INTERNATIONAL – Kenya said on Tuesday it supports resolutions reached at the just concluded 18th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Najib Balala, cabinet secretary for tourism and wildlife, said delegates at the CITES took an unequivocal stand for wildlife conservation and protection.
"The majority of the proposals in favor of species conservation were adopted either by consensus or overwhelming majority votes while those seeking to promote trade at the expense of the species conservation were rejected," Balala told journalists in Nairobi.
Delegates called on all parties to give attention to the protection of African elephants and pancake tortoise, besides regulating trade in giraffes, wedge fish and teat fish (Holothuria), he said.
"Our proposal to transfer pancake tortoise from Appendix II to I and to list giraffes, wedge fish and teat fish in Appendix II was overwhelmingly passed," Balala said.
He noted that the conference, which was held in Palexpo Centre, in Geneva, Switzerland, defeated a joint proposal by the South African Development Community to trade in their ivory stockpiles.
Balala said the defeat was led by Kenya with support from African Elephant Coalition, the European Union (EU), the U.S, Latin American, Caribbean States and other like-minded countries.
"The defeat means that the international trade bans in ivory continue to remain in place," he said. A joint proposal by Kenya and members of the African Elephant Coalition to close ivory markets received general support of the parties, Balala said.
Kenya supports the introduction of new rules requiring countries that still have domestic ivory markets to report to CITES on a regular basis and eventually leading to the closure of the markets, he said.
"We are ready to support the agreement on the engagement of rural communities in CITES processes and how issues of CITES and livelihoods should be considered under the CITES framework," Balala said.
Kenya also supports the enhancement of law enforcement to protect species such as the pangolin and cheetah, whose populations continue to decline as a result of illegal wildlife trade, he said.
Balala said Kenya will ensure that its obligations to CITES conventions and other wildlife-related multilateral environmental agreements are met.