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June 5 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm


The 2024 Heads of State Summit for the Kavango-Zambezi Trans-Frontier Conservation Area (KAZA-TFCA) held in Livingstone, Zambia, saw member states reiterating their calls to withdraw from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).  

This move came amidst challenges faced by southern African countries in trading their abundant ivory and other wildlife products due to CITES restrictions. 


Key Issues Discussed at the 2024 Summit: 

The KAZA-TFCA Initiative: 

  • Spans across five southern African nations along the Okavango and Zambezi river basins. 
  • Represents about 70% of KAZA land under conservation, housing over two-thirds of Africa’s elephant population. 

Historical Dispute with CITES: 

  • Southern African countries advocate legalizing ivory trade for conservation funding. 
  • Proposal rejected at the 2022 Conference of Parties in Panama. 

Delegates’ Concerns: 

  • Emphasized economic drawbacks of CITES restrictions, citing losses in conservation funding and economic potential. 
  • Criticized CITES decisions as driven by populism rather than scientific evidence. 

Proposed Measures: 

  • Renewed appeals to exit CITES, seeking autonomy in handling wildlife resources. 
  • Exploration of alternative markets, particularly in the East, due to restrictions on trophy hunting imports. 

Causes of Wildlife Product Trade: 

Organized Commercial Illegal Sourcing: 

  • Involvement of organized crime in poaching and trafficking, exploiting power dynamics and money laundering avenues. 

Black Markets Creating New Demands: 

  • Scarcity-driven illegal markets emerging for rare and endangered species trophies. 

Supplementary Livelihoods and Opportunism: 

  • Participation of poor individuals seeking additional income. 


  • Undermines efforts to combat wildlife trafficking, with corruption prevalent at various levels. 

Cultural Roots of Poaching: 

  • Cultural significance of wildlife products, such as elephant hunting symbolizing courage and masculinity. 

Measures to Tackle Wildlife Crime: 

Banning Illegal Wildlife Products: 

  • Legislation to make possession or trade of illegally obtained wildlife goods illegal. 

Effective Funding for Wildlife Protection: 

  • Direct funds to support wildlife protection agencies like park rangers and anti-poaching teams. 

Public Awareness and Empowerment: 

  • Educating people on wildlife conservation and its importance to reduce demand for illegal products. 

Ivory Specific Measures: 

  • Independent scientific review to assess sustainability of potential ivory trade. 
  • Collaboration on alternative income sources like ecotourism and carbon offset programs. 

Best Practice Examples: 

  • Successful campaigns and legislative reforms by organizations like TRAFFIC and WWF in Thailand and China. 
  • Destruction of ivory stockpiles to prevent their return to the black market, as seen in Gabon, Congo, and the USA. 

Legal Frameworks for Wildlife Conservation: 

Global Conservation Efforts: 

  • Involvement in international conventions like CITES, CMS, CBD, and participation in organizations like TRAFFIC and IUCN. 

Legal Framework in India: 

  • Legislation such as the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, the Environment Protection Act, 1986, and the Biological Diversity Act, 2002. 


The challenges faced by southern African countries in trading wildlife products underscore the complexities of balancing conservation with economic interests. Effective measures to combat wildlife crime require international cooperation, legislative reforms, and public awareness campaigns to ensure the protection of endangered species and their habitats. 

Mains Question: 

  1. Discuss the implications of southern African countries’ calls to withdraw from CITES on wildlife conservation efforts and international cooperation in combating wildlife crime. (150 WORDS)


June 5
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
Event Category:
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