Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Ghana and Kenya opposed the UN proposal to allow China to import ivory from Africa

By China Watcher

Even the three pro-Western African nations failed to stop the UN panel from giving the right to China on Tuesday to import African elephant ivory from the huge reserves under strict conditions.

China’s steadfast and systematic improvement in its enforcement of ivory regulations had won over the majority of the votes at the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Geneva. Surprisingly, the European Community including Britain and Japan voted in favor of China but not the three African countries namely Ghana, Mali and Kenya. Australia and New Zealand, with its strong environmentalist background, as expected voted against the move.

Conservationists and right groups obviously were not happy by calling it a wrong decision.

Ivory trade was banned globally in 1989, but controlled trade was approved at a CITES meeting in 2002 and then modified to include new conditions at a meeting in 2007.

At the 2007 meeting, CITES also authorized four southern African countries - Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe -to make a one-off sale of 108 tons of registered ivory stocks.

Previously Japan was the only country that have won right from CITES to import ivory from Africa.

China and Japan would now have to bid in a one-off auction of ivory stockpiles from the four southern African countries. The auction was to be held later this year.

Due to the consistent opposition of the three mentioned African states toward China not only in this case but over a few instances in the past few years, it gives me great pleasure to place these three African countries under Tier 2 and not Tier 1 in the list of friendly nations to China.

We hope China, as an economic power, can use this list as a reference when it makes a decision to invest in African countries and promote its most favored trade activities with “friendly” nations.

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