Kenya: President Uhuru Calls for Ivory Trade Ban
BY JOHN MUCHANGI, The Star
27 JUNE 2014
President Uhuru Kenyatta has asked the United Nations to initiate measures to reduce global demand for illegal ivory. He said Kenya and other African countries cannot effectively combat poaching as long as the external demand is high.
"Global demand is strong enough, and the poachers ruthless enough, to require a joint effort if our security and heritage are to be preserved," Uhuru said.He was speaking during the official opening of the United Nations Environmental Assembly in Nairobi yesterday.
The forum discussed ways to curb poaching and illegal trade in wildlife. Uhuru called for the development of organisations to help improve the lives of people living near national parks.
"I trust that the prosperity and livelihoods of the communities living close to wildlife reserves will receive urgent attention globally,"he said. An Interpol report released earlier at the meeting largely blamed criminal groups in East and Central Africa for rampant poaching of elephants and rhinos.
Kenya has lost 97 elephants and 59 rhinos to poachers this year, mostly in private conservancies.The United Nations Environmental Programme said the more than 100 ministers attending the high-level meeting will recommend a coordinated global effort to reduce poaching.
"Participants might consider the options of addressing illegal trade in wildlife during the next session of the UN General Assembly, for example through a resolution," Unep said in a statement. Uhuru welcomed the upgrading of Unep as the premier global organisation for environmental matters.
He said Kenya will follow a sustainable development path in its efforts to be a middle-income country by 2030. "That is why my government is taking concrete steps towards a green economy. We have an ambitious programme to revamp our five national water towers and tree planting in the entire country,"Uhuru said.