Namibia wants free and fair wildlife trade

16 March 2021 | Environment

ELLANIE SMIT



WINDHOEK

A documentary exploring external factors interfering with government’s successful wildlife management strategies will soon be launched.

The series, titled ‘Balance’, follows several southern African politicians, conservationists and environmentalists battling out their countries' rights at the 18th meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and will be launched on the Love Namibia, Love Nature YouTube page.

At this meeting, the international trade in elephant ivory was rejected.

Scenes in the documentary portray dissatisfaction, dismay and shock at the concluding statements delivered at the convention. It also depicts determination by Namibian conservationists who pleaded to CITES to allow them to trade and conserve wildlife fairly and freely.

A teaser was screened last week at a gathering in Windhoek - hosted by the environment ministry, the Namibia Nature Foundation and the Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre - in honour of International Wildlife Day.

An exclusive discussion and network gathering were held as well. The documentary was funded by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit.

‘Failed to understand’

“The CITES policies and imposed restrictions interferingly work against Namibia and several other southern African countries’ long-term strategic plans for wildlife management, and as an active attendee, we observed that the steering committees failed to understand the success of the country’s world-renowned conservation efforts and continuously fail to do so,” said environment minister Pohamba Shifeta.

Proclaimed by the United Nations general assembly on 3 March, International Wildlife Day is celebrated every year to raise awareness on the benefits of the world’s diverse wild fauna and flora. This year’s theme, ‘Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet’, highlights the central role of forests, forest species and ecosystems services in sustaining the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people globally, and particularly of indigenous and local communities with historic ties to forested and forest-adjacent areas.

‘The Last Free Rhinos’

At last week’s event, an open dialogue was employed to engage invited guests to start conversations on the efforts made by the environment ministry and what other avenues it can explore to strengthen partnerships with similar objective-driven organisations in wildlife management.

The programme also included a showcase of a four-part docuseries called ‘The Last Free Rhinos’. Particular focus was placed on the last episode, ‘The Government for Change’, which follows the environment ministry’s efforts and work with other government institutions, communities, support organisations, non-governmental organisations, and the private sector.

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