Vol. 21 No. 56
The fourteenth Conference of the Parties (CoP14) to CITES convened in two committees throughout the day, and met in plenary in the afternoon. Several drafting and working groups also met. Committee I, inter alia, approved the uplisting of slow lorises and the listing of slender-horned gazelle in Appendix I, and narrowly rejected the listing of two shark species. Committee II addressed, inter alia, transaction codes and compliance, and adopted decisions on capacity building, national legislation for CITES implementation, national reports, Internet trade, enforcement, and incentives.
The plenary met briefly on Friday afternoon. Committee I Chair Leach and Committee II Chair Cheung reported on progress in their respective committees.
LISTING PROPOSALS: Delegates agreed by consensus to uplist genus Nycticebus (slow lorises) (CoP14 Prop.1 by Cambodia), and the subspecies Heloderma horridum charlesbogerti (Guatemalan beaded lizard) (CoP14 Prop.14 by Guatemala) from Appendix II to I.
They also agreed by consensus to: downlist Brazil’s population of Melanosuchus niger (black caiman) from Appendix I to II (CoP14 Prop.13 (Rev.1) by Brazil); and amend the annotation for Bolivia’s population of vicuña (Vicugna vicugna) (CoP14 Prop. 8 by Bolivia), to allow international trade in wool sheared from live animals.
Felidae: The US proposed deleting Lynx rufus (bobcat) from Appendix II (CoP14 Prop.2), stating that the species is thriving and that look-alike issues are no longer a concern due to improved identification techniques. CANADA and QATAR supported the proposal. Range state MEXICO opposed the proposal and, with HSI, highlighted a lack of up-to-date information on bobcat populations and problems differentiating bobcat parts from those of more endangered lynx species, and noted that the AC periodic review of Felidae is still ongoing. The EU, SERBIA, NORWAY and INDIA also opposed the proposal, highlighting look-alike issues. The proposal was rejected, with 28 votes in favor and 63 against.
AC Chair Althaus stated that the periodic review of Felidae is not yet complete, and delegates approved a draft decision to extend the review deadline (CoP14 Doc 8.2).
Red deer and gazelles: Algeria’s proposals to include Cervus elaphus barbarus (Barbary red deer) (CoP14 Prop.9) and Gazella cuvieri (Cuvier’s gazelle) (CoP14 Prop.10) in Appendix I were rejected following a vote. The EU, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES and JAPAN drew attention to the lack of evidence of international trade in these species, while range states and others stressed the difficulty in obtaining data on illegal trade. ALGERIA withdrew its proposal to list Gazella dorcas (Dorcas gazelle) in Appendix I (CoP14 Prop.11). Delegates agreed by consensus to include Gazella leptoceros (slender-horned gazelle) in Appendix I (CoP14 Prop.12 by Algeria).
Porbeagle shark: The EU introduced its proposal to list porbeagle shark (Lamna nasus) in Appendix II (CoP14 Prop.15), stressing its disagreement with the FAO Ad hoc Expert Advisory Panel's conclusion that the species does not meet CITES listing criteria, and emphasizing CITES’ role in complementing national and international activities to ensure conservation and sustainable use of the species. ISRAEL supported the proposal. WWF and TRAFFIC said some porbeagle shark populations merit an Appendix-I listing.
Ecuador speaking for GRULAC, with ICELAND, CANADA, QATAR and NORWAY, opposed the proposal, emphasizing: the competence of the FAO Expert Panel; the need to prioritize national and regional measures; and the role of regional fisheries management bodies. JAPAN stressed that the proposed Appendix-II listing would not control trade within the EU. The FAO asserted that its Expert Panel had correctly applied CITES listing criteria.
Voicing concern over the global decline of sharks, GREENPEACE, on behalf of several NGOs, said that the FAO Expert Panel’s assessment demonstrates continued resistance from some FAO members to CITES’ involvement in fisheries. The SHARK FIN AND MARINE PRODUCTS ASSOCIATION and SPECIES MANAGEMENT SPECIALISTS opposed the proposal, arguing that the listing would create perverse incentives and distort international markets.
The proposal was put to a vote. Iceland’s motion to conduct a secret ballot did not garner the necessary support. The listing proposal failed to achieve a two thirds majority, and was rejected with 54 votes in favor and 39 against.
Spiny dogfish: The EU proposed Appendix-II listing of Squalus acanthias (spiny dogfish) (CoP14 Prop.16), highlighting evidence of intense international trade in the species and noting biological data demonstrating its vulnerability. Many delegations supported the listing, with the US and NGOs voicing concern about the ongoing serial depletion of shark stocks around the globe, and MEXICO saying that the species satisfies the trade and biological listing criteria.
Among several delegations opposing the proposal: CANADA preferred national and regional fisheries management measures to CITES listing; NEW ZEALAND said spiny dogfish is abundant globally; and CHINA, NORWAY and the FAO noted that the FAO Expert Panel did not support the listing.
The proposal was rejected after narrowly failing to achieve a two-thirds majority, with 57 votes in favor and 36 against.
Delegates approved revised decisions on: cooperation with the ITTO as amended by the US (CoP14 Comm.II.5); and capacity building (CoP14 Comm.II.4).
NATIONAL LAWS FOR CITES IMPLEMENTATION: The Secretariat introduced the document (CoP14 Doc.24). PALAU, VENEZUELA, FIJI, ERITREA, TANZANIA, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO, INDIA, MAURITIUS, BAHAMAS, MADAGASCAR, LIBERIA, ECUADOR, NEPAL and SURINAME reported on their progress in implementing national legislation.
Delegates approved proposed decisions with amendments to consolidate deadlines for submitting information on national legislation to SC58, and assist implementing agencies.
ARGENTINA and other developing countries proposed deleting references in the draft decisions to the suspension of commercial trade as a possible measure to promote improved CITES legislation at the national level, but the US and other developed countries opposed and, following a vote, the original text was retained.
ENFORCEMENT MATTERS: The Secretariat introduced the document (CoP14 Doc.25) on, inter alia, convening a meeting of the CITES Enforcement Experts Group. The US, EU, CAMEROON, ISRAEL, ZIMBABWE, and NIGERIA supported the draft decisions, with INDONESIA and BRAZIL suggesting minor amendments. INDIA and NIGERIA noted their recent progress in improving compliance with the Convention. TRAFFIC noted that emerging partnerships between producing and consumer regions can be effective in combating wildlife trade. The draft decisions were approved by consensus.
COMPLIANCE AND ENFORCEMENT: Delegates discussed the EU’s proposal (CoP14 Doc.26) to amend Res.Conf.11.3 (Rev. CoP13), which suggests measures to improve enforcement of CITES at the national level. Chair Cheung then referred the matter to informal consultations.
TRANSACTION CODES: The US proposed a revision of Res.Conf.12.3 (Rev.CoP13) (permits and certificates), stressing the need for more specific transaction code definitions in CITES permits, particularly with respect to differentiating between commercial and non-commercial transactions (CoP14 Doc.39). ARGENTINA, supported by ECUADOR, said the issue should be discussed further in the SC. The EU supported the Secretariat’s suggestion for consideration of the circumstances under which purpose-of-transaction codes should be used, and underlined that the purpose of export may be different from that of import. CANADA noted that requirements are particularly unclear for export permits. A working group was established.
INTERNET TRADE: The EU introduced the document (CoP14 Doc.28), highlighting a proposed workshop on Internet trade in CITES-listed species. MADAGASCAR, the US, SEAWEB and IFAW supported the proposals, with IFAW informing delegates of eBay’s decision to ban ivory trade on its website worldwide. Parties approved by consensus the draft decisions with the UK’s amendment instructing the Secretariat to hire an expert consultant to review Internet trade.
NATIONAL REPORTS: The Secretariat introduced the document (CoP14 Doc.29) and invited feedback from parties on the new biennial report format. The EU and the US welcomed the draft decisions, noting improved reporting and welcoming any suggestions towards relieving the reporting burden. The US expressed concern about electronic permitting, underscoring the financial and capacity constraints of developing countries. The document was approved without amendment.
REPORTING ON TRADE IN ARTIFICIALLY PROPAGATED PLANTS: SWITZERLAND introduced the draft decision (CoP14 Doc.30), stressing the burden that these requirements impose on parties and the need to review their usefulness. The US and MEXICO opposed the draft decision, with the US supporting the Secretariat’s suggestion that it report to the SC on ways to summarize submission data. A working group was established.
INCENTIVES: The Secretariat introduced the document on incentives for implementation of the Convention (CoP14 Doc.32) proposing decisions, inter alia, to continue cooperation with UNCTAD’s Biotrade initiative. The EU, UGANDA and SWITZERLAND supported the proposal, while ARGENTINA, the US, BRAZIL, AUSTRALIA and VENEZUELA opposed all proposed decisions, stating that the issue should not be considered further as it is not directly relevant to CITES. The proposed decisions were approved by 51 to 22 votes.
STRATEGIC VISION: The strategic vision working group (SVWG) continued deliberations throughout the day. Although there was agreement on replacing references to timber and aquatic species in the introductory text, disagreement remained on whether to refer to “commercially-traded species.” In the afternoon, progress was made as participants moved to the substantive provisions of the document, including how to ensure indicators on implementation are measurable while allowing new signatories time to implement the Convention.
IN THE CORRIDORS
On Friday, SVWG participants labored over timber and aquatic species references in the draft strategic vision text, and Committee I continued rejecting proposals for timber and aquatic species listings. While some lamented a “turning tide” since CoP13, others felt outcomes were predictable, commenting that timber discussions were reminiscent of those advanced by the opponents of CITES regulation of bigleaf mahogany more than a decade ago. Another noted that, based on past experience, “we haven’t heard the last on sharks at this CoP.”
Some hoped that Wednesday’s upcoming Ministerial Roundtable will bring some political muscle to bear on timber and aquatic species, while others pointed out that high-level attendance may suffer due to the concurrent informal ministerial Midnight Sun Dialogue on Climate Change in Stockholm.
Finally, the African Elephant Range States Dialogue over the weekend served as a dress rehearsal for the “big elephant show” on Monday morning.