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Enviro Talk: Of ivory stockpile to be torched

My last entry that specifically chose to highlight what I considered of great significance and prominence considering the impact it had on the people, attracted instant feedback a fortnight ago. This was a mass that took place at Mua Parish in Dedza last August.

In my editorial judgment — I thought it was something that had great impact — if other congregations decided to follow the same path.

To those not in the know my last entry dwelt on the Roman Catholic Church stand that took both a cultural and religious approach — held a mass of stewardship of the universe.

During the event the Church repeated the divine appeal made by Pope Francis in a letter addressed to its faithful last May which strongly condemned unsustainable resource degradation on planet resources as human population increases.

What kind of impact would you imagine if all apostles, prophets, deacons and reverends decided to dedicate some mass on environment stewardship? What a great impact this would have brought? This was my personnel independent assessment alone when I hatched the idea.

But one Malawian reader named Chris in China had a different thinking altogether.

Well, I responded democracy gives the chance to people including readers to offer dissenting views. I therefore allowed the reader to express his mind. After all we are in a society that offers the platform for free speech amongst ourselves.

In his own judgment the reader suggested it would have been more prudent for me to highlight government failure to burn the ivory stockpiles. These were scheduled to take place at parliament building and another one later at the Mzuzu Nature Sanctuary. All the two planned torching ceremonies were postponed at the eleventh hour.

The reader argues this is one issue that needed to be exposed as a failed bid on our part as a nation to tell the world that we are indeed calling a spade a spade, in as far as saving elephant population is concerned. This would have warned all concerned parties playing monkey tricks with our iconic species that enough is enough. That yawning gates of our penitentiary are wide open to accommodate them.

The failure by government to torch the stockpiles was one of the major issues that needed a straight face if conservation is to be given the priority it deserves as a major drive to the tourism industry. But my reaction was instantaneous to my reader that there was a pending case in court involving a major ivory haul and hence it would be pre-judicial to make comments on the same.

By the way there have been drastic measures taken to address the issue you raised on combating ivory trafficking and this column has actually take time to highlight all these.

In March 2015 German Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development (BMZ) and German Agency for International Co-operation (GIZ) via the Polifund commissioned a technical assessment undertaken on behalf of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife titled the illegal Wildlife Trade Review in Malawi.

The assessment recommended that the Inter Agency Committee to Combat Wildlife Crime (IACCWC) be established focal points and develops communication protocols put in place for the distribution of information to agencies and private organisations not represented on the IACCWC, but still considered important stakeholders in the fight against wildlife crime. Today this is in place as we speak.

Furthermore a National Elephant Action Plan as we speak has been developed that will spell how elephants conservation will be managed in Malawi in the next decades to come.

Finally, as part of our commitment I can remind authorities that the stockpile needs to be torched as there is not ready market for it globally.

Otherwise time is running out!

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