organisation’s secretary-general, Willem Wijnstekers, in 2010,” she said. “The objective of the visit is to hold an international crime seminar for senior Government officials and brief them on the seriousness of illegal trade in wildlife.” She added that the visit would determine Zimbabwe’s performance in terms of the requirements of the CITES secretariat. “Another objective is for the organisation to prepare a report on the situation in Zimbabwe regarding wildlife trade and enforcement,” said Washaya-Moyo. “This is being done ahead of the 61st CITES Standing Committee meeting scheduled for August 4 in Geneva.” Similar meetings, said Washaya-Moyo, were being held in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. “Sellar is conducting various visits on wildlife crime seminars to the CITES parties in the SADC region,” she said.

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