Coordinated policies to combat poaching and the rise in the illegal trade of wildlife have been drawn up for eastern and southern African countries.

The plans were announced by Tanzanian minister of natural resources and tourism Ezekiel Maige at the tenth governing council meeting of parties on the wildlife protection Lusaka Agreement, whose members include Congo, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Uganda, Zambia and Tanzania.

Maige said that the commitment would involve harmonising policies in tourism and wildlife in the region. However some of the countries are greatly at odds on how to best dispose of seized poached ivory.

Kenya proposes a 20-year moratorium on sales of stockpiled ivory, while Tanzania and Zambia are opposed to the ban. Last year Tanzania said that it wished to sell its 90 tonne-ivory stockpile, worth up to $20 million, as well as reduce its elephant population. It argued that it is spending $75,000 annually on security and storage of seized ivory.

The UN ruled in favour of the proposal by countries like Kenya that wanted the stockpiles to be destroyed to discourage poaching.

In July Kenya burnt nearly five tonnes of poached ivory, most of it from Malawi and Zambia, which had been stockpiled for almost a decade.