Earth Negotiations Bulletin

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A Reporting Service for Environment and Development Negotiations

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Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

Vol. 21 No. 32
Monday, 25 August 2003

SUMMARY OF THE 19TH MEETING OF THE CITES ANIMALS COMMITTEE:

18-21 AUGUST 2003

The 19th meeting of the Animals Committee (AC-19) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) convened from 18-21 August 2003, in Geneva, Switzerland. The meeting drew together 130 participants representing governments, intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Delegates at AC-19 discussed 22 agenda items in Plenary on a range of topics including, inter alia: strategic planning; review of significant trade (RST) in specimens of Appendix II species; review of criteria for amendment of Appendices I and II; periodic review of animal species included in the Appendices; transport of live animals; conservation of and trade in tortoises and freshwater turtles; seahorses; sea cucumbers; sharks; hard corals; and trade in alien species.

In addition, 12 working groups were formed to address: review of the criteria for amendment of Appendices I and II; relationship between ex situ production and in situ conservation; control of captive breeding, ranching and wild harvest production systems for Appendix II species; process for registering operations; review of significant trade in specimens of Appendix II species; transport of live animals; trade in tortoises and freshwater turtles; seahorses; queen conch; sea cucumbers; hard corals; and sharks.

Despite time constraints and a heavy agenda the AC managed to get through its work. Many issues will be further considered intersessionally with the results being presented at AC-20 in 2004.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF CITES

CITES came into being as a response to growing concerns that over-exploitation of wildlife through international trade was contributing to the rapid decline of many species of plants and animals around the world. The Convention was signed by representatives from 80 countries in Washington, D.C., US, on 3 March 1973, and entered into force on 1 July 1975. There are currently 163 Parties to the Convention.

The Conventionís aim is to ensure that the international trade of wild animal and plant species does not threaten their survival. Parties to CITES regulate wildlife trade through controls and regulations on species listed in three Appendices. Appendix I lists species endangered due to international trade. Trade of such species is permitted only in exceptional circumstances. Species listed in Appendix II require strictly regulated trade based on quotas and permits to prevent their unsustainable use, and controls aimed at maintaining ecosystems and preventing species from becoming eligible for Appendix I. Appendix III species are subject to domestic regulation by a Party that requests the cooperation of other Parties to control international trade in that species. In order to list a species, a Party needs to submit a proposal for approval by the Conference of the Parties (COP), with scientific and biological data on population and trade trends. The proposal must be supported by a two-thirds majority vote of Parties present at a COP. As the trade impact on a species increases or decreases, the COP decides whether or not the species should be shifted between or removed from the Appendices. There are approximately 5,000 fauna species and 25,000 flora species protected under the three CITES Appendices.

CITES also regulates international trade of species through a system of permits and certificates that are required before specimens enter or leave a country. Each Party is required to adopt national legislation and to designate a Management Authority responsible for issuing these permits and certificates based on the advice of a designated Scientific Authority. These two national authorities also assist with CITES enforcement through cooperation with customs, police, or other appropriate agencies. Parties maintain trade records that are forwarded annually to the CITES Secretariat, the sum of which enables the Secretariat to compile statistical information on the world volume of trade in Appendix species.

The operational bodies of CITES include its Standing Committee (SC), as well as scientific advisory committees: the Animals Committee (AC) and the Plants Committee (PC); and their subcommittees, the Nomenclature Committee (NC) and the Identification Manual Committee. As scientific and technical support bodies, the role of both the AC and PC is to: undertake periodic reviews of species to ensure appropriate categorization in the CITES Appendices; advise when certain species are subject to unsustainable trade, and recommend action; and draft resolutions on animal and plant matters for consideration by the Parties.

The Animals Committee consists of 10 members representing six regions. CITES Parties attend as observers. The regional representatives are: Michael Griffin (Namibia) and Edson Chidziya (Zimbabwe) for Africa; Mohammad Pourkazemi (Iran) and Choo-Hoo Giam (Singapore) for Asia; Sixto InchŠustegui (Dominican Republic) and Marco Polo Micheletti (Honduras) for Central and South America and the Caribbean; Katalin Rodics (Hungary) and Thomas Althaus (Switzerland) for Europe; and Rodrigo MedellŪn (Mexico) for North America; and Rod Hay (New Zealand) for Oceania.

SIXTEENTH MEETING OF THE ANIMALS COMMITTEE: AC-16 convened from 11-15 December 2000, in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, US. The Committee addressed, inter alia: transport of live animals; trade in hard corals; traditional medicines; captive breeding and ranching; conservation of seahorses; labeling of caviar; status of sharks; trade in sturgeon, cobra and musk deer; review of animal taxa in Appendices; and time-sensitive research samples.

SEVENTEENTH MEETING OF THE ANIMALS COMMITTEE: AC-17 was held from 30 July-3 August 2001, in Hanoi, Vietnam. Participants addressed: definition of the term "critically endangered in the wild"; control of captive breeding, ranching and wild harvest production systems for Appendix II species; trade in freshwater turtles and tortoises; sturgeons; and review of animal taxa.

EIGHTEENTH MEETING OF THE ANIMALS COMMITTEE: Held 8-12 April 2002, in San Josť, Costa Rica, AC-18 considered a number of items, including: implementation and review of Resolution Conf. 8.9 (Rev.) on review of significant trade; periodic review of animal taxa; registering and monitoring operations breeding Appendix I species for commercial purposes; trade in traditional medicines; transport of live animals; trade in hard corals; caviar labeling; trade in Black Sea bottlenose dolphin, tortoises and freshwater turtles in Southeast Asia, and in alien species; control of captive breeding, ranching and wild harvest production systems; seahorses; sharks; and sturgeons.

TWELFTH MEETING OF THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES (COP-12) TO CITES: COP-12 convened from 3-15 November 2002, in Santiago, Chile. Delegates considered 60 proposals and over 60 resolutions on a range of topics, including, inter alia, strategic and administrative matters, implementation of the Convention, and consideration of proposals for amendment of Appendices I and II. This included the listing of seahorses, basking and whale sharks and Bigleaf mahogany in Appendix II, and rejection of the proposals to downlist populations of Minke and Brydeís whales from Appendix I to Appendix II. A proposal for an Appendix I listing for all African elephant populations was withdrawn. Instead, the COP decided to allow three African nations Ė Botswana, Namibia and South Africa Ė to sell a limited and strictly controlled amount of their registered ivory.

REPORT OF THE MEETING

On Monday morning, 18 August, CITES Secretary-General Willen Wijnstekers welcomed delegates and congratulated Thomas Althaus (Switzerland) on his recent election as AC Chair. Noting the heavy AC workload and time constraints, he hoped that delegates would focus on priorities.

AC Chair Althaus stressed that the AC is not a small COP, but a scientific body, which contributes to CITES by providing sound biological data. He drew attention to issues of common interest to both the AC and the PC, and commended the PCís work on the review of the criteria for amendment of the Appendices, including the selection of taxa for the criteriaís assessment.

Chair Althaus introduced, and participants adopted, the Rules of Procedure (AC19 Doc. 2), with amendments, including the need to: submit documents to the Secretariat for AC consideration 60 days before a meeting; distribute printed documents 45 days before a meeting; prepare a summary record 60 days after a meeting; and allow IGOs to attend closed sessions. The meetingís agenda (AC19 Doc. 3.1 (Rev.6)) was also adopted as amended to address trade with non-Party States and a progress report on the identification manual. It was agreed that standard taxonomy and nomenclature be discussed by the Nomenclature Committee. Delegates then adopted the meetingís working programme (AC19 Doc. 3.2 (Rev.1)) and admission of observers (AC19 Doc. 4), which included three IGOs and 42 NGOs.

STRATEGIC PLANNING

On Monday, 18 August, delegates considered documents on: the implementation of the Strategic Vision through to 2005 (AC19 Doc. 6.1), which supports, inter alia, the need to facilitate communication between Scientific Authorities, and to develop a database of sample CITES permits and a directory of species experts; resolutions and decisions directed or related to the AC (AC19 Doc. 6.2); and the establishment of AC priorities (AC19 Doc. 6.3), which included written comments made by the AC Chair. Chair Althaus said that the document on priorities is a "rough" working programme for the AC until COP-13. Delegates then commented on the listed priorities.

Regarding currently unlisted species, Chair Althaus stated that due to budgetary and time constraints, the AC should focus on species already listed in the Appendices. A regional representative for Asia said that CITES should not deal with non-CITES species, including those heavily traded. Regional representatives for Oceania and Europe, the Netherlands, the US, and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) International, disagreed, noting that it is more strategic to work on some non-CITES species to avoid potential listings. PC Chair Margarita Clemente (Spain) suggested looking at heavily traded non-CITES species, highlighting the PCís work on the non-CITES species Harpagophytum Spp. (Devilís Claw).

On standardized units of measure for permits, trade analysis and reporting for identified commodities, Spain stressed the importance of developing standardized units, while the Netherlands stated that this work should be given to a more technical body.

On the identification of available technologies to assist implementing the Action Plan, Chair Althausí comments stated that this issue falls outside the ACís biological expertise. Israel and Spain said that the AC should continue to deal with this.

Regarding registering breeding operations of Appendix I species for commercial purposes, and examining the relationship between ex situ breeding operations and in situ conservation, Chair Althaus, supported by Israel and the US, said that the registration of breeding operations is a strong implementation component, whereas examining the relationship between ex situ breeding operations and in situ conservation has less of an impact on CITES implementation. Spain stated that both issues should be dealt with together, while Mexico and WWF International stressed the importance of continuing work on the relationship between ex situ breeding and in situ conservation.

On species loss during catching, storage and transportation of live animals, several delegates, including Israel, the Republic of Korea, a regional representative for Europe, and the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), stressed the need to look at mortality rates while animals are caught and stored. CITES Secretary-General Wijnstekers noted that the issue of catching animals falls outside the scope of the Convention.

Regarding regional directories of experts in CITES-listed species, Chair Althausí comments state that it is a specific task for regional representatives. A regional representative for Europe stated that regional directories are important for Eastern and Central European countries that often lack species experts. PC Chair Clemente said the PC has already completed its regional directories. Delegates agreed that regional AC representatives contact Parties in their region to establish a list of scientific experts in their management and scientific authorities.

REPORT ON THE 49TH MEETING OF THE STANDING COMMITTEE

WORKING GROUP ON TECHNICAL IMPLEMENTATION ISSUES: On Monday, 18 August, the Secretariat introduced a document on the SCís working group on technical implementation issues (AC19 Doc. 7.1), noting that the AC and PC should develop recommendations on how to assist the SC in providing advice on technical implementation. The US said that the AC and PC should submit items previously dealt with, which are difficult or considered primarily scientific. He noted that a more formal consultative process will commence soon and the working groupís Chair will contact the AC and PC Chairs.

Participants then discussed ways of compiling a list of relevant issues for the SCís working group. PC Chair Clemente explained that the PC established a group, with Switzerland as a focal point, which will forward ideas to her. The regional representative for Oceania and the Netherlands suggested nominating a participant to act as a focal point. The Committee agreed to establish a contact group, with the US as the focal point for collecting suggestions.

EXPORT QUOTA WORKING GROUP: On Monday, 18 August, the Secretariat introduced the document on the SCís export quota working group (AC19 Doc. 7.2), created to develop guidelines for Parties to establish, implement, monitor and report on national export quotas for CITES-listed taxa. Mexico and the US noted that the group does not deal with scientific aspects of export quotas. Delegates agreed to the PCís decision to comment on the working groupís reports and requested to be informed of its progress.

PERIODIC REVIEW OF ANIMAL SPECIES INCLUDED IN THE APPENDICES

On Monday, 18 August, the Secretariat introduced the document directing the AC to periodically review animal species included in the Appendices (AC19 Doc. 10). He said that greater involvement of range States is needed to reach clear recommendations. He added that the COP requested the AC and PC to share their review experiences, and to establish a schedule for the review and a species selection system.

PC Chair Clemente stressed the usefulness of common guidelines for conducting the review, including the selection of species, and said that three PC members were selected to participate in an intersessional contact group on the review of the Appendices. The US, AC intersessional contact group Chair on Review of the Appendices, introduced a document that presents recent reviews of the Appendices (AC19 Doc. 10.1). He proposed that no reviews be conducted until a new resolution for amendment of Appendices I and II is adopted at COP-13, but that the AC and PC continue to work on the development of common guidelines for the review of the Appendices, selection of species for review, and the preparation of a review schedule.

Mexico highlighted the need to finish the pending review. The US stressed the need to develop a rapid assessment technique for the review of animal taxa. Chair Althaus noted, and delegates agreed, that: the species review would stop until the criteria review is finalized at COP-13; the intersessional contact group continue its work and report to the next AC and PC; and there is a need to further involve range States.

He then introduced a document on the review of crocodile ranching operations (AC19 Inf. 3), an addendum to the Appendices review. The IUCN Species Survival Commission (IUCN/SSC) Crocodile Specialist Group said that it compiled a list of crocodile ranching operations and incorporated them in the periodic review. Several delegates supported the initiative, but queried its funding. The Committee agreed to take note of the document, adding that it could not fund the process.

REVIEW OF CRITERIA FOR AMENDMENT OF APPENDICES I AND II

On Monday, 18 August, the Secretariat introduced the document on the review of the criteria for amendment of Appendices I and II (AC19 Doc. 9), containing background information, including Decision 12.97 on the criteria review and the annexed text of the Chair of COP-12 Committee Iís Working Group on Criteria (CWG12). He noted that the AC and PC should present a draft report on the criteria review to SC-50, focusing on the finalizing the CWG12 Chairís text. He also drew attention to the proposal on terms of reference (TOR) and schedule for the criteria review, approved by PC-13 (PC13 Doc. 9.4.3 (Rev. 1)). Chair Althaus outlined the PCís approach to agree on a list of taxa to assess the criteria before revisiting the CWG12 Chairís text.

PC Chair Clemente presented the PCís approach, highlighting its efficiency and Partiesí willingness to participate in the review of the criteria on 18 selected species. She noted that the species selected must be well documented and non-controversial. Javier Alvarez (US), Chair of the PC working group on criteria, also reported on the PCís approach. He said the PC working group focused on the compilation of a list of species, and the timeline for completing the reviews and finalizing the CWG12 Chairís text. He encouraged the AC to follow a similar process. The regional representatives for North America and Oceania, supported by many, praised the PC approach, highlighting its pragmatic nature, the importance of coordinating with the PC and the opportunity for a technical review. The UK and Canada agreed on the need to avoid controversial species, while Defenders of Wildlife noted that including species with more limited data available would be educational. Noting lack of opposition to the PC approach, Chair Althaus established a working group to select the taxa that would be used to review the listing criteria in the CWG12 Chairís text, taking into consideration the timetable adopted by the PC.

The working group met on Tuesday, 19 August, and discussed: the list of taxa to evaluate the criteria, including whether non-CITES species should be included; and general issues regarding the timeline and process for conducting the reviews, including the need to use and test the definitions found in Annex 5 of the CWG12 Chairís text.

Final Outcome: On Thursday, 21 August, Javier Alvarez (US), working group Chair, presented the groupís outcomes in Plenary (AC 19 WG1 Doc. 1). On the list of taxa and selected species, participants nominated the following:

  • Gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus);
     

  • Leopard (Panthera pardus);
     

  • Argali (Ovis ammon);
     

  • VicuŮa (Vicugna vicugna);
     

  • Crab-eating monkey (Macaca fascicularis);
     

  • Gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus);
     

  • Yellow headed parrot (Amazona oratrix);
     

  • Finschís Amazon (Amazona finschi);
     

  • Adelie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae);
     

  • Horned gecko (Rhacodactylus sp.);
     

  • Yacare caiman (Caiman yacare);
     

  • Angolan python (Python anchietae);
     

  • Western toad (Bufo boreas);
     

  • Pacific sardine (Sardinops melanostictus);
     

  • Norwegian spring spawning herring (Clupea harengus);
     

  • Georges Bank haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus);
     

  • White sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus);
     

  • Isok barb (Probabrus jullieni);
     

  • Asian Arowana (Scleropages formosus);
     

  • Emperor scorpion (Pandinus imperator);
     

  • Apollo butterfly (Parnassius Apollo);
     

  • Bear paw clam (Hippopus hippopus); and
     

  • Red coral (Corrallium rubrum);

The US is also considering reviewing the Alligator Snapping turtle (Macroclemys temminckii).

On the time schedule, working group Chair Alvarez noted that the group agreed to the PCís decision on: completing the reviews by the end of October 2003; compiling a table on the results to be posted on the CITES website by 5 December 2003; and providing comments on the table through the regional representatives until February 2004. He said that a joint meeting of the AC and PC should be organized to analyze the results of the taxonomic reviews, with the aim of drafting a revised resolution. The draft resolution would then be submitted at the next SC meeting and posted on the website in accordance with the COP deadline. He stressed that, in view of Namibiaís proposal to host PC-14, further discussion was required on ways to organize the joint meeting.

The International Wildlife Coalition (IWC) and Defenders of Wildlife regretted non-inclusion of large and commercially important groups of marine species and vertebras. Chair Alvarez noted that NGOs can contact the countries conducting the reviews to provide assistance, and provide input during AC-20. The AC adopted the report.

CONTROL OF CAPTIVE BREEDING, RANCHING AND WILD HARVEST PRODUCTION SYSTEMS FOR APPENDIX II SPECIES

On Tuesday, 19 August, the Secretariat introduced the document on the control of captive breeding, ranching and wild harvest production systems for Appendix II species (AC19 Doc. 14), noting that the IUCN/SSC Wildlife Trade Programme works on production systems. IUCN introduced its preliminary report (AC19 Inf. 6), noting that it further examines the conservation impact and control of ex situ and in situ production of CITES-listed species. She highlighted that clear definitions for production systems are needed, suggesting three categories: Wild Collected Specimens; Reared Wild Specimens; and Closed-cycle Captive Bred Specimens. She proposed that the AC consider, inter alia: simplifying provisions relating to captive breeding or artificial propagation by standardizing regulations for plants and animals; reviewing requirements for ranching and captive breeding carried out in controlled conditions; and recognizing conservation benefits from certain forms of production and providing a new category for "enhanced wild production."

PC Chair Clemente reported that the PC decided to wait for the final report before making a decision, and the UK suggested that the AC do the same and integrate its work with the PC. The Netherlands stressed the need for additional source codes, whereas South Africa favored a resolution on existing source codes. Tanzania and Defenders of Wildlife noted the need for clear source codes.

A working group chaired by Edson Chidziya (Zimbabwe), met on Wednesday, 20 August, to review suggestions on the IUCN report.

Final Outcome: On Thursday, 21 August, Chidziya presented the groupís report to Plenary (AC19 WG4 Doc.1). He stated that the group agreed on the IUCNís suggestion to group production systems by three main characteristics, with a modification to the third characteristic, and decided that existing source codes should remain. Regarding code R on "specimens originating from a ranching operation," the group agreed to intersessionally develop a draft resolution on revising Resolution Conf. 11.16 to include ranching operations other than those linked to down-listing from Appendix I to II. The group also recommended that interpretative material on production systems be developed. The AC adopted the document with slight amendments, including a clarification that the group has not yet reached consensus on the use of code D on captive-bred specimens, and the AC Chairís reassurance that further inputs can be submitted intersessionally.

REGISTRATION AND MONITORING OF OPERATIONS THAT BREED APPENDIX I ANIMAL SPECIES FOR COMMERCIAL PURPOSES

PROCESS FOR REGISTERING OPERATIONS: On Tuesday, 19 August, the Secretariat introduced the document on process for registering operations (AC19 Doc. 11.1), noting registration of few operations breeding Appendix I animal species for commercial purposes. He noted Resolution Conf. 12.10 directing the AC to evaluate the process for registering such operations and suggested establishing a working group to address the issue.

The working group met on Wednesday, 20 August, and addressed issues related to Decision 12.78 on registration and monitoring of operations that breed Appendix I animal species, particularly the need to analyze problems that limit the wider use of the registration procedure. The working group also identified an additional need for information from Parties about unregistered captive breeding operations.

Final Outcome: On Thursday, 21 August, AugustŪn Iriarte Walton (Chile) working group Chair, reported on the groupís recommendations (AC19 WG5 Doc. 1). Regarding problems with the registration procedure, he noted, inter alia: the long time required to process applications by both the Management and Scientific Authorities; unregistered operations may transfer specimens to registered operations; and registration criteria are too strict. The group recommended: providing information on the numbers and species concerned of any unregistered operations that are captive breeding Appendix I specimens that enter international trade; and providing available information on any operations involved in commercial captive breeding of Appendix I species. Noting the short time available for a notification on the issue, the group suggested collecting information as part of its intersessional work, and presenting a report and recommendations at AC-20. Delegates adopted the report.

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN EX SITU PRODUCTION AND IN SITU CONSERVATION: On Tuesday, 19 August, the Secretariat introduced the document on the relationship between ex situ production and in situ conservation (AC19 Doc. 11.2), including an annexed draft notification. He highlighted Decision 11.102 revised at COP-12, which invites the AC to examine issues related to the relationship between ex situ breeding operations and in situ conservation, and to identify mechanisms for COP-13 consideration by which registered breeding operations may enhance the recovery and conservation of species within countries of origin.

Delegates supported establishing a working group to address the issue. The US proposed including representatives of private breeders and range States, and noted that any draft resolution should focus on how consideration of such factors ensure that trade is not detrimental.

The IUCN/SSC Wildlife Trade Programme presented a discussion paper on the item (AC19 Inf. 5). She outlined the costs and benefits of different production forms on species conservation, highlighted methods of indirect contribution to conservation, and suggested that case studies examine the costs and benefits to assist the AC develop more specific advice. Delegates then established a working group.

The working group met on Wednesday, 20 August, and addressed the relationship between ex situ production and in situ conservation

Final Outcome: On Thursday, 21 August, Rodrigo MedellŪn (Mexico), working group Chair, presented the groupís results to Plenary (AC19 WG2 Doc.1). He noted that many delegates felt that a final report before the next COP is not feasible, but that a progress report would include results of the notification inviting Parties and organizations to provide information on the issue and preliminary results of case studies of species that are bred ex situ in relationship to their in situ conservation. The group decided that case studies should not only include registered facilities since most captive breeding operations are not registered.

The initial list of case studies offered to be prepared by the working group members include:

  • Siam Crocodile (Crocodylus simensis);
     

  • Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca);
     

  • Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus);
     

  • Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus);
     

  • Asian black bear (Ursus tibethanus);
     

  • European bison (Bison bonasus);
     

  • Black rhino (Diceros bicornis);
     

  • Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus);
     

  • Asian bony tongue (Scleropages formosus);
     

  • Andean condor (Vultur gryphus);
     

  • Caribbean iguana (Cyclura cornuta);
     

  • Golden lion tamarin (Leontopithecus rosalia);
     

  • African lion (Panthera leo); and
     

  • Sturgeons from the Caspian Sea.

The working group also amended the TOR and the notification requesting information on additional case studies, which should be submitted to the working group Chair by 15 December 2003, and then to be considered at AC-20. IWC suggested the need to include a clear definition of in situ and ex situ. Delegates adopted the report.

REVIEW OF SIGNIFICANT TRADE IN SPECIMENS OF APPENDIX II SPECIES

On Tuesday, 19 August, delegates addressed several issues regarding the Review of Significant Trade (RST) in specimens of Appendix II species. The Secretariat presented on RST, noting that the review process had evolved to ensure Parties that provisions of CITES Article IV on the regulation of trade in specimens of Appendix II-listed species are being met and that trade in Appendix-II listed species is sustainable and not detrimental to the speciesí survival. He said that the RST process: involves a high degree of consultation and cooperation; relieves importing States from applying stricter domestic measures; and assists exporting countries in the areas of capacity building and field studies. Madagascar, he added, was chosen for the first country-based RST and, if the country-based approach proves to be more efficient than the taxa-based one, a standardized approach for the process could be developed.

INTRODUCTION OF RESOLUTION CONF. 12.8: Introducing Resolution Conf. 12.8 on the RST in specimens of Appendix II species (AC19 Doc. 8.1), the Secretariat said that the United Nations Environment Programmeís World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) would produce "user-friendly" trade data to assist the AC in selecting Appendix II species for the review, starting at AC-20. The United Arab Emirates (UAE), supported by regional representatives for Europe and Oceania, the Czech Republic, and others, stressed the need to start a review for the Saker falcon (Falco cherrug) before AC-19. A regional representative for Asia suggested discussing the issue at an upcoming falconry meeting.

A working group on the RST in specimens of Appendix II species was established, and met on Wednesday, 20 August, to consider the UAEís report on the Saker falcon.

Final Outcome: On Thursday, 21 August, Chair Althaus, presented the groupís report to Plenary (AC19 WG8 Doc. 1). The group agreed by consensus that: the issue should be addressed as a matter of urgency; the species should enter the RST immediately as an exceptional case; and the Secretariat should urgently contact Pakistan and Mongolia, two range States. The AC adopted the report with minor amendments.

REVIEW OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF RECOMMENDATIONS: The Secretariat introduced its document on the review of the implementation of recommendations (AC19 Doc. 8.2), noting that about 260 taxa have been reviewed. He said that TRAFFIC has been contracted to: provide an inventory of all AC and SC recommendations regarding Resolution Conf. 8.9 (Rev.) on trade in specimens of Appendix II species taken from the wild; develop a database on RST animal species; and provide recommendations. He added that the Secretariat will consider assisting range States for which trade bans have been put in place. TRAFFIC reported on progress, noting that the database, which will be presented at AC-20, will include detailed information on RST species to allow quick identification of their status.

The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) expressed concern regarding the status of the Nawhal (Monodon monoceus) and called for addressing the whale species at AC-20. Chair Althaus indicated that this species could be discussed at that time.

PROGRESS ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE REVIEW OF SIGNIFICANT TRADE: Chair Althaus introduced the document on the progress on the implementation of the RST (AC19 Doc. 8.3), including an annexed report on Strombus gigas (queen conch), and a list of species selected for review since COP-11.

The Secretariat reported on progress on RST implementation of Strombus gigas, highlighting range Statesí interest in ensuring the speciesí sustainable trade. TRAFFIC then presented a summary and the conclusions of its annexed report. She outlined: the speciesí distribution and harvesting; population declines due to overfishing; trade volume; evidence of illegal harvesting and trade; and management and conservation measures in range States. She said range States were divided into three categories of urgent, possible and least concern, and noted that the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Honduras fall under the first category.

A working group was established to: examine information contained in the TRAFFIC report; revise the proposed preliminary categories; identify populations of least concern and eliminate them from the review; and formulate recommendations for remaining populations. IWC noted that the Secretariat of the Protocol concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW Protocol) of the Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment in the Wider Caribbean Region (Cartagena Convention) has offered its assistance on the issue.

The Secretariat then provided a summary of the status of the RST for all taxa that have been selected since COP-11. Noting that preparation of the database is still in progress, he outlined progress in implementation, cases of compliance, cases of non-response and the need to formulate new recommendations. Delegates decided to form one working group on RST implementation on Strombus gigas, and address all other species under the RST working group.

Strombus Gigas Working Group: The working group on Strombus gigas (queen conch) met on Wednesday, 20 August and discussed: the speciesí unique situation for having entered the significant trade process twice; the proposed categorization of range States; and recommendations and specific actions to be undertaken.

Final Outcome: Mohammad Pourkazemi (Iran), working group Chair, reported in Plenary on Thursday, 21 August (AC19 WG3 Doc. 1). He highlighted that Mexico was moved to the category of "least concern," and that Parties in this category would be removed from the review. He outlined specific short- and long-term actions to be undertaken by Parties of urgent and possible concern and suggested that the SC recommend a suspension of imports of speciesí specimens from those Parties, if implementation of these actions is not verified. He stressed problems not related to the implementation of Article IV, including illegal fishing and trade, and insufficient monitoring and reporting of trade. The Netherlands suggested stressing firm commitment of the Parties of urgent concern to implement the proposed actions, and the report was adopted as amended.

RST Working Group: The working group on the RST in specimens of Appendix II species met on Wednesday, 20 August, to consider, inter alia, progress on RST implementation and to discuss each RST species.

Final Outcome: On Thursday, 21 August, Chair Althaus presented the groupís report to Plenary (AC19 WG8 Doc. 1). He stated that the AC Chair would determine whether the species and country concerned could be removed from the RST process, or brought forward to the SC.

On Moschus spp. (Musk Deer), the group agreed that: the Secretariat and the AC Chair will provide relevant materials and a progress report to the SC; and the Russian Federation and China have complied with the recommendations. On the Naja naja spp. (cobras), it recommended reporting to the SC that several range States have not or inadequately responded.

On the South Asian box turtle (Cuora amboiensis), it agreed that: some countries should be brought to the SC for not complying with Article IV; and the issue of misidentification of live freshwater turtles as fish or fishery products be addressed by the technical implementation and the turtle working groups.

It concluded that Vietnam and Laos for the Indochinese box turtle (C. galbinifrons), and Bangladesh for the Indian flapshell turtle (Lissemys punctata), are of urgent concern, and recommendations should be issued. On the Flat-tailed tortoise (Pyxis planicauda), it commented that it has been transferred to Appendix I.

On the Lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens), it agreed that Canada, the Secretariat and the AC Chair should make a decision. White sturgeon (A. transmontanus), Seasonal paddlefish (Polyodon spathula), and Shovelnose sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus platorynchus), were removed from the process, and the Atlantic sturgeon (A. oxyrinchus), Persian sturgeon (A. persicus), and Yellow-margined box turtle (C. flavomarginata), were moved into the category of least concerned. Siberian sturgeon (A. baerii), Russian sturgeon (A. gueldenstaedtii), Bastard sturgeon (A. nudiventris), Sterlet (A. ruthenus), Amur sturgeon (A. schrencki), Stellate sturgeon (A. stellatus), Kaluga (Huso dauricus), and Beluga (H. huso) are covered by the Paris Agreement review in which a large number of actions were agreed on by range States, including: stock assessment, joint quota setting, illegal domestic use, and enforcement collaboration. The AC adopted the report with minor amendments.

PROGRESS ON THE FIRST COUNTRY-BASED REVIEW OF SIGNIFICANT TRADE: On the first country-based RST (AC19 Doc. 8.4), the Secretariat noted the formulation of an action plan for assessing the trade of all Madagascarís Appendix II-listed animals and plants species. He said that implementation of country-based activities for the RST in the country was delayed due to political turmoil, but that the plan would be ready for implementation later this year, and monitored by the Secretariat in consultation with the AC and PC.

Madagascar said that its Management Authority is not issuing export permits for species subject to annual quotas until the Scientific Authority has gathered information on the exportersí facilities, but that quotas will be allocated and permits will be granted once information has been assessed. Pro-Wildlife expressed concern that the country-based approach may not always be appropriate, especially regarding species traded in high numbers. The International Wildlife Management Consortium (IWMC)-World Conservation Trust said that the Secretariat should issue a new notification to inform Parties on which Madagascar species can be traded.

EVALUATION OF THE REVIEW OF SIGNIFICANT TRADE: The Secretariat introduced its document on the evaluation of the RST (AC13 Doc. 8.5), together with an annexed draft of the RSTís TOR. He noted that Decision 12.75 requests the AC and PC to draft the TOR for an evaluation to be considered at COP-13. He highlighted the ACís experience in the process, and noted the PCís lack of experience and its decision to proceed with the evaluation after COP-14. He added that the evaluation can only be carried out when external funds are available. IWC noted that issues such as illegal trade should also be addressed, and Defenders of Wildlife stressed public involvement in the evaluation. A working group on the RST in specimens of Appendix II species met on Wednesday, 20 August, and examined the evaluationís draft TOR.

Final Outcome: On Thursday, 21 August, Chair Althaus presented the groupís report to Plenary (AC19 WG8 Doc. 1). The group agreed that the TOR should reflect a phased-in process, with some of the evaluation taking place between COP-13 and COP-14, and with plants-related input after COP-14. He added that: the country-based study in Madagascar is important but that the review should not wait for it to be completed; and Parties and the Budget Committee at COP-13 are encouraged to ensure funds for the evaluation. The group agreed that: work on the draft TOR should commence intersessionally and in liaison with the PC; and the AC would not finalize its recommendations until AC-20. The AC adopted the report with minor amendments.

CONSERVATION OF SAIGA TATARICA: The US introduced its document on the conservation of the Saiga tatarica (saiga antelope) (AC19 Doc. 8.6), noting that:

  • it has been in the RST process but its population has nevertheless declined seriously;
     

  • Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation, two range States, have voluntarily suspended trade of saiga;
     

  • a draft action plan concerning conservation and sustainable use of the species has been prepared; and
     

  • a resolution on the issue would be useful.

The Russian Federation said the Appendix II-listed species population is low but stable, while WWF International said the species is critically endangered and its population unstable. She encouraged range States and the SC to take actions as a matter of urgency and added that effective implementation of the action plan is needed to avoid an Appendix I listing. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)-Russia added that poaching has increased significantly since the collapse of the Soviet Union. She suggested that the AC make recommendations on the issue, and drew delegatesí attention to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) drafted for combined protection measures of range States.

The working group on the RST in specimens of Appendix II species met on Wednesday, 20 August, and considered conservation issues of the Saiga antelope.

Final Outcome: On Thursday, 21 August, Chair Althaus presented the groupís report to Plenary (AC19 WG8 Doc. 1). He stated that the group agreed, inter alia, that the issue is a matter of great conservation urgency, and should immediately be addressed by the SC. It also agreed that: consumer countries should provide information on how they control the speciesí illegal trade; range States be encouraged to sign the MOU; and the AC Chair and the Secretariat evaluate relevant recommendations of the MOUís action plan for the speciesí conservation, restoration and sustainable use. The AC adopted the report with minor amendments.

TRANSPORT OF LIVE ANIMALS

On Tuesday, 19 August, Irena Sprotte (Germany), Chair of the ACís Transport Working Group (TWG) introduced the document on the transport of live animals (AC19 Doc. 12), summarizing activities since COP-12, including:

  • collaboration with the International Air Transport Association (IATA), and the Animal Transportation Association;
     

  • evaluation of the IATA Live Animals Regulations for transport other than air;
     

  • preparation of a MOU between the CITES Secretariat, IATA and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums; and
     

  • research on transport mortality.

She then informed participants that she could not serve as TWG Chair in the future. A working group met on Wednesday, 20 August, and discussed priorities for the TWG until COP-13, including election of a new Chair.

Final Outcome: On Thursday, 21 August, working group Chair Katalin Rodics (Hungary) presented the groupís report to Plenary (AC19 WG10 Doc. 1), outlining three priorities identified under Decision 12.85 on recommendations for transport of live animals. Regarding recommendations for rail, road and sea transport, the group agreed that the TWG will collect various standards and studies and distribute them to members. Regarding identification of model practices for transport and preparation for shipment of live wild animals, they decided the TWG Chair will collect information. Regarding investigation of cost-effective options for packing materials that may be recommended to IATA, they agreed that model information should include best practices on packing materials. She added that the TWG will request the AC for advice on including the issue of mortality during capture and storage into its TOR or address the issue as part of non-detrimental findings. The group unanimously proposed Peter Linhart (Austria) as new TWG Chair. The AC adopted the groupís report.

TRADE IN HARD CORALS

On Wednesday, 20 August, the Secretariat introduced the document on the trade in hard corals (AC19 Doc. 13), noting COP Decision 12.62 that directs the AC to recommend practical means of distinguishing fossilized corals from non-fossilized corals in international trade, and to provide a report at COP-13.

A working group was established and met on Wednesday, 20 August, and discussed a process for considering means of distinguishing fossilized corals from non-fossilized ones.

Final Outcome: Working group Chair Vincent Fleming (UK) reported in Plenary on Thursday, 21 August (AC19 WG11 Doc. 1), highlighting the reconstitution of the intersessional coral working group to define fossilized corals and to provide a progress report at AC-20. The report was adopted.

CONSERVATION OF AND TRADE IN TORTOISES AND FRESHWATER TURTLES

On Wednesday, 20 August, the US introduced the recommendations from the Kunming workshop (AC19 Doc. 15.1), held in China in March 2002, which urge Parties to focus on enforcement needs, in situ conservation measures, and listing priorities. Germany presented technical findings of a research and development project, carried out by TRAFFIC Southeast Asia, on the development of mid- and long-term conservation measures for tortoises and freshwater turtles (AC19 Doc. 15.2 (Rev. 1)). She noted that the document compiles new information on commercial breeding activities, and addresses controversial issues.

The Secretariat introduced the document on the implementation of Resolution Conf. 11.9 on tortoises and freshwater turtles, and related COP-12 decisions (AC19 Doc. 15.3). He stressed Decision 12.43 on pancake tortoises, requesting a study on the speciesí biology and distribution, production systems and marking methods, management measures, and monitoring protocols. The Netherlands underscored a 1998 AC mission to Tanzania and its report on pancake tortoises, and Tanzania stressed the reportís findings on the speciesí biology and breeding performance, as well as doubts concerning its distribution. On Wednesday, 20 August, a working group met to consider the Kunming recommendations, mid- and long-term conservation measures, and the pancake tortoise report.

Final Outcome: On Thursday, 21 August, working group Chair Michael Griffin (Namibia) presented a report of the groupís deliberations. On the pancake tortoise, the working group recommended that: the issue of genetic identification of separate wild populations and farmed individuals be studied to address Kenyaís concerns that the control of Tanzaniaís breeding stocks are inadequate; a study on the natural history of the species be undertaken and that countries indicating that they are range States provide evidence that this is the case.

On future listings, the working group encouraged range States to proceed with the proposals to list all remaining unlisted species of Asian freshwater turtles on Appendix II at COP-13. On transport, the working group recommended that the Secretariat urge Parties to enforce IATA regulations, and on in situ conservation and management issues recommended further consideration of various identification techniques for turtles. The group also agreed that information from the Kunming workshop be made available as a matter of priority and that a follow-up regional workshop be held after
COP-13.

Japan expressed its concern regarding Appendix-II listing of all remaining unlisted species of Asian freshwater turtles. Chair Althaus adopted the report, noting Japanís concerns.

SEAHORSES AND OTHER MEMBERS OF THE FAMILY SYNGNATHIDAE

On Wednesday, 20 August, the US introduced the document on the implementation of the Appendix II listing for Hippocampus spp. (seahorses) (AC19 Doc. 16.1), highlighting workshops and projects aimed at promoting effective management of and sustainable trade in Appendix II-listed seahorses. Mexico welcomed the proposal and offered to host a technical workshop on seahorse conservation and management. Project Seahorse noted the importance of involving the aquarium, traditional medicine and fisheries communities, and offered technical support.

Amanda Vincent (Project Seahorse), Chair of the intersessional seahorse working group, introduced the document on a universal minimum size limit for seahorses (AC19 Doc. 16.2), calling for a 10 cm. universal height minimum for the international trade of seahorses. The Secretariat asked the working group to address harmonization codes for live seahorses as requested by the World Customs Organization (WCO).

The working group met on Wednesday, 20 August, and discussed: a minimum size limit for specimens of all Hippocampus species; issues of interest to be discussed at the workshop proposed by Mexico; and harmonized codes for Syngnathidae for the WCO.

Final Outcome: Amanda Vincent, working group Chair, reported in Plenary on Thursday, 21 August (AC19 WG7 Doc. 1). She highlighted proposed recommendations regarding, inter alia: making non-detriment findings for Hippocampus and cultured Hippocampus; proposing a universal minimum size limit for export of all Hippocampus and encouraging further research on the issue; and documenting by-catch. The working group also suggested a list of items to be included in the workshopís agenda, requested the Secretariat to provide the information required to the WCO, and proposed to continue its activities intersessionally, with expanded membership to include representatives of exporting countries.

Japan stressed lack of sufficient scientific justification for a universal minimum size limit. He noted that fisheries management falls outside CITESí scope, and that implementation problems should have been resolved before the listing. The report was adopted.

CONSERVATION OF AND TRADE IN SEA CUCUMBERS IN THE FAMILIES OF HOLTHURIDAE AND STICHOPODIDAE

The Secretariat introduced the document on sea cucumbers (AC19 Doc. 17), noting Decision 12.60 that directs the AC to convene a technical workshop and prepare a discussion paper for COP-13 on the speciesí biological, trade and conservation status, and Decision 12.61 that requests the Secretariat to assist in obtaining funds for the workshop. Japan noted that the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) is organizing a workshop on sea cucumbers in China in October 2003, and suggested combining the two workshops to promote CITES-FAO cooperation. A working group was formed to provide guidance to the Secretariat on the planned technical workshop. The working group met on Wednesday, 20 August.

Final Outcome: Rod Hay (New Zealand), working group Chair, reported in Plenary on Thursday, 21 August (AC19 WG9 Doc. 1). He highlighted the FAO-sponsored workshop on aquaculture of Holothurians, suggested that the Secretariat explore possibilities for joint organization, and outlined issues related to the CITES workshopís agenda, participation, timing, funding and location. The report was adopted.

BIOLOGICAL AND TRADE STATUS OF SHARKS

On Wednesday, 20 August, the US introduced a progress report on developing and implementing the FAO International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks (IPOA-Sharks) in the US (AC19 Doc. 18.1). The US National Marine Fisheries Service outlined the report, highlighting: current management plans in the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans; implementation of the Shark Finning Prohibition Act; exports and imports of shark fins; and participation in multinational efforts for shark conservation. A regional representative for Asia reported on a regional technical meeting on the shark fishery held in Vietnam, and South Africa reported on its shark management plan.

The Secretariat then introduced a document on the implementation of Resolution Conf. 12.6 and Decision 12.47 on sharks (AC19 Doc. 18.2), outlining tasks directed to the AC, including: reviewing progress towards IPOA-Sharks implementation; examining information provided by range States to identify key species for possible listings; and, if necessary, making species-specific recommendations at COP-13.

Japan introduced its progress report in developing and implementing the IPOA-Sharks (AC19 Doc. 18.3), noting the Kesennuma Declaration adopted at a 2003 symposium on sustainable use of sharks and tuna longline fishing, and the status of international fisheries resources, with reference to sharks. The US welcomed the Kesennuma Declarationís call for data collection, but remarked that it reflects a lack of understanding of CITES and the US Shark Finning Prohibition Act. The IUCN/SSC Shark Specialist Group (SSG) also presented progress made in assessing the threatened status of sharks and related taxa (AC19 Inf. 7). Delegates then formulated a working group.

On Wednesday, 20 August, the working group discussed on-going shark activities, reviewed progress towards IPOA-Sharks implementation, and addressed improving the conservation status of, and international trade regulations on sharks. Many highlighted the need to improve communication between CITES management authorities and their national counterparts in fisheries. Other delegates expressed the difficulty for many developing countries to implement the IPOA-Sharks.

Final Outcome: On Thursday, 21 August, Colman OíCriodain (EC) Chair of the sharks working group, presented the groupís deliberations in Plenary (AC19 WG12 Doc. 1). On establishing a process to critically review progress towards IPOA-Sharks implementation, the working group requested that the IUCN/SSC-SSG produce a report summarizing the results of the Secretariatís notification to Parties to provide information on progress, and send a questionnaire to Parties as part of a follow-up notification. The group also decided to establish an intersessional working group to review the IUCN/SSC-SSG report. On establishing a process to examine Partiesí shark assessment reports, IUCN/SSC-SSG agreed to compile an initial draft list of key species based on the survey, as well as to develop a draft list of sharks for the harmonized system used by the WCO.

REGIONAL REPORTS

On Thursday, 21 August, regional representatives presented their regionís reports

AFRICA: A regional representative for Africa presented his regionís report (AC19 Doc. 5.1). He stressed problems with regional communication, resulting in implementation failures and planning difficulties. He also highlighted: the need for a study on bushmeat trade in East Africa; an expanding reptile trade; increasing stockpiles of legal ivory; successful rhino programmes; and high importance placed by members, but lack of consensus, on the utilization of natural resources to promote conservation.

ASIA: A regional representative for Asia reported on regional activities (AC19 Doc. 5.2), noting that: Brunei Darussalam has no record that high volumes of CITES-listed animals had been detected or confiscated in the country; Japan reported on a regional technical meeting on the shark fishery where national action plans were discussed. Israel reported on domestic CITES legislation. The UAE reported on the status of the Falco cerrug (Saker falcon) and progress made in training and capacity building.

CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN: Chile highlighted concerns regarding the regionís representation, due to insufficiencies in the regional representativesí work regarding participation, communication and reporting. A regional representative for Central and South America and the Caribbean later presented his regionís report, acknowledging Chileís involvement but highlighting communication problems with most countries, and stressing the importance of Strombus gigas (queen conch). Chile said efforts will be made to increase communication levels, with the help of the Secretariat, and a meeting will be organized in South America to analyze the problem.

EUROPE: A regional representative for Europe presented the report (AC19 Doc. 5.4). He reported on lack of feedback from countries, and outlined activities on: capacity building; national and EU legislation and implementation; law enforcement; public awareness; and research. Katalin Rodics (Hungary) presented on Eastern Europe, noting good response from accession countries and stressed the need to reduce the reporting burden. The Netherlands stated that Europeís report should reflect more on scientific activities in the ACís field. Chair Althaus and the Secretariat agreed on the need to reconsider the reporting requirement, and Slovenia drew attention to the outcome of the PCís contact group on improving regional communication. The Secretariat added that a user-friendly questionnaire used by PC in Europe will be made available to assist in reporting.

NORTH AMERICA: The regional representative for North America, presented the report (AC19 Doc. 5.5), highlighting that the region: has been active in several intersessional working groups and workshops; and has carried out work on the review of animal species in the Appendices and of significant trade. He also noted that several seminars have taken place in Mexico to improve understanding of CITES

OCEANIA: The regional representative for Oceania presented the report (AC19 Doc. 5.6), stressing that: regional communication has improved; CITES has been promoted at a recent Pacific round table workshop on nature conservation; several capacity-building activities have been carried out by Australia; and Papua New Guinea has re-instituted its survey programme of Crocodylus porosus (Australian saltwater crocodile).

TRADE IN ALIEN SPECIES

The Secretariat highlighted Decision 10.76 on the ACís cooperation with the IUCN Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG). The regional representative for Oceania reported on progress in preparing a list of CITES invasive alien species for COP-13, and training initiatives delivered by the Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP). IUCN noted finalization of its guidelines on invasive species. The US and Israel offered to provide information for the list to be prepared for COP-13. Chile offered to act as a liaison between CITES and GISP, and stressed that exporting countries should prohibit export of species proved to become invasive in other environments. Secretary-General Wijnstekers noted restriction of invasive speciesí imports in the EU. Mexico suggested a recommendation to ports of entry and support of the work of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) regarding in situ measures in receiving countries.

STANDARD TAXONOMY AND NOMENCLATURE

Switzerland introduced the document on the role of standard taxonomic and nomenclatural references (AC19 Doc. 20.1). Noting a problem that arose at COP-12 from a split listing of two parrot species and their sub-species, he suggested, inter alia: adapting CITES Appendices to the most recent scientific nomenclatural references; and reviewing the Nomenclature Committeeís (NC) TOR, the process of adopting new or updated nomenclatural references, and the process of presenting new references to the COP.

The regional representative for North America questioned the transparency of the NC and how changes and decisions guide the Conventionís implementation. Martinus Hoogmoed (the Netherlands), member of the Nomenclature Committee, noted that the Committeeís report of proposed taxonomic changes, including the proposal to change standard reference for parrots, was presented at the COP, and any other changes must be presented at the next COP. A regional representative for Africa cautioned against restructuring the NC review process. IWC said the AC could assist in pointing out nomenclature changes and its implications.

Mexico introduced its report (AC19 Doc. 20.2), noting that the NC recommended using the nomenclatural reference Handbook of the Birds of the World for the taxa Psittaciformes and Trochilidae. He stated that the Handbook is not a peer-reviewed taxonomic revision, and its use of sub-species is not recognized as a valid taxon by the majority of experts. He recommended that: the Secretariat send a notification to Parties requesting information on their experience in using the Handbook; and Parties consider the adoption of additional reference material. Hoogmoed stressed the Handbook includes the best available information.

RESEARCH PROJECTS

On Thursday, 21 August, Chair Althaus introduced a document prepared by Switzerland on research projects (AC19 Doc.21.1). He said that the document reminds participants of an active process within CITES, according to which scientific projects can be submitted to the Secretariat, classified and presented for support by Parties. Stressing that Switzerland has funded a number of projects, he urged participants to reactivate the process.

IDENTIFICATION MANUAL

On Thursday, 21 August, the Secretariat reported on progress made in the production of the Identification Manual, by referring to a PC document (PC13 Doc. 17). He stated that its annex includes a list of identification sheets.

TRADE WITH NON-PARTY STATES

On Thursday, 21 August, Mexico reported that it recently received a shipment of Indo-pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) from the Solomon Islands, a non-CITES Party, with valid export permits. Supported by Defenders of Wildlife, he requested greater clarity on trade with non-Party States and suggested that regional cooperation might be an alternative for providing assistance to non-Party States. CITES Deputy Secretary-General Jim Armstrong stated that Resolution 9.5 already provides sufficient information on the issue of non-Parties and non-detrimental findings. He also noted potential problems CITES could have with the World Trade Organization on this issue. The regional representative for Oceania stressed the need to deal with countries that cannot afford to produce non-detrimental findings. Chair Althaus suggested that Mexico table the issue at AC-19.

CLOSING REMARKS

Chair Althaus said that AC-20 would most likely be held in southern Africa in February or April 2003. The US said it preferred convening the meeting earlier to meet May deadlines for COP-13. Chair Althaus then thanked members of the AC, observer Parties, IGOs and NGOs, and the Secretariat for their valuable contributions and support. The meeting came to a close at 6:07 pm.

A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF AC-19

At the first AC meeting since COP-12 delegates had a heavy work agenda of COP resolutions and decisions to consider. Meeting one day less than in previous years made the agenda only that much more challenging. Issues of considerable importance that delegates had to address included the criteria review of listings in the Appendices, the Review of Significant Trade, and discussion on numerous marine species. CITES will have to sort out its stance on marine species, as well as solve procedural issues regarding coordination of its scientific committees and participation of NGOs and range States, to achieve its aim of regulating wildlife trade and ensuring species conservation.

MARINE SPECIES

While AC delegates met in the confines of a conference center in Geneva, Icelandic whale hunters were setting out to pursue their first catch of Minke whales in 14 years. Although the Minke whale is a CITES Appendix I-listed species, Icelandís decision to resume whaling was not part of the AC agenda. That discussion is reserved for the International Whaling Commission, the primary international body responsible for whale issues. Although some delegates in the corridors personally expressed concern about the resumption of whaling, one delegate explained that since Iceland says it will be catching Minke whales for domestic and "scientific" use, and not for trade, there is not much CITES can do about it.

CITES may not be able to stop Icelandic whaling, but it can be vigilant in keeping whale species listed on Appendix I, as well as put others on the agenda such as the Arctic Narwhal toothed whale (Monodon monoceus), which breached its way into AC-19 deliberations and is likely to be an item for discussion at AC-20. Not only is CITES trying to ensure that there is no international trade of these large marine mammals, the Convention seems to be getting more involved in the protection of other marine species, an area it has traditionally avoided. The listing of several marine species on the Appendices at COP-12, such as seahorses and the basking and whale sharks, has certainly opened the door for others to be more readily considered. The COP-12 results were felt at AC-19, as the trade and conservation status of many marine species Ė such as hard corals, tortoises and freshwater turtles, seahorses, sea cucumbers, sharks, and the queen conch, a large Caribbean mollusk Ė were discussed in depth under criteria review and the review of significant trade. However, some Parties continue to oppose CITES involvement in marine species as a matter of principle. Japan, Norway and Iceland (absent from AC-19), have since made reservations on several marine species and will most likely continue to do so until they are convinced that CITES can be an effective tool for regulating international trade in marine species.

NGO INPUT

NGOs have been quite successful in bringing their views and concerns to the table, and play a very active role in the CITES process, particularly in the AC where they make up about one-third of all participants. They are well represented in working groups where much of the substantial work gets done, and in some instances, even chair them, something rarely found in other international environmental negotiations. Although most delegates expressed appreciation for NGO input, there are still those who worry that NGO interests too heavily dominate the AC agenda. Yet, without cooperation between NGOs and the AC a lot of work would not be accomplished because the NGO community prepares a fair amount of the scientific reports, reviews and guidelines for taxa that AC delegates often use as a basis for their discussions. This cooperation is crucial for the success of the AC and is likely to be continued.

AC-PC COOPERATION

Another kind of cooperation was emphasized at the meeting, this time between the AC and PC. Although both Committees meet separately and follow their own work plan, there are key common issues that need to be addressed together to ensure that the goals of the Convention are achieved uniformly. This includes the review of criteria for amendment of Appendices I and II, including the selection of taxa to be reviewed, and the review of significant trade. Since the PC and AC were held back-to-back this year, it was easier for members attending both Committees to work together and share experiences in areas of common concern. It even allowed the AC Chair to sit in on the deliberations of the PC, and vice versa. Although there were calls for more synergy between the two CITES scientific bodies, it seems that they still value their independence, with the PC already deciding to meet on its own in Namibia in February 2004. The AC is also thinking about meeting nearby in southern Africa, maybe South Africa, around the same time. Even though being in the same subregion may help promote CITES awareness, it wonít exactly solve the joint meeting coordination problem, considering that the Kalahari Desert separating the two meetings would make communication a real challenge.

A RICH MANíS CLUB

Lack of communication was raised as a major concern for the AC, especially between regional representatives and the Parties they represent. Some delegates noticed a lack of regional representation and participation from Africa, Oceania and Central and South America and the Caribbean. As one regional representative remarked, CITES has become a "rich manís club," since developing countries lack the resources to attend meetings, let alone implement many of the decisions and resolutions that come out of them. The ACís heavy agenda and time constraints make participation more difficult, even for developed country Parties.

LOOKING AHEAD

Despite a shorter AC meeting, delegates still managed to get through the agenda, mostly through the constructive work that took place in the 12 parallel working group sessions that responded to COP-12 decisions and resolutions. With the next AC meeting approaching and COP-13 only 14 months away, a lot of intersessional work must be done to ensure that recommendations and listing proposals are ready for consideration by the COP in Bangkok in October 2004.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR BEFORE COP-13

1ST INTER-REGIONAL SESSION OF THE GBF: THE ECOSYSTEM APPROACH TO DRYLAND MANAGEMENT - INTEGRATING BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION AND LIVELIHOOD SECURITY: This meeting of the Global Biodiversity Forum will take place in conjunction with the Conference of the Parties of the Convention to Combat Desertification from 30-31 August 2003, in Havana, Cuba. For more information, contact Joachim Gratzfeld, IUCN; tel: +41-22-999-0267; fax: +41-22-999-0020; e-mail: joachim.gratzfeld@iucn.org; Internet: http://www.gbf.ch/present_session.asp?no=35&lg=EN.

18TH SESSION OF THE GLOBAL BIODIVERSITY FORUM: BIODIVERSITY, TRADE AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: This session, organized by IUCN, will be held from 5-7 September 2003, in Cancun, Mexico. For more information, contact: Caroline Martinet, IUCN; tel: +41-22-999-0216; fax: +41-22-999-0025; e-mail: caroline.martinet@iucn.org; Internet: http://www.gbf.ch

FIFTH WORLD PARKS CONGRESS - BENEFITS BEYOND BOUNDARIES: This meeting will convene from 8-17 September 2003, in Durban, South Africa. The Congress occurs once every decade and is sponsored by the IUCN. For more information, contact: Peter Shadie, IUCN Programme on Protected Areas; tel: +41-22-999-0159; fax: +41-22-999-0025; e-mail: pds@iucn.org; Internet: http://www.iucn.org/themes/wcpa/wpc2003/index.htm.

WORKSHOP ON INVASIVE ALIEN SPECIES AND THE INTERNATIONAL PLANT PROTECTION CONVENTION (IPPC): This workshop, organized by the IPPC Secretariat, will be held from 22-26 September 2003, in Braunschweig, Germany. It will assist the exchange of views on how the IPPC and related tools may help in the management of invasive alien species. For more information, contact: Brent Larson, IPPC Secretariat; tel: +39-6-5705-4812; fax: +39-6-5705-6347; e-mail: IAS2003@ippc.int; Internet:
http://www.ippc.int/IPP/En/Archive/IAS2003/IAS-WORKSHOP-Home.htm

THIRD MEETING OF THE EUROPEAN ACADEMY OF FORENSIC SCIENCE:  This meeting will take place from 22-27 September 2003, in Istanbul, Turkey. A special session of the third triennial meeting of the European Academy of Forensic Science will be dedicated to wildlife forensics. For more information, contact: EAFS 2003 Secretariat; tel: +90-212-287-5800; fax: +90-212-263-4581; e-mail: eafs2003@enfsi.org; Internet: http://www.eafs2003.org

GLOBAL SUMMIT ON MEDICINAL PLANTS: This Summit, hosted by the Century Foundation, will take place from 25-30 September 2003, in Terre Rouge, Mauritius. The meeting will consider recent trends in cultivation, conservation, phytomedicine and other alternative therapies for human welfare. For more information, contact: Anita Menon, Century Foundation; tel: +91-80-524-9900; fax: +91-80-524-4592; e-mail: cenfound@sparrl.com; Internet: http://www.cenfound.org/global/global.html.

WORKSHOP ON ADVANCES IN SEA CUCUMBER AQUACULTURE AND MANAGEMENT (ASCAM): This FAO workshop will be held in Dalian, China, from 14 -17 October 2003. For more information, contact the Alessandro Lovatelli, FAO Fisheries Departmen; e-mail: alessandro.lovatelli@fao.org.

NINTH MEETING OF THE CBD SUBSIDIARY BODY ON SCIENTIFIC, TECHNICAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL ADVICE: CBD SBSTTA-9 will convene from 10-14 November 2003, in Montreal, Canada. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: secretariat@biodiv.org; Internet: http://www.biodiv.org

FIRST INTERNATIONAL AGARWOOD CONFERENCE: The first International Agarwood Conference will be held from 10-15 November 2003, in Ho Chi Minh City and An Giang Province, Vietnam. The conference is organized by the Vietnam National University and the Rainforest Project Foundation. For more information, contact: Cao Van Thanh, Project Officer; tel: +84-8-848-7198; fax: +84-8-848-7223; e-mail: Conference@Agarwood.org.vn; Internet: http://www.agarwood.org.vn/.

SECOND MEETING OF CBD AD-HOC OPEN-ENDED WORKING GROUP ON ACCESS AND BENEFIT-SHARING: CBD ABS-2 will meet from 1-5 December 2003, in Montreal, Canada. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: secretariat@biodiv.org; Internet: http://www.biodiv.org.

CBD AD-HOC WORKING GROUP ON ARTICLE 8(J): The meeting on the CBDÔŅĹs Article 8(j) will convene from 8-12 December 2003, in Montreal, Canada. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: secretariat@biodiv.org; Internet: http://www.biodiv.org.

14TH MEETING OF THE CITES PLANTS COMMITTEE: CITES PC-14 is scheduled to meet in Windhoek, Namibia, in February 2004. For more information, contact: CITES Secretariat; tel: +41-22-917-8139; fax: +41-22-797-3417; e-mail: cites@unep.ch; Internet: http://www.cites.org.

20TH MEETING OF THE CITES ANIMALS COMMITTEE: CITES AC-20 is scheduled to meet in southern Africa in February or April 2004. For more information, contact: CITES Secretariat; tel: +41-22-917-8139; fax: +41-22-797-3417; e-mail: cites@unep.ch; Internet: http://www.cites.org.

SEVENTH MEETING OF THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE CBD: CBD COP-7 will be held from 9-20 February 2004, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: secretariat@biodiv.org; Internet: http://www.biodiv.org.  

CITES 50TH STANDING COMMITTEE MEETING: SC-50 will meet from 15-19 March 2004, in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information, contact: CITES Secretariat; tel: +41-22-917-8139; fax: +41-22-797-3417; e-mail: cites@unep.ch; Internet: http://www.cites.org.

13TH MEETING OF THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO CITES: CITES COP-13 will meet from 2-14 October 2004, in Bangkok, Thailand. For more information, contact: CITES Secretariat; tel: +41-22-917-8139; fax: +41-22-797-3417; e-mail: cites@unep.ch; Internet: http://www.cites.org.           

This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin ÔŅĹ <enb@iisd.org> is written and edited by Mark Schulman; Silke Speier; and Elsa Tsioumani. The Team Leader is Mark Schulman <mark@iisd.org>. The Editor is Pamela S. Chasek, Ph.D. <pam@iisd.org> and the Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James "Kimo" Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. The Sustaining Donors of the Bulletin are the Government of the United States of America (through the Department of State Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs), The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Canada (through CIDA, DFAIT and Environment Canada), the Swiss Agency for Environment, Forests and Landscape (SAEFL), the United Kingdom (through the Department for International Development - DFID and Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs - DEFRA), the European Commission (DG-ENV), the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Government of Germany (through the German Federal Ministry of Environment - BMU, and the German Federal Ministry of Development Cooperation - BMZ). General Support for the Bulletin during 2003 is provided by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Government of Australia, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of New Zealand, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, Swan International, the Japanese Ministry of Environment (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies - IGES), the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (through the Global Industrial and Social Progress Research Institute - GISPRI), and the Ministry for Environment of Iceland. The opinions expressed in the Earth Negotiations Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD or other donors. Excerpts from the Earth Negotiations Bulletin may be used in non-commercial publications with appropriate academic citation. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <kimo@iisd.org>, +1-212-644-0217 or 212 East 47th St. #21F, New York, NY 10017, USA.  

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