Namibia bans ivory trade

Namibia will impose a ban on all trade in “worked ivory” from next month in a bid to assert its control and abide by international regulations on endangered species, an official said on Wednesday.

“We have to strengthen control measures in ivory trade to abide by provisions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species [Cites], which requires specific legislation,” Kalumbi Shangula told reporters.

“And until that is in place, dealing in ivory products ... will be prohibited,” said Shangula, a permanent secretary in the environment and tourism industry.

The temporary ban includes sale of ivory jewellery until a new law is in place to control such trade, Shangula said.

“The temporary moratorium will start on September 1 until the Controlled Wildlife Products Bill is enacted,” he said, adding that the Bill is expected to be tabled in Parliament in September.

Back in 2004, Cites recognised traditional carved ornamental ivory products called ekipas, worn by women of the Oukwanyama ethnic group in northern Namibia, as cultural objects. They were allowed to be sold within the country as personal effects.

The planned ban also affects ekipas, Shangula said.

Windhoek jeweller Horst Knop welcomed the move but said jewellers and goldsmiths will lose income.

“This is a very short notice, just 11 days before the ban comes into effect, but in principle it is a good thing, although we cannot sell ivory jewellery already on our shelves for a while,” he said.—Sapa-AFP

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