TOURISM and Arts Minister Ronald Chitotela has said Government will keep lobbying through cooperating partners to convince the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) for Zambia to offload the ivory stockpile at Chilanga.
The Minister said keeping the more than 40 tonnes of ivory for unknown future has become expensive as some of the ivory dates back to more than 40 years ago.
Speaking during a meeting with the new German Ambassador Dr. Anne Wagner Mitchell, the Minister said the communities that are supposed to benefits from the resource are not instead, the stockpile has created a ‘cost centre’ as Government has to employ highest level of security which has become an expensive venture.
The policy maker there is need to offload the ivory and invest back in conservation to the benefit of the various communities around the country.
Hon. Chitotela said the trade restrictions in disposing the ivory have taken a negative toll on the country and Zambia is like being told to ‘guard the stock in perpetuity’ with no benefits.
And Ambassador Mitchell said she needs to learn more about the various intricacies regarding tourism sector in Zambia considering that she new to the country.
The envoy however stressed the need for communities to be brought close to all conservation initiative by making them beneficiaries.