Environmental organizations and nations have reached the agreement to scrap domestic ivory trade in their respective countries.
The resolution to ban domestic ivory trade was reached despite countries like Japan and South Africa objecting to the decision.
The summit was characterized by walkouts, political manipulations as countries differed in agreements. Ultimately, the delegates at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) congress in Hawaii agreed to close ivory trade in their countries as it was “a matter of urgency”.
International trade in ivory has been banned since 1989, but some countries still permit the sales of ivories within their borders.
Although the agreement is not legally binding, the countries will be expected to place a ban on ivory trade in their respective countries.
Cristian Samper, chief executive of the Wildlife Conservation Society, said:
“The shutting down of domestic ivory markets will send a clear signal to traffickers and organized criminal syndicates that ivory is worthless and will no longer support their criminal activities causing security problems in local communities and wiping out wildlife.”
“The movement behind Africa’s elephants gives us all hope and will ensure that the elephant will continue to be a vital part of Africa’s magnificent natural heritage.”
Although most of the 217 countries in attendance agreed on the domestic ban resolution, countries like Namibia, Japan, and South Africa argued that ivory trade should be checked rather than banned altogether. On the contrary, countries like Uganda, Cameroon, and Kenya strongly supported the ban. 1,000 conservation organizations who are also members of the IUCN also supported the ban.
The 17th meeting on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) will hold in Johannesburg, South Africa later this month.
Andrew Wetzler, deputy chief program officer at the Natural Resources Defense Council, who described the resolution as “a landmark moment, and a victory for elephants” said he hoped the CITES meeting would strengthen their commitment to put an end to ivory trade.