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CITES COP-11
Photos and RealAudio of 15 April
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On Saturday, committees met throughout the day. Committee I reviewed proposals for amendment of Appendices. Committee II considered diagnostic samples, amendments to resolution 8.15 and cosmetics containing caviar. The Budget Committee considered a proposed 2001-2002 budget.


Committee I: PROPOSALS TO DOWNLIST WHALES
JAPAN introduced proposals to downlist from Appendix I to Appendix II the Eastern North Pacific stock of the Gray Whale (Prop. 11.15), the Southern Hemisphere stock of the Minke Whale (Prop. 11.16), and the Okhotsk Sea-West Pacific stock of the Minke Whale (Prop. 11.17). He remarked that: none of these stocks meet criteria for Appendix I listing; import controls prevent illegal trade; and there is no evidence of illegal trade in whale products.

Willem Wijnstekers, CITES Secretary-General (left), expressed his fears that the divisive political discussion found in IWC be exported to CITES, and gave technical reasons why the delisting proposals conflict with past CITES resolutions

FIJI was among several delegations that expressed their support for International Whaling Commission's primacy, and opposed downlisting any species subject to the IWC moratorium.
Regarding the Gray Whale, the US said the Western stock is endangered, and that downlisting the Eastern North Pacific stock would result in a split listing and further endanger the Western stock.
ANTIGUA and BARBUDA supported the downlisting proposals, citing concerns over food security

Explaining his opposition to the Japanese proposals, AUSTRALIA acknowledged IWC efforts to establish an appropriate management regime, but stressed that no such scheme exists yet. He underscored non-consumptive uses of whales such as tourism, and questioned the numbers put forward by Japan.

RealAudio:
First excerpt
  Second excerpt

ICELAND supported Japan's proposals and said scientific criteria should be the determinant. He stated that sustainable development does not exclude the rational harvest of non-endangered stocks

IUCN underscored the factual integrity of its analysis of global whale stocks, which was questioned by Japan.
Delegate of Suriname seeking clarification from the Japanese delegation.
Michael Canny, Chairman of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), underscored that a management scheme must be developed before commercial whaling can resume.
Delegation of Japan eagerly waiting the results of the vote on its first proposal (Prop. 11.15) Delegates rejected the all three Japanese proposals by a secret ballot vote. Vote results available below.
 
SURINAME proposed an amendment to Japan's proposal to transfer the stock to Appendix II maintaining a zero quota until COP-12, assuming that the IWC will have taken a decision on its revised management system by then and will have set a quota that could be applicable to CITES. Several delegations noted points of order with Suriname's amendment, as the Japanese proposal had been defeated. Some felt consideration of the amendment violated the rules of procedure, and sought clarity on what would happen if the IWC has not made a decision by COP-12. SURINAME requested a secret ballot vote and the proposal was rejected.
NORWAY introduced its proposal to downlist the Northeast Atlantic and the North Atlantic Central stocks of the Minke Whale (Prop. 11.18). He highlighted domestic monitoring mechanisms, including DNA testing. He underscored that an ecosystem approach should include human needs.
BALLOT RESULTS:
  Proposal
(see above for descriptions)
  11.15 11.16 Suriname 11.17 11.18              
For: 40 46 47 49 52  
Against: 63 69 66 67 57  
Abstentions: 6 4 5 3 9  
Spoiled: * 4 4 2 2  
Total votes: 109 123 122 121 120  
Proposal: rejected rejected rejected rejected rejected  
Under the Rule of Procedure, a two-thirds majority is required to carry a proposal.
* Spoiled ballots were neither reported nor counted in the first vote.
Above: delegates lining up to cast their ballots, under the watchful eye of the Secretariat

IN THE BREEZEWAYS
Attempts to relax CITES regulations on the issuance of permits for cross-border transfers of diagnostic samples, including cell culture and serum, with the expressed intent of conservation, was torpedoed by many delegates and observers. Some delegates said that the strongest proponents also host the world's leading pharmaceutical agencies, and speculate the increased demand for blood from the African Chimpanzee, following scientific findings that they may harbor the origin of the HIV/AIDS virus, may explain the urgency in resolving this old CITES issue. Participants conceded that the proposal covers samples for medical commercial uses as well, thus relaxing the rules within CITES may provide a loophole needed to circumvent CBD provisions on access and benefit sharing of genetic materials. While many acknowledged the problem, they say a solution is evasive and unlikely to be resolved without CBD cooperation.

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