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Volume 21 Number 71 - Monday, 2 April 2012
CITES ANIMALS AND PLANTS COMMITTEES MEETINGS
15-30 MARCH 2012

The twenty-sixth meeting of the Animals Committee (AC26) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) convened from 15-20 March 2012 in Geneva, Switzerland. AC26 was followed by the Joint Meeting of the AC and Plants Committee (PC), which took place in Dublin, Ireland, from 22-24 March 2012. Finally, the 20th meeting of the Plants Committee (PC20) met in Dublin from 26-30 March 2012.

It had been several years since the CITES scientific committees have had the opportunity to meet for any length of time in tandem, and with preparations for the 62nd meeting of the Standing Committee (SC62) in July and the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP16) in Thailand in 2013 gaining momentum, the committees were under pressure to complete their mandate from CoP15 and provide essential advice to the Convention’s decision-making body. The more than 200 participants attending the meetings over the course of two and a half weeks was an indication of parties’ interest in the scientific committees’ deliberations. The Committees completed their work with collegial collaboration and while some of the more contentious issues provided some lengthy and complex debates, the AC/PC delegates left Dublin with some accomplishments under their belts and some work to do to ensure that CITES’ scientific processes continue to provide a strong foundation for the Convention.

During AC26, participants adopted recommendations on: the Review of Significant Trade (RST) in specimens of Appendix-II species; the Periodic Review of animal species included in the CITES Appendices; the reports from Caspian Sea range states on the evaluation of sturgeon stock assessment and Total Allowable Catch (TAC) determination methodology; the implementation of Resolution Conf. 12.6 (Rev. CoP15) on conservation and management of sharks; and the report of the WG on sea cucumbers. 

During the Joint Meeting, the AC and PC adopted recommendations on: the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES); the Report of the joint WG on Climate Change; the Evaluation of RST; and non-detriment findings (NDFs), including a draft guidance on the making of NDFs.

At PC20, participants adopted recommendations on: the progress report on strategic planning; the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD); the review of Resolution 14.8 (Periodic Review of the Appendices); Annotations; RST in seven species of medicinal and aromatic plants; timber issues; the Periodic Review of plant species included in the CITES Appendices;  bigleaf mahogany and other neotropical timber species; timber species, medicinal plants and agarwood-producing species; annotations; and proposals for possible consideration at the sixteenth Conference of the Parties (CoP16).

This report contains a summary of the outcomes of all three meetings.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CITES ANIMALS AND PLANTS COMMITTEES

CITES was established 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 in Washington D.C., US, on 3 March 1973, and entered into force on 1 July 1975. There are currently 175 parties to the Convention.

The aim of CITES is to ensure that international trade of wild animal and plant species does not threaten their survival. CITES parties regulate wildlife trade through controls and regulations on species listed in three appendices. Appendix I lists species endangered due to international trade, permitting such trade only in exceptional circumstances. Appendix II species are those that may become endangered if their trade is not regulated, thus requiring controls aimed at preventing unsustainable use, maintaining ecosystems and preventing species from entering Appendix I. Appendix III species are those subject to domestic regulation by a party requesting the cooperation of other parties to control international trade in that species. In order to list a species in Appendix I or II, a party must submit a proposal for approval by the Conference of the Parties (CoP), supported by scientific and technical data on population and trade trends. The proposal must be adopted by a two-thirds majority of parties present and voting. As the trade impact on a species increases or decreases, the CoP decides whether or not it should be transferred or removed from the Appendices.

There are approximately 5,000 fauna species and 29,000 flora species protected under the three CITES Appendices. Parties regulate the international trade of CITES species through a system of permits and certificates that are required before specimens are imported, exported or introduced from the sea. Each party is required to adopt national legislation and to designate two national authorities, namely, a Management Authority responsible for issuing permits and certificates based on the advice of the second national body, the Scientific Authority. These national authorities also assist with CITES enforcement through cooperation with customs, police and other appropriate agencies. Parties maintain trade records that are forwarded annually to the CITES Secretariat, thus enabling the compilation of statistical information on the global volume of international trade in Appendix-listed species. The operational bodies of CITES include the SC and two scientific committees: the PC and AC.

CONFERENCES OF THE PARTIES: The first CoP was held in Bern, Switzerland, in November 1976, and subsequent CoPs have been held every two to three years. The CoP meets to, inter alia: review progress in the conservation of species included in the Appendices; discuss and adopt proposals to amend the lists of species in Appendices I and II; consider recommendations and proposals from parties, the Secretariat, the SC and the scientific committees; and recommend measures to improve the effectiveness of the Convention and the functioning of the Secretariat. The CoP also periodically reviews the list of resolutions and decisions, as well as the species listed in the Appendices.

PC 16/AC 22 JOINT SESSION: A joint session of the AC and PC was held from 7-8 July 2006, in Lima, Peru. It addressed issues of common interest to both committees, including: proposed amendments to the rules of procedure; the review of the scientific committees; the RST in Madagascar; transport of live specimens; and the Addis Ababa Principles and Guidelines for the Sustainable Use of Biodiversity adopted by the CBD.

AC 22: The 22nd meeting of the CITES Animals Committee convened from 7-13 July 2006, in Lima, Peru. The AC adopted six recommendations to be presented at CoP14 on issues including: the RST; transport of live specimens; sea cucumbers; conservation and management of sharks; and the periodic review.

CITES CoP14: The 14th meeting of the CITES Conference of the Parties convened from 3-15 June 2007, in The Hague, the Netherlands. CoP14 adopted resolutions and decisions including: the CITES Strategic Vision 2008-2013; a guide to compliance with the Convention; management of annual export quotas; and species trade and conservation issues, including Asian big cats, sharks and sturgeons. Regarding species listings, CoP14 decided to list: slenderhorned and Cuvier’s gazelles and slow loris on Appendix I; sawfish and eel on Appendix II; and to amend the annotation on African elephants to allow a one-off sale of ivory from Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe with a nine-year resting period for further ivory trade.

PC 17/AC 23 JOINT SESSION: The joint session of the CITES PC and AC convened on 19 April 2008, in Geneva, Switzerland. The PC/AC addressed issues including: the revision of the terms of reference of the scientific committees; cooperation with advisory bodies of other biodiversity-related multilateral environmental agreements; the RST; an international expert workshop on NDFs; and transport of live animals and plants.

AC 23: The 23rd meeting of the CITES Animals Committee convened from 19-23 April 2008, in Geneva, Switzerland. The AC addressed issues including: the RST; conservation and management of sharks; the periodic review; and a proposal to transfer the Mexican population of Crocodylus moreletii (Morelet’s crocodile) from Appendix I to Appendix II.

PC 18: The 18th meeting of the CITES Plants Committee convened from 17-21 March 2009, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The PC addressed 22 agenda items, including: the RST in Appendix II species; the periodic review of plant species included in the CITES Appendices; timber issues; strategic planning; the report of the International Expert Workshop on NDFs; and annotations.

AC 24: The 24th meeting of the CITES Animals Committee convened from 20-24 April 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland. AC24 discussed 22 agenda items on a wide range of topics, including: RST in Appendix II species; the periodic review of animal species, such as Lynx spp., included in the CITES Appendices; sharks and stingrays; sturgeons and paddlefish; the report of the International Expert Workshop on NDFs; and proposals to amend the Appendices for possible consideration at the 15th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP15).

CoP15: CoP15 convened from 13-25 March 2010, in Doha, Qatar. CoP15 adopted resolutions and decisions on a wide range of topics including: electronic permitting, Asian big cats, rhinoceroses, bigleaf mahogany and Madagascar plant species. Regarding species listings, CoP15 decided to list: Kaiser’s spotted newt, five species of tree frogs, the unicorn beetle, rosewood, holywood and several Madagascar plant species, among others.

PC 19: The 19th meeting of the CITES Plants Committee convened from 18-21 April 2011, in Geneva, Switzerland. The PC adopted recommendations on the PC workplan, NDFs, the periodic review and amendments to the Appendices and the RST; and established seven intersessional WGs, including on NDFs, the periodic review, annotations and climate change.

AC 25: The 25th meeting of the CITES Animals Committee convened from 18-22 July 2011, in Geneva, Switzerland. AC 25 discussed seventeen substantive items, including: cooperation with other multilateral instruments; strategic planning; capacity building; NDFs; the RST in Appendix II species; the periodic review of animal species included in the Appendices; amendments to the Appendices; sharks; snakes; and sturgeon. AC 25 adopted recommendations on: the Biodiversity Indicators Partnership; the periodic review; RST; ranching; identification of CITES-listed corals in trade; progress on the Identification Manual; production systems; sturgeons; sharks; snakes; turtles and tortoises; and sea cucumbers.

AC 26 REPORT

On Thursday morning, 15 March 2012, Carlos Ibero Solana (Spain), Chair of the Animals Committee (AC) opened the meeting. CITES Secretary-General John Scanlon welcomed participants to the first of a series of meetings of the scientific bodies of the Convention. He acknowledged the important work done by the Committees who rely on the voluntary work of individuals. He highlighted some issues under consideration by the 26th meeting of the AC (AC26) and the joint AC/Plant Committee (PC) meeting in Dublin, including: the review of significant trade (RST); non-detriment findings (NDFs); and criteria for listing in the CITES Appendices.

AC Chair Solana highlighted the record number of more than 200 registered participants as a sign of party interest in scientific deliberations. He stressed that the increased workload for the AC would require greater financial or staff support.

The AC adopted the rules of procedure (AC26 Doc.2), the agenda (AC26 Doc.3.1) without amendments, and the working programme (AC25 Doc.3.2) with minor amendments. The Committee also considered the admission of observers and adopted the list of observers (AC26 Doc.4).

PERIODIC REVIEW

OVERVIEW OF SPECIES UNDER REVIEW: On Thursday, 15 March, the Secretariat introduced the document on the species under review (AC26 Doc.13.1). He highlighted the addition of two columns, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) category and range states, respectively, which have not been filled. He said IUCN would provide an information document with the relevant status information.

The Europe representative stressed the need to distinguish between species selected for review and species actively under review, noting for example the absence of volunteers for the Felidae review. Citing Panthera leo (lion), he also noted that the Africa representative offered to conduct a periodic review, which Kenya and Namibia would lead, and drew attention to the report on an African lion workshop (submitted by the UK as AC26 Inf.7).

On species selected for review, AC Chair Solana responded that Mexico had previously suggested specifying the stage of the review. However, due to an oversight, that suggestion had not been reflected in the document.

Mexico underscored that the AC requested support from the Secretariat to send notifications to offer help with pending reviews, specifying that the list should include range states and IUCN category.

Namibia sought clarification from the Europe representative on the relationship between the information document on the African lion workshop and this agenda item, noting that, given the link between the workshop and the periodic review, range states will have to review their decision to participate in the workshop.

SPECIES SELECTED FOR REVIEW FROM COP13 (2004) TO COP15 (2010): On Thursday, 15 March, the Secretariat introduced the relevant document on species selected for review from the 13th Conference of the Parties (CoP13) to CoP15 (AC26 Doc.13.2). He highlighted that, at the request of the AC, the Secretariat had issued a notification to parties on 21 September 2011, in which the AC invited volunteers to complete outstanding reviews of animal species selected for the period 2004-2010. He said that at the time of writing (end of January 2012), Australia had offered to conduct reviews of Rheobatrachus silus (Southern platypus frog) and Rheobatrachus vitellinus (Northern platypus frog), and China had submitted a review of Andrias davidianus (Chinese giant salamander)(AC26 Doc.13.2 Annex).

China highlighted the suggestion to keep A. davidianus on Appendix I, which was supported by the Europe representative and the US.

PERIODIC REVIEW OF GALLIFORMES: On Thursday, 15 March, the alternate North America representative introduced an annex to the document (AC26 Doc.13.2.1 Annex), noting the two-fold intent of the annex: first, to demonstrate how readily-available scientific and trade information can be used by parties and range states for undertaking a periodic review of species in the Appendices; and second, to inform further work by the intersessional Periodic Review WG on Galliformes.

She also requested further information and comments from range states, and stated that the annex would help the WG to evaluate which of the 16 Galliformes species reviewed are appropriately placed in the Appendices or whether action is required to up, down, or de-list certain species. The Secretariat thanked the US for funding and carrying out the review, noting that this model serves as an effective pilot for periodic reviews.

SPECIES SELECTED FOR REVIEW FROM CoP15 (2010) TO CoP17 (2016): On Thursday, 15 March, the Secretariat introduced the document on the 40 animal taxa selected for review between the 15th and 17th meetings of the CoP (2010-2016) (AC26 Doc.13.3) and reported that Australia, Cuba, Mexico and the US had volunteered to conduct reviews of a total of 19 species.

Mexico reported on the review of Caracara lutosa (Guadalupe caracara), included in document AC26 Doc.13.3 Annex. They recommended that since this species has not been observed in the wild or in captivity in the past century, it should be deleted from the Appendices. They highlighted the need to streamline procedures for periodic reviews. The EU supported Mexico’s proposal to delete the species from the Appendices. The EU, on behalf of Hungary, also mentioned a potential “look-alike concern” for this species, because it resembles an extant species of caracara, but stated that the few caracara species exist are not traded, the risk to extant species is negligible. The North America representative agreed with the EU on both points.

The Committee established a WG, co-chaired by AC Chair Solana and Rosemarie Gnam (US). The WG met on Friday and Saturday, 16-17 March, to: review the table in the annex to document AC26. Doc.13.1; for species selected for review from CoP13 to CoP15: consider options to deal with or terminate the reviews of the remaining species; and, for species selected for review from CoP15 to CoP17, review the information contained in AC26 Doc.13.2.1 and its annex, and make recommendations regarding the listing in the Appendices of the ten species of Galliformes under review.

On Monday, 19 March, the Committee discussed the report of the WG and suggested several amendments. On Tuesday, 20 March, AC26 agreed to the WG’s recommendations with minor amendments.

Outcome: In the recommendations (AC26 WG1 Doc. 2) for the taxa discussed at AC26 for the review period CoP13-CoP15, the Committee recommends:

•  Amphibia: deleting all species from Appendix II;

•  Mammalia: terminating review for all species;

•  Aves: retaining in Appendix I Catreus wallichi (cheer pheasant), Crossoptilon harmani (Tibetan eared pheasant), Lophophorus impejanus (impeyan pheasant), L. lhuysii, L. sclateri, Mitu mitu (alagoas curassaw), Syrmaticus humiae (Hume’s pheasant) and Tragopan melanocephalus (Western horned tragopan); retain in Appendix II Argusianus argus (Argus pheasant), Polyplectron bicalcaratum (common peacock-pheasant) and P. germaini (Germain’s peacock-pheasant); delete from Appendix II Gallus sonneratii (grey junglefowl) and Ithaginis cruentus (blood pheasant); delete from Appendix I Lophura imperialis (imperial pheasant); and transfer from Appendix I to II Tetraogallus caspius (Caspian snowcock) and T. tibetanus (Tibetan snowcock).

For the review period CoP15 to CoP17, the Committee recommends:

•  Mammalia: delete from Appendix I Thylacinus cynocephalus (Tasmanian wolf), Onychogalea lunata (crescent nailtail wallaby), Caloprymnus campestris (rat kangaroo), Chaeropus ecaudatus (pig-footed bandicoot) and Macrotis leucura (bandicoot); delete from Appendix II Pteropus brunneus (dusky flying fox) and P. subniger (dark flying fox); and transfer from Appendix I to II Sminthopsis longicaudata (long-tailed marsupial mouse).

•  Aves: delete from Appendix I Podilymbus gigas (giant grebe) and Psephotus pulcherrimus (paradise parrot); delete from Appendix II Sceloglaux albifacies (laughing owl).

•  Reptilia: delete from Appendix II Phelsuma gigas (Mauritius boa), and retain in Appendix I Bolyeria multocarinata (giant day gecko).

The Committee requests the Secretariat to include in future versions of the “Overview of species under review” table: the Appendix in which the species is listed; the IUCN Red List category and assessment date; the range states; the status of the review including the name of the party who undertook the completed review or is undertaking the ongoing review; and outstanding requested reviews and proposals.

The Committee further requests the Secretariat to: include in future notifications to the parties on periodic review, a list of range states of species for which reviews and proposals are requested, as well as the contact of the relevant IUCN/Species Survival Commission (SSC) Specialist Group; and to issue a notification to the parties with the list of species identified in the table in AC26 WG1 Doc.2 requesting volunteers to conduct the reviews or prepare proposals.

CRITERIA FOR THE INCLUSION OF SPECIES IN APPENDICES I AND II

On Thursday, 15 March, in plenary, AC Vice-Chair Carolina Caceres (North America representative and Chair of the WG), presented the progress of the WG on the criteria for the inclusion of species in Appendices I and II (AC26 Doc.14). She noted that during the intersessional period, the WG discussed, inter alia: varying approaches to listing species; and risk and vulnerability among marine species. She proposed developing guidance on the definition of commercially exploited aquatic species, which are generally understood but not formally defined. She noted three possible avenues for further discussion: maintaining the status quo; revising existing guidance; or providing new, stand-alone guidance. AC Chair Solana asked Samuel Kasiki (Kenya), Africa representative, to serve as WG Co-Chair. Parties discussed WG membership and agreed that additional members could join.

On Tuesday, 20 March, Caceres introduced the draft recommendations (AC26 WG2 Doc.1).

On noting the lack of a definition of commercially exploited aquatic species, Japan expressed concern that reference to UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) documentation including a definition was not appropriate. FAO said the referenced report is background analysis not intended to provide a definition. AC Chair Solana proposed referring to the FAO document without referencing a definition. The Asia representative favored deleting the paragraph rather than proposing a definition of commercially exploited aquatic species. Caceres, supported by Australia and the Europe representative, stressed that the WG’s aim was to note a point of discussion, not propose a definition, and suggested referencing a general understanding. The US, supported by Japan and the FAO, suggested noting that “FAO documentation indicates that commercially exploited aquatic species refer to fish and invertebrate species found in marine environments or in large freshwater bodies and subject to commercial exploitation.”

The AC adopted the recommendation of the WG with these amendments.

Outcome: In the recommendation (AC26 WG2 Doc.1), the Committee:

•  encourages parties to elucidate the vulnerabilities with respect to commercially exploited aquatic species;

•  notes the lack of a definition of commercially exploited aquatic species in existing CITES documentation and that FAO documentation references fish and invertebrate species found in marine environments or in large freshwater bodies and subject to commercially exploitation; and

•  notes the issue of the complexity of determining whether a commercially-exploited aquatic species qualifies for listing on CITES Appendix II when the species is found in multiple stocks or subpopulations with various statuses and invites the SC to consider continuing to discuss this matter.

STURGEONS AND PADDLEFISH

SECRETARIAT’S REPORT: On Thursday, 15 March, the Secretariat presented the report on sturgeons and paddlefish (AC26 Doc.15.1), highlighting the zero export quota published by the Secretariat for the period 1 March 2011 to 29 February 2013 for all range states. He emphasized that the shift to aquaculture and captive breeding of sturgeons all over the world may soon make it difficult for caviar from wild sturgeon populations to find a place in the international market, thus reducing incentives for wild stock conservation. He invited the AC to consider the need for these reports at each AC meeting. 

The Asia representative mentioned the moratoria on sturgeon fishing in the Caspian Sea range states, and, with the US, requested the Secretariat to continue preparing annual reports on sturgeon and paddlefish for the AC meetings. Canada highlighted the preparation of a regional conservation strategy with the US and on the implementation of sustainable management practices for Atlantic sturgeon.

PROGRESS REPORT ON THE EVALUATION OF THE EXISTING STURGEON STOCK ASSESSMENT AND TAC DETERMINATION METHODOLOGY IN THE CASPIAN RANGE STATES: On Thursday, 15 March, the Secretariat introduced the document (AC26 Doc.15.2) and noted the poor response of Caspian littoral states to the three-year evaluation and to the implementation of the recommendation of SC61, which requested range states to provide annual reports on progress in improving the existing sturgeon stock assessment and total allowable catch (TAC) determination methodology, starting with AC26. The Asia representative emphasized that the SC61 recommendations established a road map and requested the Secretariat to facilitate the organization of a workshop on how to practically implement them. The Russian Federation highlighted a stock assessment workshop organized in the Russian Federation in 2011.

REVIEW OF RESOLUTION CONF. 12.7 (REV. COP14) ON CONSERVATION OF AND TRADE IN STURGEONS AND PADDLEFISH REGARDING CAVIAR LABELING, PRODUCT SOURCES AND SPECIES IDENTIFICATION: The Asia representative presented an oral report on the intersessional WG, and suggested the WG continue to work on this matter.   

The AC established a WG mandated to: review Resolution Conf. 12.7 (Rev. CoP14) regarding caviar labeling, product sources and species identification; and provide recommendations on annual reporting by the Secretariat and on instructions given to the AC to monitor progress in the evaluation of stock assessment.

The WG, chaired by the alternate representative of Asia, Mohammad Pourkazemi (Iran) and the Africa representative, Khaled Zhazah (Tunisia), met on Friday and Saturday. The WG reviewed the resolution on caviar labeling, product sources and species identification, and proposed draft amendments for consideration by the Committee. They also considered actions proposed and amendments concerning reports written by the Secretariat on AC activities relating to the conservation of and trade in sturgeons and paddlefish.

On Monday, 19 March, in plenary, Zhazah presented the recommendations of the WG, suggesting a textual change from “ensure” to “facilitate” with regards to the AC request that the SC encourage the implementation of recommendations. AC26 then adopted the WG recommendations with this minor amendment.

Outcome: In the final recommendation (AC26 WG3 Doc.1), the AC agrees, inter alia, to:

•  amend the definitions of non-reusable caviar labels and secondary containers;

•  recommend that the Secretariat continue to produce a written report at each AC meeting on activities related to sturgeon and paddlefish conservation and trade;

•  note limited progress on recommendations since SC61; and

•  request the SC to consider ways to facilitate the implementation of recommendations.

SHARKS   

REPORT OF THE WORKING GROUP: On Thursday, 15 March, Hugh Robertson (New Zealand), Oceania representative and intersessional WG Chair, introduced the relevant document (AC26 Doc.16.1), noting that by the reporting deadline set in the Notification, the Secretariat had received responses from the European Union (EU) (on behalf of 27 parties), Canada, New Zealand, Peru and the US. He said that because of delays in notifications, the WG could not report on any progress.

Canada noted that FAO is the most appropriate body to report on shark management and conservation issues, though also recognized that collaboration with CITES is critical. The Pew Environment Group highlighted the complementarity of CITES and FAO activities.

FAO emphasized the activities it has undertaken for the management and conservation of sharks, including: a report, that will be available in July 2012 for the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI), which will include a compilation of measures and activities undertaken by Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) with regards to conservation and management of sharks; the FAO/CITES report of the workshop to review the application and effectiveness of international regulatory measures for the conservation and sustainable use of elasmobranchs; a guide for identification of shark fins; and guidelines for the management of deep sea fisheries on high seas and areas beyond national jurisdiction.

The Secretariat reiterated that it continues to work very closely with FAO on shark matters. He also highlighted the joint programme of work on migratory sharks with the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS).

REPORT FROM PARTIES: On Thursday, 15 March, the Secretariat introduced the relevant document (AC26 Doc.16.2). The Secretariat noted that more reports have been submitted since the deadline set in the Notification to the Parties of 10 November 2011, highlighting that currently one fourth of the CITES membership has responded.

Argentina said it is preparing a response, highlighting its adoption of a national plan for sharks, as well as specific regional plans and programmes, including the Argentina-Uruguay joint fishing programme. China noted the role of FAO and RFMOs in enhancing shark conservation and proposed the review of three shark species currently listed under Appendix II, namely Cetorhinus maximus (basking shark), Carcharodon carcharias (great white) and Rhincodon typus (whale shark).  Japan called for reviewing the effectiveness of Appendix shark listings. Similarly, the Republic of Korea questioned whether CITES listings are effective for commercially-exploited marine species.

WWF, supported by the AC Chair, questioned why the mentioned shark species would be singled out for review, noting that there are mechanisms for reviewing the efficiency of CITES listings.

DRAFT PROPOSAL TO INCLUDE LAMNA NASUS IN APPENDIX II: On Thursday, 15 March, in plenary, Germany presented a draft proposal to include Lamna nasus (porbeagle shark) in Appendix II (AC26 Doc.26.2 Annex). He requested scientific advice and guidance on the draft proposal. The EU and US stated that based on their initial evaluations, the proposal provided sufficient evidence that it met the listing criteria according to their interpretations of those criteria.

Japan did not agree that the draft proposal met criteria for Appendix II and questioned whether the proposal met the terms of reference for the AC. The Secretariat clarified that the AC is mandated to offer technical commentary on the content of the draft proposal, independent of its outcome. The Committee established a WG on sharks, co-chaired by Robertson and the alternate Asia representative, Nobuo Ishii (Japan).

The Shark WG met on Friday, Saturday and Monday 16, 17 and 19 March. The WG discussed: Germany’s listing proposal; national reports; the report of the CITES/FAO workshop to review the application and effectiveness of international regulatory measures for the conservation and sustainable use of sharks; complementarity with RFMO measures; outstanding information and analysis concerns, such as whether to attach party responses to the CITES shark questionnaire as a list of shark species or to compile it in a table with additional information for analysis; and an in-progress FAO review of commercially exploited aquatic species.

On Tuesday, 20 March, the AC adopted the WG recommendations with minor amendments.

Outcome: In the final recommendation (AC26 WG4 Doc.1), which contains an appended list of shark species submitted by parties that they believe require additional action to enhance their conservation and management, the AC recommends, inter alia, that the CITES Secretariat:

•  contact the top 26 shark fishing member states that did not respond to CITES notifications relating to sharks or to the FAO questionnaire on the status of implementation of the FAO International Plan of Action for Conservation and Management of Sharks (IPOA-Sharks), and encourage a response and make this information publicly available to parties;

•  invite parties that responded to the CITES notification but did not provide information on trade in sharks and on domestic measures regulating the import or export of shark parts and products to do so and to make this information publicly available to parties;

•  issue a notification alerting parties when the FAO report “The Implementation of the International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks” becomes available and provide a link to this document;

•  request from FAO the terms of reference for the FAO assessment to be undertaken regarding all commercially exploited aquatic species listed in the CITES Appendices, make this information available to parties through a notification and request FAO to report on progress; and

•  issue a notification to parties requesting them to summarize and provide copies of, or links to, their domestic laws and regulations that prohibit the landing or trade of shark species and products, and make this information available on the CITES website; and collaborate with FAO to develop a single, regularly updated source summarizing current RFMO measures for shark conservation and management.

The AC also, inter alia:

•  encourages parties to work with CMS on shark species listed in the relevant Appendices to CITES and CMS, including by prohibiting the taking of these species and to implement measures through the Migratory Sharks Memorandum of Understanding (MOU);

•  urges parties that are shark fishing states to develop National Plans of Action (NPOA) and to take steps to improve research and data collection on both fisheries and trade at the lowest taxonomic level possible (ideally by species); and

•  encourages parties to improve data collection, data reporting and management and conservation measures for sharks species through domestic, bilateral, RFMOs, or other measures.

SNAKES

On Thursday, 15 March, the alternate Europe representative, Mattias Lörtscher (Switzerland), gave an oral report from the intersessional WG on snake trade and conservation management, noting that the WG did not conduct any intersessional work. He highlighted two tasks for AC26: collating existing identification material for live snakes, parts and derivatives; and reviewing the IUCN Red Listing for Asian snakes in order to recommend amendments to CITES Appendices. The US said it would submit an information document on the IUCN Red List and potential candidate snake species for the WG’s consideration.

The WG, chaired by the Asia representative, Suharsono Soemorumekso (Indonesia), and alternate Europe representative, Lörtscher, met on Friday, 16, Saturday, 17 and Monday, 19 March. On Monday, in plenary, the AC discussed: the existing identification materials for live snakes, parts and derivatives; the outputs of the IUCN Red Listing process for Asian snakes; and other actions. The final recommendations were adopted with minor amendments.

Outcome: In the final recommendations (AC26 WG5 Doc.1), the AC agrees to: until the end of 2012 compile a list of existing identification materials for live snakes, skins and products of snake leather; and search for existing scientific literature. The AC also instructs the Secretariat to issue a notification to the parties to, inter alia, inform them of the IUCN Red List Assessment. Finally, it recommends that a decision be forwarded to CoP16, directing AC27 to consider the IUCN final Red List Assessment and, if available, consider new information and data.

TORTOISES AND FRESHWATER TURTLES

On Thursday, 15 March, the Secretariat introduced document AC26 Doc.18. The Committee established a WG to: assess progress on a NDF study for tortoises and freshwater turtles; review the results of two workshops on tortoises and freshwater turtles, which were organized in 2010 in North America and in 2011 in Asia; and make recommendations to SC62 or CoP16.

The WG, co-chaired by the Central and South America and the Caribbean representatives, Marcel Calvar Agrelo (Uruguay) and José Alberto Álvarez Lemus (Cuba), met on Friday, 16, Saturday, 17 and Monday, 19 March, and assessed progress with the study to identify and discuss factors that are of particular relevance to make NDFs for tortoises and freshwater turtles, as well as reviewed the results of the North American Turtle Trade workshop.

On Tuesday, 20 March, in plenary, the AC heard the proposed recommendations. Several parties discussed changes to the recommendations, including a revision by China to exclude some parties from the Notification inviting parties to take note of the information and recommendations contained in reports from the North America Turtle Trade and Singapore workshop.

Outcome: In the recommendations (AC26 WG6 Doc.1), the AC recommends a series of draft decisions, including one directing the Secretariat to contract independent consultants to undertake a study to identify elements for an NDF, taking into account the findings of the Cancun NDF workshop. The AC also requests the Secretariat to prepare a notification to inform parties of the reports of the above mentioned workshops and encourage them to take note of the information contained therein and, if appropriate, consider preparing amendment proposals and implementing domestic measures to address the conservation of the species.

SEA CUCUMBERS

On Thursday, 15 March, the Oceania representative, Hugh Robertson, introduced the document on sustainable use and management of sea cucumbers (AC26 Doc.19). He noted that FAO has promoted sea cucumber fisheries management globally, including organizing regional workshops, and urged parties to take advantage of FAO documents. He concluded that the majority of the WG’s tasks are complete and the only outstanding task is to send a notification to the parties. FAO highlighted FAO regional workshops and publications providing guidance and support for the management and conservation of sea cucumbers and requested the AC assist in dissemination. Participants discussed forming a WG and decided to form a drafting group, co-chaired by Robertson and the alternate North America representative, Rosemary Gnam.

The drafting group met on Saturday, 17 and Monday, 19 March. On Tuesday, 20 March, in plenary, Gnam introduced the draft recommendations, which were adopted without amendments.

Outcome: In the recommendations (AC26 DG1 Doc.1), the AC:

•  recommends that the Secretariat issue a notification to the parties drawing attention to FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Papers 516 and 520 arising from the FAO Workshop on Sustainable Use and Management of Sea Cucumber Fisheries; and

•  encourages range countries to promote the conservation of the species.

REVIEW OF SIGNIFICANT TRADE IN SPECIMENS OF APPENDIX-II SPECIES

OVERVIEW OF THE SPECIES-BASED RST: On Friday, 16 March, the Secretariat presented the report on the overview of the species-based RST (AC26 Doc.12.1), noting the annex summarizes species selected by CoP11. He informed the Committee that the online RST management system is available for use on the CITES website and encouraged participants to use it and provide feedback.

SPECIES SELECTED FOR RST FOLLOWING CoP13 and CoP14: On Friday, 16 March, the Secretariat presented relevant documentation on species selected for RST following CoP13 and CoP14 (AC26 Doc.12.2 and 12.2 Annex), noting that information on species for RST following CoP14, categorized by the UN Environment Programme-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) as “urgent, possible and least concern,” was compiled. UNEP-WCMC presented the methodology and results of the report.

The Asia representative reported that all Caspian range states have signed a moratorium for 2012 on commercial fishing of sturgeon and, with the Russian Federation, requested a deadline of two months for Russian Federation, Iran and Kazakhstan to notify the Secretariat of their zero export quota for 2012 so that the provisional categorization can be changed from “possible concern” to “least concern”. Madagascar reported that they had submitted all required documentation by the deadline except on Mantella bernhardi (Bernhard’s mantella). AC Chair Solana commended Madagascar for progress made.

Defenders of Wildlife said the AC should consider including Mantella baroni (Baron’s mantella) in the RST, as the export quota has doubled. Madagascar confirmed the increased export quota to 10,000 specimens. AC Chair Solana urged Madagascar to take measures to avoid the re-inclusion of the species in the RST. The AC established a WG on RST chaired by Vincent Fleming (UK), the Europe representative, and Caceres, the North America representative.

The RST WG met on Saturday, 17 March, to consider species selected for RST following CoP13 and CoP14. The WG reviewed the information compiled by UNEP-WCMC and additional information provided by the Secretariat on the ten taxa selected following CoP14. On Tursiops aduncus (bottlenose dolphin) for the Solomon Islands, WWF suggested categorizing it as “urgent concern” and the Secretariat stated that reduction in the quota mentioned in the reply by the Solomon Islands is not yet acted upon. The WG agreed the recommendations by UNEP-WCMC to categorize the species as “possible concern.” On Balearica pavonina (black-crowned crane), Species Survival Network (SSN) suggested considering it as “urgent concern” for Guinea, and the UK for “possible concern” for Nigeria. The WG agreed to the proposed changes for these two countries and to the recommendations of UNEP-WCMC for the remaining ones.

 On Mantella aurantiaca (golden frog), SSN and Prowildlife suggested retaining it as “urgent concern” given its critically-endangered status and questioning the use of population models to establish export quotas, while the UK, noting the positive steps taken by Madagascar favored retaining it as “possible concern.” Madagascar reported on its new conservation strategy for the species and ongoing work. The WG agreed to the categorization of M. aurantiaca as of possible concern. On Hippocampus kelloggi (great seahorse), Thailand requested that all Hippocampus species under review be considered as “possible concern” rather than “urgent concern” for the country, while IUCN, supported by SSN, favored retaining it as “urgent concern” because of the high level of unregulated exports. The WG agreed to the UNEP-WCMC recommendation of “urgent concern” for H. kelloggi, H. kuda (common seahorse) and H. spinosissimus (hedgehog seahorse) in Thailand. IUCN also mentioned trade issues related to H. kelloggi in China. 

On Pandinus imperator (emperor scorpion), the UK suggested re-categorizing it as “possible concern” for Togo instead of as “urgent concern” and the Secretariat stated that the species is very common. The WGs agreed to this and to the categorization for the remaining states as recommended by UNEP-WCMC. On Huso huso (beluga), the recommendation by UNEP-WCMC is as  “least concern” for the identified range states except for Iran, Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation where it is recommended as “possible concern.” The WG agreed to these recommendations.

The WG also considered information on Calumma and Furcifer spp. (chameleon) and Mantella baroni provided by Madagascar. Madagascar reported that it has established a zero export quota for the seven species of chameleons, and of 250 live specimens of Furcifer campanii for 2012 and 2013. Responding to a query by Defenders of Wildlife on the increased export quota for Mantella baroni, from 5,000 to 10,000 live specimens, and the request that the species be re-included in the RST, Madagascar clarified that this revised quota was based on a review of the species that showed improvement in its habitats and on consistently lower exports than the established quota, because of little demand for the species. The WG agreed to the response from Madagascar.

On Monday, 19 March, the WG reviewed draft recommendations and on Tuesday, 20 March, the AC adopted the WG’s recommendations with minor changes.

Outcome: In its recommendations (AC26 WG7 Doc.1) concerning the categorization of the ten taxa selected following CoP14, the AC recommends the following:

•  Tursiops aduncus as of possible concern for Solomon Islands;

•  Balearica pavonina as of urgent concern for Guinea, possible concern for Nigeria, Sudan and South Sudan; and least concern for the remaining range states;

•  B. regulorum as of possible concern for Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania, and least concern for the remaining range states;

•  Mantella aurantiaca as of possible concern for Madagascar;

•  Huso huso as of possible concern for Iran, Kazakhstan and Russian Federation, and least concern for the remaining range states;

•  Hippocampus kelloggi, H. kuda and H. spinosissimus as of urgent concern for Thailand, H. kelloggi and H. spinosissimus as of least concern for the remaining range states; and H. kuda as of possible concern in Viet Nam and of least concern for the remaining range states;

•  Pandinus imperator as of urgent concern for Ghana and Benin, possible concern for Togo and Guinea and least concern for the remaining range states; and

•  Tridacna derasa as of urgent concern and T. squamosa, T. gigas, T. crocea and T. maxima as of possible concern for the Solomon Islands.

Concerning the information provided by Madagascar on chameleon species, the WG endorsed the export quota for 2012 and 2013 of 250 live specimens of Furcifer campanii and a zero export quota for the other seven species under review, for transmission to the SC for consideration. The WG also agreed to the response provided by Madagascar on the increased export quota for Mantella baroni.

SPECIES SELECTED FOLLOWING COP15: On Friday, 16 March, in plenary, the Secretariat introduced the document on species selected following CoP15 (AC26 Doc.12.3). He noted that AC25 selected 24 animal taxa for RST and range states had been notified and requested to submit comments. The Committee agreed that the RST WG would, inter alia: review the submitted responses to verify implementation; compile relevant information; recommend action for the compilation of taxon and country specific assessments; and establish interim export quotas.

The RST WG met on Saturday, 17 March, and Monday, 19 March, to consider species selected for RST following CoP15 and review information presented in AC26 Doc.12.3 and the responses from affected range states made available by the Secretariat for their possible retention in the RST. The WG agreed that countries that had not sent responses to the Secretariat would all be retained in the RST except when satisfactory responses were provided at this meeting. The WG further agreed that, while recommended to be retained in the RST, countries would be removed when evidence of no commercial trade in the species was collected during the review.

On Monday, 19 March, the WG reviewed the draft recommendations and on Tuesday, 20 March, the AC agreed to the WG’s recommendations without amendments.

Outcome: In its recommendations (AC26 WG7 Doc.1), concerning the taxa selected following CoP15 and their possible retention in the RST, the AC recommends, inter alia:

•  to retain Indonesia and remove China, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand for Macaca fascicularis (crab-eating monkey);

•  to retain Guinea Bissau for Chamaeleo senegalensis (Senegal chameleon);

•  to retain Tanzania for Kinyongia fischeri (Fischer’s chameleon) and K. tavetana (Mount Kilimanjaro two-horned chameleon);

•  to retain Indonesia for Naja sputatrix (Indonesian cobra);

•  to retain Indonesia and Malaysia for Python reticulatus (reticulated python);

•  to retain RDC for Kinixys homeana (hinge-backed tortoise);

•  to remove Madagascar for Mantella bernhardi;

•  to retain China and remove Mexico for Antipatharia (black corals) and;

•  to remove Madagascar for Catalaphyllia jardinei (elegant coral), Pletogyra sinuosa (bubble coral) and Trachyphyllia geoffroy (crater coral).

The AC agrees that range states retained in the RST due to a lack of response but where no commercial trade was recorded in the UNEP-WCMC database for the most recent ten years will be removed from the RST, in agreement and in consultation with the AC.

The AC recommended that the issue of reported exports of Hippocampus histrix (spiny seahorse) from Thailand and of H. barbouri (Barbour’s seahorse) from Australia, neither of which are recorded as range states in the UNEP-WCMC database, be referred to the Secretariat for clarification.

The AC noted the difficulty in reviewing range states responses in the short period of time available and recommended that: this issue be referred to the intersessional WG on the Evaluation of RST; and the Secretariat request range states to express their agreement to make their responses publicly available in order to facilitate the early distribution of replies.

REVIEW OF OBJECTIONS TO THE REGISTRATION OF OPERATIONS THAT BREED APPENDIX-I ANIMAL SPECIES IN CAPTIVITY FOR COMMERCIAL PURPOSES

On Friday, 16 March, the Secretariat introduced the relevant document (AC26 Doc.25), including the application from Birds International, Inc. (Philippines) to register Cacatua moluccensis (Moluccan cockatoo), three C. sulphurea spp. (yellow-crested cockatoo)and Indonesia’s objection to the registration (Annexes 1-5).

The Philippines emphasized that the parent stock of the Cacatua species in the application were pre-CITES specimens. Indonesia questioned the legality of the export of the founding parental stock. The US objected to the application, noting that the documentation provided as to the origins of the parental stock is inaccurate, and the application is a resubmission of an application that was previously rejected and has not substantively changed.

The AC Chair said he would chair a WG including AC members only to review the objections. Mexico suggested that the mandate of the WG should include the review of Resolution 13.9 on encouraging cooperation between parties with ex situ breeding operations and those with in situ conservation programmes.

On Tuesday, 20 March, the WG introduced the recommendations in plenary, to which Indonesia objected. The US, supported by the Asia representative, suggested deleting the sentence “the Committee felt that it is probable that the founder stock had been acquired legitimately” in response to Indonesia’s concerns and objections. The Europe representative suggested that the language be kept and re-examined by the SC. The recommendations were adopted, with the deletion of the sentence in question.

Outcome: In its recommendations (AC26 WG8 Doc.1), the AC noted that it is not a function of the AC to determine the legal origin of the specimen. The AC felt that it was likely that significant trade in these species had occurred before listing. The AC also did not consider that an objection on the grounds that an action plan between Indonesia and the Philippines had not been adopted was a legitimate reason to prevent registration.

CORALS

On Friday, 16 March, in plenary, the Europe representative presented the intersessional WG report (AC26 Doc.21) and noted that further deliberations by the WG would be required on the provisional revised list of taxa. The Committee deferred further discussion until after the WG’s next report in plenary.

The WG, co-chaired by Europe representative Vincent Fleming, and Asia representative Soemorumekso, met on Saturday, 17 March, to draft a proposed update of the list of coral taxa for which identification to genus level was acceptable, which should, however, be identified at species level when possible.

On Tuesday, 20 March, the AC reviewed and adopted the recommendations of the WG.

Outcome: In its recommendations (AC26 WG10 Doc.1), the AC agreed that it is not possible even for an informed non-specialist, with reasonable effort, to distinguish between all the species in the genus without recourse to a specialist taxonomist, and recommended, inter alia, that the AC adopt the revised list of coral taxa attached as Annex A of the recommendations.

NOMENCLATURE MATTERS

On Friday, 16 March, Nomenclature Specialist Ute Grimm (Germany) presented the documentation on this agenda item (AC26 Doc.20). The AC stressed the importance of developing practical lists for species identification, particularly coral, and established a WG.

On Tuesday, 20 March, Grimm presented the WG’s report to plenary, noting that the recommendations as well as those previously adopted at AC25 would both be reflected in the final report to CoP16. The North America representative objected to the recommendation to change the listing of species in cases where the genus is comprised of more than one species and all the species are listed in the Appendices (Decision15.63). The Committee adopted the revised recommendation.

Outcome: In the final recommendation (AC26 WG9 Doc.1), the Committee recommends, inter alia, to:

•  not add a footnote to Primates spp. clarifying that Homo sapiens are not covered by this higher taxon listing;

•  adopt new nomenclatural standard references, as described in the relevant document, for amphibian, fish and coral species; and

•  consider the value of inserting the designation “spp” in place of the phrase “all species” in all higher taxon listings in the Appendices.

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN WILDLIFE TRADE AND WILDLIFE DISEASES    

On Friday, 16 March, the Secretariat presented the report (AC26 Doc.23 (Rev.1)) concerning the invitation received from the CMS Secretariat to become a core affiliate of the Scientific Task Force on Wildlife Diseases convened with FAO. He highlighted three main linkages of wildlife diseases to CITES implementation: spread of wildlife diseases through international trade in wild animals and their products; influence of the effects of wildlife diseases on CITES decisions, such as inclusion in Appendices or the making of NDFs; and impacts of trade restrictions for sanitary reasons on programmes designed for the sustainable use of wildlife. He invited the Committee to provide advice to SC62 on the significance of this issue, including a recommendation about the future relationship between CITES and the Scientific Task Force.

Various AC members and observers expressed the view that the issue is of relevance but is not a priority since other international organizations are already working on it and the resources of the Secretariat are limited.

Outcome: The AC took note of the report.

PROPOSALS TO AMEND THE APPENDICES

DRAFT PROPOSAL TO TRANSFER TRICHECHUS SENEGALENSIS FROM APPENDIX II TO APPENDIX I: On Monday, 19 March, the Africa representative, on behalf of Senegal, introduced the draft proposal to transfer T. senegalensis (West Africa manatee) to Appendix I (AC26 Doc.26.1 and Annex Rev.1, available only in French). The Africa representative read a statement by Senegal highlighting that the proposal followed extensive regional consultation and citing threats facing the species, including growing trade in West Africa manatee products.

The Europe representative said that there is no evidence of international legal trade but only illegal trade. The North America representative raised similar concerns. Citing the available information on population trends and size, the US noted that there is not enough information to justify transfer to Appendix I.

DRAFT PROPOSAL TO DELETE CAMPEPHILUS IMPERIALIS FROM THE APPENDICES: On Monday, 19 March, Mexico introduced a draft proposal to delete C. imperialis (imperial woodpecker) (AC26 Doc.26.3), citing that extinction took place between 1946 and 1965 without indication that extinction occurred because of international trade. He highlighted that since the species was included in the CITES Appendices in 1975, the only movement recorded in the UNEP-WCMC trade database is a re-export of four specimens from the US to Mexico in 2006 for scientific purposes. The North America and Europe representatives welcomed the proposal.

REGIONAL REPORTS

On Monday, 19 March, regional representatives presented their respective reports (AC26 Doc.27.1 - 27.6). The Africa representative apologized for the unavailability of his report on the CITES website, noting it would be uploaded soon. He highlighted key existing and emerging issues in the region, inter alia: pilot projects approved and funded through the African Elephant Fund; the periodic review of the African lion; collaborations with other MEAs; and the significant increases in poaching and illegal trade of rhino horn and elephant ivory. The Asia representative highlighted, inter alia: efforts by China, Singapore and Indonesia to implement CITES, including conservation, legislation and law enforcement; and public awareness activities by Thailand and Indonesia to promote understanding of sustainable wildlife use. The Central and South America and the Caribbean representative highlighted activities reported by countries in the region, including, inter alia: the management and implementation of action plans for sharks and crocodiles in Colombia; and the monitoring of nesting areas of marine turtles in Cuba.

The Europe representative described activities for the recovery of the stock of European eel, and the European Commission contribution of €3 million to the CITES Secretariat.

The North America representative highlighted the Tree frog identification guide and the proposed resolution on NDFs to be submitted at the Joint AC/PC meeting in Dublin on 22-24 March. The Oceania representative highlighted capacity-building activities.

TIME AND VENUE OF AC27

On Monday, 19 March, the Secretariat informed the plenary that AC27 is provisionally planned to be held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 7-11 April 2014, but he welcomed offers from a country to volunteer to host the AC meeting.

OTHER BUSINESS

On Monday, 19 March, Mexico reported on their Crocodylus moreletii programme, jointly undertaken with Belize and Guatemala. She said she would present future progress at CoP16 and that a procedural and methodological manual is available as an information document (AC26. Inf.11).

Chair Solana gaveled the meeting to a close at 6:34 pm.

JOINT MEETING OF THE ANIMALS AND PLANTS COMMITTEES REPORT

On Thursday, 22 March, Jimmy Deenihan, T.D., Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, opened the joint meeting of the CITES Animals and Plants Committees (AC/PC) in Dublin, Ireland, bringing together over 150 delegates. The joint meeting was co-chaired by AC Chair Carlos Ibero Solana (Spain) and PC Chair Margarita Clemente (Spain).

Minister Deenihan underscored the need for CITES to protect wild flora and fauna through sustainable trade. He thanked the many organizations that made the hosting of the meetings possible, especially the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

TRANSPORT OF LIVE SPECIMENS – REPORT OF THE JOINT WORKING GROUP

On Thursday, 22 March, the Chair of the intersessional WG on Transport of Live Specimens introduced the report (AC26/PC20 Doc.11) and noted that taxa have been identified for which particular modifications of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) of live animals container requirements need to be elaborated and compiled into an addendum to the IATA/Live Animal Regulations (LAR). He also noted that IATA would consider taking responsibility for all forms of transport. The Chairs of the AC/PC set up a WG to address the draft recommendations.

On Saturday, 24 March, the WG Chair introduced the conclusions of the WG and a summary of discussions.

Outcome: In the recommendations (AC26/PC20 Doc.11), the AC/PC recommends, inter alia: replacing the CITES Guidelines for Transport and Preparation for Shipment of Wild Animals and Plants (1981) with new guidelines for non-air-transport of live animals and plants; making them available on the CITES website and sharing them with IATA; and submitting a draft decision to regularly review and amend the new CITES guidelines.

INTERGOVERNMENTAL SCIENCE-POLICY PLATFORM ON BIODIVERSITY AND ECOSYSTEM SERVICES

On Thursday, 22 March, the Secretariat introduced the relevant document (AC26/PC20 Doc.5), highlighting that the AC and PC are invited to provide suggestions for further input of the AC and PC Chairs and the Secretariat into the process of creating an Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). He also highlighted the document describing the possible elements of a work programme (AC26/PC20 Doc.5 Annex).

Mexico, supported by the Europe representative, highlighted the importance of CITES representation at IPBES and involvement in future development, especially with respect to meeting common goals and avoiding the duplication of work. He proposed that, subject to external funding, both the AC and PC are represented at IPBES along with the Secretariat.

The AC Central and South America and the Caribbean representative read the declaration of Bolivia citing concerns with respect to IPBES’ “business orientation” and supporting an IPBES that promotes best practices and the inclusion of indigenous people in decision-making. The Asia representative expressed support for CITES engagement with IPBES.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) noted, inter alia, the key role of the IUCN Specialists Groups in supporting IPBES.

The AC/PC Chairs proposed setting up a drafting group to produce a declaration for consideration at the meeting of Chairs of the Scientific Bodies and the forthcoming IPBES meeting. The North America representative suggested preparing a document for the SC to consider, and considering, as suggested by the North America representative, the budgetary implications of CITES participation in IPBES.

The PC Africa representative stressed the importance of engaging the national and subnational levels in IPBES. Humane Society International asked what CITES-related aspects would benefit most, given IPBES’ broad focus.

A WG, co-chaired by Hesiquio Benitez-Díaz, PC Vice-Chair, and the AC Europe representative, Vincent Fleming, met on Friday, 23 March.

On Saturday, 24 March, in plenary, Benitez-Díaz presented the WG document on IPBES. The AC/PC adopted the document without amendment. 

Outcome: In the recommendations (AC26/PC20 DG1 Doc.1), the AC/PC recommends, inter alia:

•  the second IPBES meeting should clarify CITES participation mechanisms in IPBES, such as a special status in IPBES similar to those organizations recognized by the IPCC;

•  there should be a two-way relationship between CITES and IPBES in which the Convention is both a user or beneficiary of and a contributor to IPBES;

•  a mechanism should be developed for facilitating communication between CITES and IPBES;

•  cooperation among the Secretariats of the biodiversity-related conventions in relation to IPBES could be facilitated through a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Biodiversity Liaison Group and the IPBES Secretariat;

•  every effort should be made to enhance effective cooperation between CITES and IPBES and to avoid duplication;

•  collaboration between CITES and IPBES should occur at the global, regional and national levels; and

•  if, following the second IPBES meeting, there is need for CITES participation in IPBES-related meetings between the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP16), the Secretariat will prepare a document proposing terms of reference guiding engagement for consideration by the 62nd meeting of the Standing Committee (SC62).

CLIMATE CHANGE – REPORT OF THE JOINT WG

On Thursday, 22 March, the AC North America representative presented the report of the intersessional WG on climate change (AC26/PC20 Doc.6). She highlighted consideration of climate change for listing criteria and non-detriment findings (NDFs). She said the majority of participants felt additional guidance on climate change was not necessary, while noting a minority view from five organizations advocating further discussion. The PC Central, South America and the Caribbean representative read a statement from Bolivia stressing the importance of climate change for CITES decision-making and NDFs. Mexico, supported by Australia, Canada, the North American representative, the European Union (EU), Norway and WWF, concluded that further action was not needed. The AC Europe representative added that climate change is only one of many drivers of biodiversity loss. Canada also welcomed initiatives that increased access to information on climate change. China suggested a database or other information mechanism on climate change.

UN Environment Programme-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) reported on a systematic review of the impacts of climate change on species, particularly terrestrial vertebrates, to inform adaptive management that will be available in August 2012. AC Chair Solana asked the WG Co-Chairs and the Secretariat to draft a document to inform SC62.

EVALUATION OF THE REVIEW OF SIGNIFICANT TRADE

On Thursday, 22 March, the Secretariat introduced the relevant documentation (AC26/PC20 Doc.7, including Annexes 1-4) summarizing the evaluation of the Review of Significant Trade (RST) process. He noted the forthcoming meeting of the advisory WG for the evaluation of the RST in June 2012 and thanked German CITES authorities for providing funding for it. TRAFFIC presented the methodology and the results of the evaluation of RST, underscoring, inter alia: the difficulty of analyzing changes in the conservation status, management and trade of the species considered for RST; the significance, across the species considered, of changes in trade patterns entailing shifts in supply among countries and, to a lesser extent, shifts to other CITES species; the success of RST in galvanizing donor funding and the still unresolved long-term financing of RST; the importance of communication issues in the RST process whereby species have been retained in the review due to lack of response from range states; the ability of RST to combine financial and technical support to countries for species work with the possibility of sanctions; and the formalization over time of the RST, resulting in trade-offs between increased transparency and engagement of stakeholders on one side, and loss of flexibility and speed on the other.

The joint AC/PC established a WG, co-chaired by the PC Nomenclature Specialist Noel McGough, and the AC North America representative, Carolina Caceres, to: examine the case studies presented in AC26/PC20 Doc.7; set the agenda and instructions for the meeting of the advisory WG on the evaluation of RST to be held in June 2012; and set up a roadmap for the evaluation of RST to be presented at CoP17. The WG met on Friday, 23 March.

On Saturday, 24 March, Caceres presented the report highlighting the draft agenda for the advisory group meeting in June 2012 and the tentative roadmap for the RST evaluation. Caceres stressed that this evaluation should not become a never-ending process. The AC Asia representative requested that the draft agenda for the advisory group meeting and the roadmap include the issue of management and action plans to support the recommendations of RST, as raised at the WG. The AC/PC agreed to include this issue under “Next Steps” in the draft agenda for the advisory group meeting. The Secretariat suggested some amendments to the draft agenda and the roadmap. In the afternoon, a new version of the document was submitted, which the AC/PC approved without amendment. 

Outcome: In the final recommendations (AC26/AC20 WG2 Doc.2) the AC/PC agrees to: provide the advisory WG for the evaluation of the RST for its June 2012 meeting, with the observations made by the Dublin WG, including, inter alia, that:

•  many RST issues are cross-cutting in nature and a holistic approach is needed, as well as a more formalized process to deal with such issues;

•  an evaluation of the Madagascar country review could be an invaluable aid to the discussions of the advisory group;

•  better communication with range states in the initial stages could eliminate more countries from the RST and increase efficiency;

•  the RST process could be sped up if the AC and PC were prepared to do more work intersessionally; and

•  improved additional guidance, other than the current RST module on the Virtual College, is needed.

The AC/PC also adopted the proposed agenda for the meeting of the advisory group and roadmap for the preparation of the final report until CoP17 in 2016.

REVISION OF RESOLUTION 14.8 ON PERIODIC REVIEW OF THE APPENDICES

On Thursday, 22 March, the Secretariat introduced the relevant document (AC26/PC20 Doc.10). PC Chair Clemente described how the current process for periodic review is slow, complex and backlogged because too many species are listed and there is a dearth of volunteers and funding, and requested suggestions for improvement. Humane Society International suggested removing species from the Appendices when relevant range states show no interest in conducting a review.

PC Chair Clemente requested input on the idea of automating the process of selecting species for periodic review. The AC Central and South America and the Caribbean representative and Chile supported the proposal for automation, while the PC Africa representative suggested a semi-automatic approach. The EU, the US and the North America and Oceania representatives expressed reservations about automation. The EU suggested making a priority list of species eligible for deletion from the periodic review. The Oceania representative suggested deleting extinct species from the list. The North America representative, supported by the Oceania representative and the US, stated that automatically deleting species from the Appendices does not solve the basic problem of finding volunteers and resources to conduct periodic reviews.

PC Chair Clemente summarized comments, noting that, inter alia, all parties supported simplifying the periodic review process, but not all agreed on automating the process. The Chair asked the Secretariat to produce a non-paper to summarize the discussion, ensuring that all concerns and amendments were included in the information that the Secretariat would report to the SC.

On Saturday morning, 24 March, the Secretariat introduced the non-paper, compiled from comments made in plenary on Friday and in email correspondence thereafter. The EU noted the lack of time to amend and adopt either of the options outlined in the non-paper. PC Chair Clemente suggested that the Secretariat instead compile a list of ideas by parties for the SC, who could then propose an amendment to Resolution 14.8 at CoP16.

After lunch, the Secretariat introduced a new non-paper (AC26/PC20 Com.2) listing ideas generated at AC25, AC26 and in the AC26/PC20 plenary discussion. Mexico expressed concern about the reference to the role of the SC in the process of periodic review, stressing that parties do not require approval from the SC to conduct a review. The US expressed concern with the idea of “simplification,” noting that these processes need to be made more efficient, but not necessarily less complex. Mexico stated that since the resolution concerns a technical issue, revisions to it should be the responsibility of the AC and PC, not the SC. The North America representative agreed, but cautioned that this approach would take more time. Multiple parties expressed regret that a WG had not been established for this issue at this meeting. Mexico proposed mandating the WG on periodic review at the PC to compile input from the AC, AC/PC, and PC meetings for submission to the SC. The Chair agreed to this proposal.

NON-DETRIMENT FINDINGS

IMPLEMENTATION OF DECISION 15.23 ON NON-DETRIMENT FINDINGS BACKGROUND AND LINKS WITH DECISIONS 15.24, 15.26 AND 15.27: On Thursday, 22 March, PC Chair Clemente introduced the relevant document (AC26/PC20 Doc.8.1), which describes the process followed in Notification to the Parties No. 2011/004, as well as other activities implemented in accordance with the above-mentioned decisions. The document was noted.

SUMMARY REPORT BASED ON THE RESPONSES TO NOTIFICATIONS TO THE PARTIES [NO. 2009/023, PARAGRAPH 1. F) OF NO. 2010/027 AND NO. 2011/004]: On Thursday, 22 March, PC Chair Clemente introduced the relevant document (AC26/PC20 Doc.8.2). She highlighted that: 55 parties sent results from their experience or from workshops organized on NDFs for singular species; participants identified “Evaluation of the effects of harvest and subsequent adaptation of the non-detriment finding” and “Assessing the level of risk associated with the NDF” as the most problematic challenges when making NDFs; and there are more difficulties for some biological groups than others, such as marine species.

The PC Asia representative praised the Secretariat and Committees for the information collected and noted the difficulty of parties in doing NDFs, especially for marine species.

The PC Central and South America and the Caribbean representative said that NDFs are a priority for her region and welcomed national and international initiatives in order to strengthen the capacity to carry them out. She highlighted a workshop organized in Brazil to help countries draft their own NDFs.

PC Chair Clemente noted that the Committees considered drafting a decision recommending the development of a webpage that lists the best NDF case studies.

PROGRESS REPORTS FROM PARTIES (DECISION 15.23): On Thursday, 22 March, the Secretariat introduced the relevant document (AC26/PC20 Doc.8.3), highlighting, inter alia, that the Secretariat issued a notification requesting further submissions. He noted that the replies received are found in the annex.

DRAFT GUIDANCE ON THE MAKING OF NON-DETRIMENT FINDINGS: On Thursday, 22 March, AC Chair Solana introduced the draft guidance (AC26/PC20 Doc.8.4), on behalf of the intersessional WG on NDFs. He noted that it invites parties to analyze the options, share best practices and formulate draft decisions, for consideration at CoP16. He also pointed to the annex, which contains references, including links to documents from past NDF workshops.

China highlighted the question of peer-review and publication of NDFs in scientific journals. PC Chair Clemente noted that, in her experience, publication in books and journals provided an opportunity for part of an NDF to generate more research on the species. She suggested that a publication in a peer-reviewed journal on doing NDFs could be useful.

Mexico welcomed the activities on NDFs since the International Expert Workshop on Non-Detriment Findings (Cancun, Mexico, 17-22 November 2008).

DISCUSSION PAPER ON NON-DETRIMENT FINDINGS: On Thursday, 22 March, AC Chair Solana introduced the relevant paper (AC26/PC20 Doc.8.5), noting that the Committees were invited to decide on whether the draft resolution in the annex to the present document was suitable for submission for approval at CoP16.

Caceres, as Chair of the WG, welcomed the resolution that provided guiding principles for use by Scientific Authorities when making NDFs and that noted a non-prescriptive approach was preferred in informing NDFs.

The Central and South America and the Caribbean representative suggested some changes to the draft resolution. The Asia representative emphasized that the current draft may not reflect the consensus of the group and provided some preliminary comments on the lack of detail in the resolution. The Africa representative highlighted that a regional approach may be necessary, for aquatic species that have shared stocks with other countries. Canada noted that, in conducting science-based assessment for NDFs, traditional and ecological knowledge are very important, especially when species information is scarce.

The AC and PC Chairs proposed adding to the mandate of the WG to: provide comments on paragraph 16 of the Summary Report (AC26/PC20 Doc.8.2) asking, inter alia, the Committees to: share best practices and experiences from the parties on making NDFs; prepare draft guidelines based on the Cancun Workshop findings; and prepare a working document for CoP16 describing options for using the results of past workshops as well as a draft resolution on non-legally binding guidelines for making NDFs.

The WG met from Friday to Saturday, 23-24 March. The group discussed the need to consider challenges faced by Scientific Authorities in determining whether a particular export would be detrimental to the species and discuss language recognizing that a great variety of taxa and life forms of Appendices species have common and differentiated requirements.

On Saturday, 24 March, TRAFFIC proposed language suggesting implementing an online user-friendly mechanism for parties to submit information. The US, supported by Australia and South Africa, proposed listing “threats” separately from other elements of an NDF. The Committees adopted the recommendations, with a number of amendments. Concerning the draft resolution, the AC/PC noted that a notification would be issued to parties to provide further comments on the draft resolution before CoP16.

Outcome: In document AC26/PC20 WG3 Doc.1, the Committees propose a draft resolution on NDFs in which the CoP recommends that Scientific Authorities consider non-binding, guiding principles including, inter alia, that NDF:

•  is a science-based assessment;

•  considers whether the species is maintained throughout its range at a level consistent with its role in the ecosystems in which it occurs;

•  data requirements depend on the level of risk and shall be proportionate to the vulnerability of the target species;

•  implementation of adaptive management, including monitoring, is an important consideration;

•  is based on resource assessment methodologies that include consideration of, inter alia: species biology and life history; species range; population structure and trends; harvest and mortality levels; management measures in place; and results of population monitoring; and

•  may include as sources of information to be considered by the Scientific Authorities, inter alia: relevant scientific literature; ecological risk assessments, scientific surveys, local and indigenous knowledge and expertise.

The draft resolution also:

•  recommends that parties consider a framework for making NDFs the information included in the annex of AC26/PC20 Doc.8.4 and any subsequent updates available on the CITES website:

•  encourages parties to: explore more methods of making NDFs; share experiences and examples and communicate them to the Secretariat on time; maintain written records of the science-based rationale included in the NDF assessments; and offer, on request, cooperative assistance to developing countries, for improvement of capacity regarding NDFs; and

•  directs the Secretariat to: maintain and update regularly a prominent section on the CITES website on NDFs; and assist identifying possible funding sources to help parties implementing capacity-building activities to make NDFs.

CAPACITY-BUILDING

The North America representative, and WG Co-Chair, presented the recommendations of the intersessional WG contained in the document (AC26/PC20 Doc.9). PC Chair Clemente suggested amending the recommendations to reflect that the stand-alone course on NDFs in the Virtual College is already in place and that many parties and organizations are organizing NDF workshops. The Secretariat welcomed the suggestions included in the document to improve the training on NDFs and supported the comments by the PC Chair. The WG Co-Chairs, in collaboration with the Secretariat, amended the recommendations as suggested.

On Saturday, 24 March, the joint WG Co-Chair presented recommendations to plenary, which the joint AC/PC adopted with minor text amendments.

Outcome: The AC/PC recommends, in document AC26/PC20 Com. 1, inter alia, to: submit a draft decision to CoP16 that invites parties to submit their experiences and the results from workshops, projects or publications related to the making of NDFs for inclusion on the CITES website, and to ensure this information is available in other formats, where appropriate; and adopt text changes to Resolution Conf. 11.1 (Rev. CoP15) to ensure that the Committees provide scientific advice to the Secretariat on its capacity-building materials on a permanent basis.

IDENTIFICATION MANUAL

On Saturday, 24 March, the Secretariat presented the progress report on the identification manual (AC26 Doc 22/PC20 Doc.21). He highlighted that the Secretariat seeks cooperation and partnership on technical issues. The PC North America representative asked the Secretariat to link previous paper identification sheets to the wiki manual and encouraged participants to provide reviews on accessibility, content and availability. Belgium expressed concern that some information may be out of date and offered the collaboration of zoo experts and identification manual staff. AC Chair Solana welcomed all information.

CLOSING SESSION

On Saturday, 24 March, in a brief session for the AC part of the joint meeting, AC Chair Solana informed participants about the preparation of the Chair’s report of the meeting. After thanking the Secretariat, Ireland and all participants, the meeting was gaveled to a close at 6:27 pm.

PC 20 REPORT

On Thursday, 22 March, during the joint meeting of the CITES Animals and Plants Committees, PC Chair Margarita Clemente extended a warm welcome to the members of the two Committees. The Secretariat then introduced documents on the rules of procedure (PC20 Doc.2), agenda (PC20 Doc.3.1), working programme (PC20 Doc.3.2) and admission of observers (PC20 Doc.4), which the PC adopted.

PC Chair Clemente then highlighted the preparation of the Chair’s report to be presented at CoP16 (PC20 Doc.22) and established a WG comprised of PC members and the Secretariat to consider the report in conjunction with the document on “Strategic planning: Progress report on the work programme of the Plants Committee” (PC20 Doc.12) and ensure the Chair’s report would take account of all items the CoP had directed the PC to address by CoP16.

On Monday, 26 March, PC Chair Clemente re-convened the meeting, thanking the Irish Government for arranging the “magnificent setting” of Dublin Castle as the venue. She acknowledged the full agenda to be tackled and reminded participants of the establishment of the WG on strategic planning and preparation of the Chair’s report for CoP16 (PC20 Doc.22), which would meet throughout the week. The Secretariat noted the addition of Ajmal Perfumes to the list of observers (PC20 Doc.4).

This report summarizes discussions on each of the PC20 agenda items.

GLOBAL STRATEGY FOR PLANT CONSERVATION OF THE CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY (DECISION 15.19) – REPORT OF THE WG

On Monday, 26 March, Hesiquio Benitez-Díaz (Mexico), North America representative and PC Vice-Chair who had chaired the intersessional WG on collaboration with the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC), presented the relevant document (PC20 Doc.13) and invited the PC to consider a draft resolution to promote CITES collaboration with the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) on the implementation of the GSPC.

TRAFFIC suggested mentioning the GSPC toolkit. India proposed flagging concrete collaboration issues prior to CBD COP11. The Secretariat confirmed the participation of the CITES Secretary-General at CBD COP11. The Africa representative proposed highlighting the effects of successful GSPC implementation on CITES. PC Chair Clemente suggested the Secretariat include this proposal when revising the draft resolution for CoP16.

Outcome: The PC recommends (PC20 Doc.13) the CoP:

•  invite parties to note CITES’ potential contribution to the Updated Global Strategy for Plant Conservation 2011-2020 through the activities and products listed in the annex; and promote collaboration between their GSPC focal point and their CITES Authorities;

•  direct the Secretariat to, inter alia: encourage information exchange on GSPC and other plant conservation and sustainable use initiatives; and

•  direct the PC and Secretariat to promote CITES-CBD collaboration on the implementation of the GSPC through (subject to funding) representing CITES at meetings of CBD’s Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice and other GSPC meetings; and contributing to CBD documents on GSPC implementation.

REVIEW OF SIGNIFICANT TRADE IN SPECIMENS OF APPENDIX-II SPECIES

OVERVIEW OF SPECIES-BASED RST: On Monday, 26 March, PC Chair Clemente introduced this agenda item (PC20 Doc.14.1) and established a WG on the species selected for review following CoP15 (PC20 Doc.14.2), chaired by Nomenclature Specialist Noel McGough.

SPECIES SELECTED FOR REVIEW FOLLOWING CoP15 (2010): On Tuesday, 27 March, the RST WG reviewed PC20 Doc.14.2 and replies from range states to determine whether five species should be eliminated from the review, with respect to the range states concerned, or whether the Secretariat should proceed with compiling information on their trade status, in accordance with Resolution Conf. 12.8 (Rev. CoP13).

For Pachypodium namaquanum (elephant’s trunk), McGough noted that the Secretariat received no responses from the range states—Namibia and South Africa—but welcomed the participation of representatives from both range states in the WG. Namibia and South Africa stated that they had no record of trade in wild specimens of this species. UNEP-WCMC confirmed this trade data. South Africa noted concerns about the possible mis-declarations of wild specimens as artificially propagated specimens on customs forms. The WG recommended removing both range states from the review, annotating South Africa’s concerns about mis-declaration.

For Dendrobium eriiflorum (eria-like flowered Dendrobium), McGough noted that the Secretariat received replies from Bhutan, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand, but not from India or Nepal, and that no trade was reported for Bhutan, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand, so the species was removed from review in these range states except for Malaysia, due to discrepancies with UNEP-WCMC trade data. The WG agreed to retain Nepal in the RST. McGough noted he would consult with the representatives of India and Malaysia for more information on the trade status of the species in each country.

For Euphorbia itremensis, Alluaudiopsis fiherenensis and Alluaudia ascendens, McGough noted that Madagascar was the only range state listed and that they did not reply to the Secretariat on the trade status of wild specimens of these species. The WG agreed to retain these three species in the RST.

On Wednesday, 28 March, in plenary, McGough reported on the WG outcomes. The US added that 13 aloe species are listed as “under review” but should be removed because PC19 classified them as “least concern.” On Thursday, 29 March, the PC agreed to the WG’s recommendations.

Outcome: The PC recommends (PC20 WG2 Doc.1):

•  Pachypodium namaquanum be excluded for Namibia and South Africa, noting no reported wild trade;

•  Dendrobium eriiflorum be included for both India and Nepal, noting possible wild trade and a lack of response from India and no written response from Nepal;

•  Dendrobium eriiflorum be excluded from Bhutan, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand, noting no reported wild trade; and

•  Euphorbia itremensis, Alluadiopsis fiherenesis and Alluadia ascendens be included for Madagascar, noting reported wild trade and no NDF data.

Regarding concerns that some traded specimens of Pachypodium namaquanum may be mis-declared as artificially propagated in origin, the PC:

•  encourages parties to check consignments to confirm that specimens declared as artificially propagated are not wild collected; and

•  requests the Secretariat to highlight this issue when carrying out capacity-building or enforcement initiatives in the region or in importing countries.

REVIEW OF SIGNIFICANT TRADE IN CISTANCHE DESERTICOLA, DIOSCOREA DELTOIDEA, NARDOSTACHYS GRANDIFLORA, PICRORHIZA KURROOA, PTEROCARPUS SANTALINUS, RAUVOLFIA SERPENTINA AND TAXUS WALLICHIANA: The Secretariat presented the document on the RST of seven Asian CITES-listed medicinal and aromatic plant species (Cistanche deserticola, Dioscorea deltoidea, Nardostachys grandiflora, Picrorhiza kurrooa, Pterocarpus santalinus, Rauvolfia serpentina and Taxus wallichiana) (PC20 Doc.14.3), noting Bhutan’s offer to host a follow-up workshop to the capacity-building workshop on “Non-detriment Findings and Review of Significant Trade in Plant Species” organized by Nepal in January 2011, and the request for input on the workshop agenda. The US, supported by TRAFFIC, made a number of proposals in relation to the workshop, inter alia: including an item on promoting efforts to update range state information; forming breakout groups on management and enforcement issues; and identifying near-term action items, experts and contacts for each taxon or group. She also suggested inviting participants from major trading countries and prioritizing participation from countries who were not able to attend the first workshop. TRAFFIC urged the use of recommendations in the document PC17 Inf.10 (Review of the Status, Harvest, Trade and Management of Seven Asian CITES-listed Medicinal and Aromatic Plant Species) as the basis for agenda items and emphasized collaboration on enforcement and controls on international trade, including through the Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Programme in Asia. The PC took note of the report.

NON-DETRIMENT FINDINGS

ANIBA ROSAEODORA – REPORT FROM BRAZIL: On Monday, 26 March, Brazil introduced the document on Aniba rosaeodora (Brazil rosewood) (PC20 Doc.15.2). PC Chair Clemente requested that Brazil prepare the report as a reply to the relevant decision (Dec. 15.90, par. e) and Brazil agreed.

PERIODIC REVIEW OF PLANTS SPECIES INCLUDED IN THE CITES APPENDICES

OVERVIEW: The PC first considered the periodic review in plenary on Monday, 26 March, and approved Benitez-Díaz as replacement for Patricia Dávila (Mexico) as Chair of the intersessional WG on the Periodic Review and Amendments to the Appendices (Periodic Review WG).

On Monday, 26 March, Benitez-Díaz presented Mexico’s report on the periodic review of plant species included in the CITES Appendices (PC20 Doc.16.1.1 (Rev.1)), drawing attention to species selected for review between CoP13 and CoP15 where reviews remain in progress. Benitez-Díaz said reports had been submitted by Brazil and Namibia and highlighted the Secretariat’s delays in producing notifications, for which the Secretariat apologized. PC20 established a WG chaired by Benitez-Díaz.

On Tuesday, 27 March, the WG considered Tillandsia kautskyi (Kautsky’s tillandsia), T. sucrei (sucre tillandsia, and T. sprengeliana (Sprengei’s tillandsia) and recommended delisting the species, asking Brazil to provide recommendations on look-alike species, and noting that specimens are held outside Brazil. The group recommended retaining Welwitschia mirabilis on Appendix II.

On Thursday, 29 March, Benitez-Díaz presented the WG report (PC20 WG3 Doc.1). On Appendix I-listed species, PC Chair Clemente suggested, and participants agreed, deleting reference to a lack of available trade data and instead specifying when artificial propagation of species exists. On Welwitschia mirabilis, Namibia clarified that a written report is available in PC20 Doc.16.1.1 (Rev.1) Annex 2.

Outcome: In the recommendation (PC20 WG3 Doc.1), as amended, the PC:

•  recommends that Tillandsia kautskyi, T. sucrei, and T. sprengeliana be delisted. PC20 requests Brazil to take into account that there appears to be trade in artificially propagated specimens and that specimens are held by private collectors outside of Brazil;

•  supports Namibia’s recommendation to maintain Welwitschia mirabilis in Appendix II;

•  recommends that the Nomenclature Specialist address the taxonomic status of Balmea stormiae (ayugue), requests range states to provide information on its distribution, and requests UNEP-WCMC to provide information on trade;

•  recommends that the Nomenclature Specialist address the taxonomic status of Platymiscium pleiostachyum (Quira macawood), requests range states to provide information on its distribution, and requests UNEP-WCMC to provide information on trade;

•  recommends that information be requested from range states of Peristeria elata (Holy Ghost orchid) to assess whether the species continues to meet criteria of listing in Appendix I and requests UNEP-WCMC to provide information on trade; and

•  recommends that the Secretariat issue a notification requesting the range states of Balmea stormiae, Platymiscium pleiostachyum, and Peristeria elata to provide relevant information to the Central and South America and the Caribbean representative.

Secretariat Report: On Monday, 26 March, the Secretariat presented a report (PC20 Doc.16.1.2) featuring a list of plant species previously reviewed by the PC, including dates of the review and links to the appropriate documents. Mexico and the Central and South America and the Caribbean representative observed that reviews for certain species in the table were incorrectly listed as “complete,” instead of as “in progress.” Mexico also requested that reference document details be included in the table. The Secretariat agreed and requested a written list of the species in question and PC20 took note of the report. PC20 considered the WG recommendations on Thursday, 29 March, and adopted them with minor amendments.

Outcome: In the recommendation (PC20 WG3 Doc.1), as amended, the PC:

•  recommends that the Secretariat include in the table of species reviewed the name of the party or representative undertaking the review, the range countries, the current Appendix listing of the species and the IUCN status, if applicable;

•  notes that the US reports that their review of 15 species of Sclerocactus is in progress;

•  notes that the Central and South America and the Caribbean representative is undertaking a review of Tillandsia kammii;

•  requests that the Asia representative request the Philippines to undertake the review of Hedychium philippinense (ginger lily); and

•  recommends that the Secretariat update the tables in Annexes 1 and 2 of PC20 Doc.16.1.2 on the species discussed by the WG.

REPORT OF THE WORKING GROUP: On Monday, 26 March, Benitez-Díaz introduced a report on behalf of the intersessional WG on the periodic review and amendments to the Appendices (PC20 Doc.16.2), requesting the PC to adopt the list of species to be examined under the periodic review between CoP15 and CoP17 and to submit this list to the Standing Committee (SC); and to consider the report submitted by the Netherlands regarding the periodic review of Cycas beddomei. PC20 decided to include further discussion of these documents in the mandate of the WG on periodic review chaired by Benitez-Díaz.

On Tuesday, 27 March, the WG reviewed several species. The group recommended retaining Cycas beddomei on Appendix I. The group also noted that reviews of Balmea stormia, Peristeria elata and Platymiscium pleiostachyum remain in progress and additional information is needed. PC20 considered the proposed recommendations on Thursday, 29 March. On seeking input from India on Cycas beddomei (cycad), India responded that they are conducting a revision of the genus and hope to provide a classification by December 2012. PC Chair Clemente then proposed, and participants agreed to: delete the request for India’s input; note India’s offer to supply additional information; and consider the review complete.

Outcome: In the recommendation (PC20 WG3 Doc.1), the PC supports the Netherlands’ recommendation to maintain Cycas beddomei on Appendix I.

ASSESSMENT OF TRADE IN EPIPHYTIC CACTI AND REVIEW OF LISTING OF CACTACEAE SPP. IN APPENDIX II: On Monday, 26 March, Benitez-Díaz introduced a document on assessment of trade in epiphytic cacti and review of listing of Cactaceae spp. (cactus) in Appendix II (PC20 Doc.16.3 and Annexes 1 and 2). The PC decided to include further discussion of this document in the mandate of the WG on periodic review.

On Tuesday, 27 March, the WG on periodic review discussed retaining Cactaceae spp. on Appendix II. PC20 considered the proposed recommendations on Thursday, 29 March.

Outcome: In the recommendation (PC20 WG3 Doc.1), PC20 concludes that seven Cactaceae spp. should remain on Appendix II, recognizing that criterion 2(a) is not fulfilled but criterion 2(b) is met.

EUPHORBIA SPP.: On Monday, 26 March, Benitez-Díaz introduced documents on Euphorbia spp. (PC20 Doc.16.4 and Annexes 1 and 2). He noted that the review recommended retaining non-wild-collected and non-traded Euphorbia species on Appendix II since there is a significant challenge posed by look-alike cases, in addition to a lack of precise information on conservation status for the majority of them. PC20 requested Nomenclature Specialist McGough to address the issue of new Euphorbia spp. and propose taxonomic changes. The nomenclature WG addressed this issue and confirmed the need to update the CITES checklist on succulent Euphorbia spp. (PC20 WG8 Doc.1).

REVISION OF RESOLUTION CONF. 14.8 ON PERIODIC REVIEW OF THE APPENDICES: On Tuesday, 27 March, the WG on the periodic review continued consideration of revisions to Resolution Conf. 14.8 (Periodic Review of the Appendices), as requested by the joint meeting of AC26/PC20. The WG discussed, inter alia: acknowledging that periodic reviews can result in amendments to Appendix I or II or that species be retained in the Appendices, both of which should be considered effective outcomes; determining schedules for periodic reviews, including when to terminate a review when there is no volunteer; using filters (such as the IUCN Red Listings) to Output 2 (species subject to international trade on Appendix II) in the annex to limit species selected for review; and identifying financial support for periodic reviews.

On Wednesday, 28 March, in plenary, Benitez-Díaz reported the periodic review WG had finalized its proposed amendments to Resolution 14.8 and on Thursday, 29 March, in plenary, he presented the proposed recommendation. On informing SC62 and/or CoP16 on the revision of Resolution Conf. 14.8 on the Periodic Review of the Appendices, PC Chair Clemente recommended, and participants agreed, deleting reference to providing amendments directly to CoP16 and retaining text informing SC62. On keeping the SC informed about the conduct of periodic reviews, PC Chair Clemente proposed, and the US opposed, deleting text noting that SC approval is not required to initiate the process. Participants agree to retain the text. On proceeding with amendment proposals, the Secretariat suggested referring to the AC or PC and Canada proposed deleting the requirement that the PC/AC “clearly specify its decision” and inserting “shall draft its decision.” Participants agreed to both suggestions.

Outcome: In the recommendation (PC20 WG3 Doc.1),PC20 agrees that the PC Chair, in consultation with the AC Chair, inform SC62 of proposed amendments to Resolution Conf. 14.8, which respond to the concerns of the SC to inform the efficiency of the process. The recommended amendments to Resolution Conf. 14.8 include, inter alia: changing the title of the resolution to the “Periodic Review of Species Included in Appendices I and II”; inserting four preambular paragraphs; and proposing amendments to the operative text.

PROPOSALS FOR POSSIBLE CONSIDERATION AT COP16

PROPOSALS TO AMEND THE APPENDICES

MADAGASCAR (DECISION 15.97): On Monday, 26 March, McGough presented the document on Madagascar (PC20 Doc.17.1.1). He highlighted Madagascar’s significant progress on preparing proposals for CoP16. Madagascar said, inter alia, they have updated ecological information on succulent species and precious wood species, and prepared a proposal to include 18 traded species in Appendix II. The Secretariat reported on a support visit to Madagascar, financed by the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), and stressed Madagascar’s rapid progress in preparing and implementing project proposals since their visit. Madagascar then described four ongoing CITES projects. ITTO said it is evaluating Madagascar’s proposal on precious wood species for listing on Appendix II at CoP16. PC Chair Clemente proposed establishing a WG co-chaired by Madagascar and McGough.

The WG on Madagascar met on Wednesday, 28 March, to discuss the preparation of a work plan to facilitate the submission of amendment proposals at CoP16 and species identification of both succulent and timber species. McGough proposed a generic listing of species, with an annotation referencing Madagascar, which would ensure that the listing covers any new species discovered in Madagascar and only covers species in Madagascar. Participants also discussed: capacity building; financial support; methods for identification, including DNA barcoding and analysis, frequency tags and satellite monitoring; and improving identification materials, including translation of information and reference documents into English.

On Wednesday, 28 March, in plenary, McGough highlighted that the WG, inter alia, explored a roadmap on key actions for developing a proposal between now and CoP16.

On Friday, 30 March, McGough presented the WG on Madagascar report (PC20 WG4 Doc.1), noting that the document contains recommendations on listing of tree and succulent species and a table with a suggested workplan and milestones for Madagascar. On behalf of the PC, PC Chair Clemente congratulated Madagascar on the initiative. The document was adopted without amendment.

Outcome: With respect to listing of tree species on the Appendices, PC20, inter alia:

•  commends Madagascar on its significant progress on the implementation of Decision 15.97;

•  recommends that Madagascar continue to work with the PC on the completion of comprehensive listing proposals for Dalbergia spp. and Diospyros spp. and noting these proposals should be annotated to apply only to “populations of Madagascar”;

•  notes that Madagascar exports are confined to material such as logs and sawn wood, so annotation #5 (logs, sawn wood and veneer sheets) is the most appropriate;

•  recommends the preparation of a document for CoP16 that outlines a work programme or implementation plan for preparation of identification tests, guides, training courses and a user-friendly manual for enforcement officers in Madagascar and in importing countries;

•  suggests Madagascar take advantage of relevant meetings to inform and seek the views of interested parties and other stakeholders, in particular major importer countries, on their proposals and plans for effective implementation;

•  recommends Madagascar facilitate access to vouchered wood samples to support development of identification techniques, tests and guides;

•  commends ITTO on its support to Madagascar and recommends that this support continue and parties facilitate this work by targeting funding of relevant projects to support the above recommendations; and

•  recommends parties provide Madagascar with information on projects or programmes that have demonstrated successful community-based sustainable management.

With respect to listing of succulent species on the Appendices, PC20, inter alia:

•  commends Madagascar on the elaboration of the proposals included in the documents PC20 Inf. 3-6;

•  recommends Madagascar further elaborate, review and refine these proposals in cooperation with the PC, interested parties, organizations and experts, and taking into account identification issues, problems associated with look-alike taxa and preparation of identification materials;

•  recommends that parties and interested observers facilitate this work by targeting funding of relevant projects to support these actions; and

•  recommends the Secretariat continue to work with Madagascar to assist and build capacity for NDF-making and facilitate training of in-country customs officials.

ANNOTATIONS: Clarification of terms and timber species: PC20 first considered annotations on Monday, 26 March. Benitez-Díaz introduced an overview document (PC20 Doc.17.1.2.1 (Rev.1)), highlighting that three sub-working groups have worked intersessionally on: the meaning of “packaged and ready for retail trade” and other annotation terms; tree species annotations for species included in Appendices II and III; and Aniba rosaeodora (Brazilian rosewood) and Bulnesia sarmientoi (palo santo). He noted that no document was available on the review of annotations for Cactaceae spp. and Orchidaceae spp. (Decision 15.34) as no volunteer was found to conduct the planned web-survey on orchids. He also presented the report on clarification of terms (PC20 Doc.17.1.2.2) and invited the PC to adopt the definitions on: “essential oil,” “extract,” “finished product packaged and ready for retail trade”; “powder”; “root”; and “wood chips”. Brazil and Germany expressed concern about the definition of “essential oil” and the Secretariat questioned the definition of “root.”

Ken Farr (Canada), Co-Chair of the intersessional WG on annotations, presented the report on timber species (PC20 Doc.17.1.2.4), noting that the recommended trade study had not yet been conducted by the Secretariat. He then highlighted the conclusions of the WG, including, inter alia: that Annotations #2 and #12, as currently drafted, also apply to finished timber products; the potentially unintended consequences of creating a reduced number of general annotations that correspond to broad product types (e.g., timber, medicinal, edible products); and a proposed stepwise approach for timber species, starting with  annotations limited to primary timber products and progressing to annotations addressing primary, secondary and semi-finished wood products. He noted that the WG recommended encouraging participation of the PC, enforcement officers and other regulatory experts in the evaluation of new listings and annotations for timber species.

PC Chair Clemente stressed the importance of this recommendation. The US inquired about the status of the trade study and the Secretariat reported on the lack of funding for the study. ITTO reported on the ITTO’s willingness to provide funds for the trade study and the difficulty of finding suitable consultants for conducting it.

PC20 established a WG to consider the various proposals on annotations, including some arising from the proposals relating to timber species, medicinal plants and agarwood-producing species. Co-chaired by PC Chair Clemente, Farr and Marco Valentini, European Union (EU), the WG met throughout the day on Tuesday, 27 March, and considered, inter alia, the simplification of the definitions to allow their identification by non-experts such as enforcement officials. Participants noted that the CITES glossary is a generic non-binding guidance to parties, and discussed options for giving a legal relevance to the definitions, such as proposing amendments to the annotations, or as Germany suggested, including them in a resolution.

On the specific terms under consideration, Germany suggested a new definition of extract, which describes broad categories of products and includes essential oil. The International Fragrance Association, supported by France, and opposed by Brazil, suggested excluding from the definition “complex mixtures containing such extracts as ingredients,” to avoid the need for a massive number of permits and certificates.

On wood chips, the WG debated at length the need for a size limit, agreeing in the end to leave the definition without specifying a size limit.

The WG agreed that the new definitions would also apply to agarwood. On Wednesday, 28 March, in plenary, Farr reported that the WG developed new, simplified definitions on: extract, powder, wood chip, roots, and finished products packaged and ready for retail trade.

On Friday, 30 March, in plenary, Farr presented the report of the WG (PC20 WG5 Doc.1). France, supported by Italy and the EU, noted that the report did not adequately reflect the concern expressed by many on the non-exclusion of complex mixtures and suggested that a second definition be presented to the CoP, excluding complex mixtures. Brazil, supported by Mexico and Indonesia, argued that the mandate of the WG was to simplify the definitions for enforcement authorities and without a clear definition of complex mixtures, their exclusion from the definition would actually complicate enforcement. The North America representative and the Secretariat suggested referring non-definition issues to the SC. The Secretariat clarified that being the concerned species in Appendix II, the burden for issuing permits is with the exporting country (Brazil) rather than importing countries. The US, supported by the North America representative, Canada and PC Chair Clemente, but opposed by Germany and the EU, requested deletion of the sentence excluding finished products from the definition of extract, as referring to an enforcement issue rather than to a definition.

The Secretariat noted the inaccuracy of the proposed definition on “root” as it would not apply to important CITES species with aerial roots. On the recommendation on merging tree species annotations, the Secretariat noted that this could prejudge the findings of the trade study to be still carried out. The PC agreed to amend the recommendation to reflect this discussion. The PC further agreed to extend the duration of the trade study after CoP16.

PC Chair Clemente proposed the PC prepare a document for the SC62 on the work done by the annotations WG reflecting the discussions and the problems arising from definitions, and request SC advice. She urged participants to submit written contributions to the document.

Outcome: The PC agreed to the WG’s recommendations (PC20 WG5 Doc.1) on agenda item 17.1.2.4 (report of the WG on annotations in relation to tree species), that the annotations for tree species be amended following the results of the trade study, and to extend the period for the trade study to CoP17. The PC agreed to refer to SC62 all other issues on annotations included in the report.

Cactaceae and Orchidaceae: On Monday, 26 March, PC Chair Clemente clarified that no document was available on this item. The US noted the work initiated before PC19 on orchids and recommended that the review for orchids be completed and that the PC discuss whether there is scope for the review of other taxa. PC Chair Clemente suggested the US draft a proposal for revision of Decision 15.34 (review of annotations) and submit it to the PC.

On Friday, 30 March, in plenary, the US presented a document on Cactaceae and Orchidaceae: Review of Annotations (PC20 Com.2). PC Chair Clemente proposed, and the PC agreed, that this decision would be formulated as part of the Chair’s report.

Outcome: The document (PC20 Com.2) states that the PC shall:

•  conclude its review of the trade in Appendix II  Orchidaceae spp. to determine whether additional finished products should be exempted by amending the annotation for this taxon (annotation #4) and noting that recommendations on whether to exempt additional finished products from CITES controls should be based on whether finished products are exported from the range states and are a significant portion of trade; and

•  prepare a proposal to amend the annotation for the listing of Orchidaceae spp. in Appendix II based on the outcome of this review, and provide it to the Depositary Government for submission to CoP17.

Aniba rosaeodora (Decision 15.90) – Report of Brazil:On Monday, 26 March, Brazil presented document PC20 Doc.17.1.2.5 on Aniba rosaeodora, highlighting that Brazil: is preparing identification materials; recommends listing Aniba fragans and A. parviflora; and is establishing specific procedures for making NDFs for the species. In response to a query by the EU, he clarified that Brazil is preparing a listing proposal for A. fragrans and A. parviflora to be submitted to CoP16. PC20 took note of the document and Brazil’s oral presentation.

Bulnesia sarmientoi (Decision 15.96) – Report of Argentina:  On Monday, 26 March 2012, PC Chair Clemente invited the PC to take note of document PC20 Doc.17.1.2.6, as Argentina was not present to introduce it. The EU noted that the document submitted by Argentina pointed to the issue raised earlier by Mexico and Germany on the definition of essential oil. The PC took note of the document.

TIMBER SPECIES, MEDICINAL PLANTS AND AGARWOOD-PRODUCING SPECIES:  On Monday, 26 March, PC Chair Clemente noted the intention to address together Agenda Items 15.1 (Timber species, medicinal plants and agarwood-producing species (Decisions 15.26 and 15.27) – Report of the WG) and 17.2.1 (Agarwood-producing taxa (Decision 15.94)).

Zhihua Zhou (China), Asia representative, introduced the report of the intersessional WG on timber species, medicinal plants and agarwood-producing species (PC20 Doc.15.1). She highlighted, inter alia, workshops held in Kuwait and Indonesia on agarwood. The Secretariat commented on the document, noting possibilities for a draft decision on capacity building for CoP16, and highlighting overlap with other PC documents, including updated definitions contained in the annexes of the annotations document (PC20 Doc.17.2.1). PC Chair Clemente proposed establishing a WG with Zhou, Shereefa Al-Salem (Kuwait), alternate Asia representative, and Greg Leach (Australia), Oceania representative, as Co-Chairs.

The Secretariat suggested that the WG consider recommendations in documents PC20 Doc.15.1 and PC20 Doc.17.2.1, emphasizing work on glossary terms for agarwood products and ways to make the glossary available to the CITES community. The Secretariat, supported by Al-Salem but opposed by Germany and PC Chair Clemente, recommended consideration of the Asia regional workshop on agarwood (PC20 Inf.7). The UK suggested also considering specimens to be controlled or not controlled, noting the participation of enforcement officers in the meeting. Leach supported the UK’s suggestion and PC Chair Clemente agreed the WG could consider the matter.

On Monday, 26 March, Kuwait presented the document on agarwood-producing species (Decision 15.94) (PC20 Doc.17.2.1), jointly prepared with Indonesia, highlighting two workshops held intersessionally. She said the Scientific and Administrative WGs had fulfilled all mandates emerging from CoP15, noting their results and recommendations are presented in Annexes 1-3 to the document. Indonesia highlighted, inter alia, the recommendation that, for agarwood-producing species, NDFs should be done at the genus- rather than species-level.

Following a request from Zhou for clarification on how the recommendations would be submitted to the CoP, the Secretariat outlined four possible proposals arising from the WG recommendations: two amending Resolution Conf. 10.13 (Rev. CoP15) on implementation of the Convention for timber species, changing the title and the section on plantations; on Resolution Conf. 11.11, changing the definition of controlled conditions; and a draft decision. Germany expressed concern about conducting NDFs only at the genus level and urged further consideration by the PC before it is submitted to the CoP. PC20 agreed that the glossary would be considered by the annotations WG.

On Wednesday and Thursday, 28-29 March, the WG met and considered recommendations in the relevant documents (PC20 Doc. 15.1 and 17.2.1). On the first document they discussed whether: the NDF guidance on timber and Prunus africana (African cherry) (PC19 Doc.16.3) should be separated from that for medicinal and agarwood guidance; the agarwood NDF guidance should be used by parties and the Secretariat in capacity-building workshops and training materials relating to agarwood-producing species; the title of Resolution Conf. 10.13 (Rev. CoP15) should be amended to read “Tree Species” instead of “Timber species”; and to include “inducement” in the list of controlled condition examples in Resolution Conf. 11.11 (Rev. CoP15). For the second document, they discussed whether: to amend the definition for “under controlled condition” to specifically designate plantations as non-natural environments, or to propose a separate resolution for agarwood-producing plantations.

On Thursday the WG continued discussions on, inter alia, whether: to delete the word “monospecific” from Resolution Conf.10.13 (Rev. CoP15) or to add the wording “or mixed” after “monospecific”; NDFs should be conducted at the genus- or species-level; draft annotation changes for agarwood-producing species; certain agarwood products should or should not be controlled by CITES, including household effects; to and where to include the glossary of agarwood products; and to establish a national registration system for nurseries and plantations.

On Friday, 30 March, Leach reported on the WG outcomes (PC20 WG6 Doc.1) in plenary. PC Chair Clemente then requested input from countries outside the Asia region on the proposal to include “or mixed” after “monospecific” with regard to the description of “plantation” in Resolution Conf. 10.13 (Rev. CoP15). The Africa, Asia, North America, Central and South America and the Caribbean and Oceania representatives and Brazil stated that both mixed and monospecific plantations were present in their regions. The US expressed concerns that if Resolution Conf. 10.13 were amended to include or imply “mixed” plantations, then a plot of cultivated trees could be grown among wild trees and constitute a plantation, and thereby be considered under CITES as artificially propagated specimens. PC Chair Clemente noted these concerns, and the PC agreed to submit a proposal to amend Resolution Conf. 10.13 by adding “or mixed.”

PC20 then considered the scope of the definition for “under controlled conditions” in Resolution Conf. 11.11 (Rev. CoP15). PC Chair Clemente asked whether the proposed amendments to Resolution Conf. 11.11 (Rev. CoP15) could helpfully broaden the scope of the definition to other plant species beyond those that produce agarwood plant cases. The US expressed concerns that broadening the definition would lead to implementation problems for other plant species, noting the WG had discussed the issue at length and decided that further discussion was needed. South Africa, the UK, Canada, Germany and the Africa representative supported these concerns.

PC Chair Clemente suggested, and the PC agreed, not to propose amendments to Resolution Conf. 11.11 (Rev. CoP15). PC Chair Clemente noted that Indonesia, in consultation with the Asia and Oceania representatives as well as other parties, would draft a new resolution on agarwood, covering the issue of mixed plantations and including the glossary as an annex. PC Chair Clemente also suggested, and the PC agreed, that, given the lengthy debates, the PC propose a draft decision for CoP16 that the PC consider the current production systems of tree species, including mixed and monospecific plantations, and assess the applicability of the current definitions of artificial propagation in Resolution Conf. 10.13 and Resolution Conf. 11.11, respectively, and report back to CoP17. PC Clemente took note of the intentions of various parties to submit a proposal concerning a draft agarwood annotation, and of the alternate Asia representative’s offer to coordinate all comments submitted by parties on agarwood annotations. Indonesia presented a draft document requesting an intersessional WG on agarwood. PC Chair Clemente took note of the document.

Outcomes: The PC agreed that PC Chair Clemente would note the following WG recommendations (from PC20 WG6 Doc.1) in her Chair’s report to SC62:

•  to not standardize NDF guidance for timber species, Prunus africana, medicinal plants and agarwood-producing species, and that it is premature to produce a handbook for making NDFs for these species;

•  to not include “inducement” in the list of controlled condition examples in Res. Conf. 11.11, since this process or activity is also applied to wild material;

•  to amend the title of Resolution Conf. 10.13 (Rev. Cop15) to read “Tree species” instead of “Timber species”; and

•  to retain Decision 14.137 addressing identification materials.

PC20 also took note of the intentions of various parties to submit proposals and draft decisions to CoP16, including:

•  a proposal to CoP16 to amend Res. Conf. 10.13 (Rev. CoP15) to include “or mixed”;

•  a draft decision to direct the PC to consider the current production systems of tree species, including mixed and monospecific plantations, and assess the applicability of the current definitions of artificial propagation in Res. Conf. 10.13 and Res. Conf. 11.11, respectively, and report back to CoP17;

•  a proposal for a new resolution on agarwood, initially prepared by Indonesia in consultation with the representatives of Asia and Oceania and input from other parties, which will cover the issue of mixed plantations and include the glossary as an annex; and

•  the intentions of various parties to submit a proposal concerning a draft agarwood annotation, and of the alternate Asian representative’s offer to coordinate all comments submitted by parties on agarwood annotations.

REPORTING ON TRADE IN ARTIFICIALLY PROPAGATED PLANTS

On Thursday, 29 March, in plenary, the Secretariat presented an oral update on the status of the planned report on trade in artificially propagated plants listed in Appendix II, as outlined in Decisions 14.39 and 14.40 (Rev. CoP15). She explained that a lack of funding had postponed the commissioning of this report, but that UNEP-WCMC was now contracted to produce it by the end of May. Since this date is past the deadline of 24 May 2012 for document submissions to SC62, the report will be presented orally. PC20 took note.

TIMBER ISSUES

PROGRESS REPORT OF THE WORKING GROUP ON BIGLEAF MAHOGANY AND OTHER NEOTROPICAL TIMBER SPECIES: On Monday, 26 March, César Beltetón Chacón (Guatemala), Chair of the WG on Bigleaf Mahogany and other Neotropical Timber Species, introduced the WG’s progress report (PC20 Doc.19.1), prepared based on conclusions reached at the fourth meeting of the WG in Guatemala in 2011.

Canada, supported by ITTO, congratulated the WG on this “ambitious, innovative and informative” report and commented on the complications involved in developing harmonized system tariff codes for CITES-listed tree species. ITTO highlighted its joint efforts with the Secretariat to commission a background paper describing tracking systems currently in use. With regard to the assessment of production capacity of mahogany plantations in Fiji, the Oceania representative commented that a member of the Secretariat had attended a recent workshop in Fiji that discussed the issue. The Secretariat confirmed this participation and stated that information from his colleague would be made available to the PC later in the week.

PC20 established: a drafting group, chaired by Chacón, to prepare recommendations from the relevant document into decisions to propose to CoP16, and a WG, co-chaired by Greg Leach (Oceania representative) and Chacón, to assess whether Cedrela odorata (Cedar), Dalbergia retusa, Dalbergia granadillo (Nicaraguan rosewood) and Dalbergia stevensonii (Honduras rosewood) meet the criteria for inclusion in Appendix II.

Bigleaf Mahogany: The drafting group met on Wednesday, 28 March, and addressed all recommendations made by the WG on Bigleaf Mahogany and Other Neotropical Timber Species at its fourth meeting, in Guatemala in 2011. The drafting group, inter alia: noted the 2012 deadline for submission of proposals to the World Customs Organization (WCO) for the review of the codes was not compatible with a CoP16 decision; discussed the need for capacity building on timber species identification, the CITES online identification manual, and timber identification programmes in the US and Brazil; and supported the recommendation on strengthening chain of custody systems.

On the recommendation by the WG’s fourth meeting to assess the production capacity of Fijian mahogany plantations, given the high imports reported by the Dominican Republic, the drafting group agreed that this was an enforcement and implementation issue for the Dominican Republic rather than a production issue for Fiji. The drafting group supported the US proposal that this issue be highlighted in the PC Chair’s Report to SC62 with a view to the SC recommending a Secretariat mission to the Dominican Republic.

On Wednesday, in plenary, PC Chair Clemente reported on progress in the drafting group. The US noted the need for updated identification material and guidance, especially to support enforcement authorities and suggested that the PC establish, in collaboration with the AC, an intersessional WG to compile information on the status, availability of and need for identification material. PC Chair Clemente welcomed the proposal and suggested the Secretariat prepare a compilation of relevant CITES decisions and resolutions on identification material.

On Friday, 30 March, in plenary, PC Chair Clemente introduced the drafting group report (PC20 DG1 Doc.1) highlighting that PC20 will transmit to CoP16 recommendations on, inter alia, tariff codes, chain of custody, use of scientific names in timber trade, authenticated reference timber samples, and identification issues. She also noted that the new mandate and membership of the WG will be set up at PC21 and that the remaining recommendations will be deleted, as the PC has concluded its work on this item. The PC recognized the excellent work done by the WG and its Chair, and approved the report as orally amended.

On Friday, in plenary, the US presented document PC20 Com.3, noting it contains a draft decision for CoP16, proposing, inter alia, the CoP:

•  direct the AC and PC to form an intersessional WG to consider existing identification and guidance material produced to assist in identifying CITES-listed taxa;

•  encourage parties to provide information on available identification and guidance material; evaluate the status of pending identification material and identify difficulties associated with completing the materials; consult with enforcement and inspection officials to assess such materials; and

•  direct the Secretariat to provide assistance, inter alia, to the AC and PC; and compile a list of outstanding decisions on such materials.

The PC agreed that the proposals would be included in the PC Chair’s report.

Outcome: In PC20 DG1 Doc.1, the PC, inter alia: requests the SC to prepare a draft decision for the Secretariat to continue liaising with the WCO with a view to undertaking a joint review of the harmonized system tariff codes for specimens of CITES-listed species; and recommends that:

•  exporting and importing countries establish chain of custody and traceability systems to ensure the legality of the trade;

•  parties establish contact with customs authorities to ensure the mandatory use of scientific names, alongside common and trade names in customs documents;

•  the PC set definitions of authenticated reference timber samples and procedures for sample collection;

•  the PC Chair report to SC62 on concerns regarding the high volume of bigleaf mahogany imports from Fiji reported by the Dominican Republic;

•  range states with harvest bans in place assess the effectiveness of such measures and determine the conservation status of the species and make NDFs; and

•  the name of the “WG on Bigleaf Mahogany and Other Neotropical Timber Species” be changed to “WG on Neotropical Tree Species”.

Cedrela odorata and Dalbergia spp.: The WG on Cedrela odorata and Dalbergia spp., met on Wednesday and Thursday, 28-29 March. In the WG, PC members discussed the information available on the species and, inter alia, whether the criteria apply under the precautionary principle.

On Friday, 30 March, in plenary, Leach presented the WG report (PC20 WG7 Doc.1). He highlighted that, given the lack of political will to support amendment proposals for any of these species, the WG recommended either to remove them from Decision 14.146 (Action Plan for Cedrela odorata and Dalbergia spp.) or that range states prepare Appendix-II listing proposals. The South and Central America and the Caribbean representative expressed concern about putting pressure on range states to include the species in Appendix II on the basis of stopping support for the Action Plan, and requested continuation of the WG on Bigleaf Mahogany and Other Neotropical Timber Species. The Asia representative requested adding reference to difficulties in implementation. PC Chair Clemente suggested the PC take note of the document and agreed that it had fulfilled all the tasks assigned to it by the CoP on this matter.

Outcome: The PC notes the WG report (PC20 WG7 Doc.1) and concludes that it has fulfilled the mandate assigned to it by the relevant CoP decisions. The PC notes, inter alia, that:

•  Cedrela odorata, D. retusa, and D. stevensonii fulfill the trade criterion and may qualify for Appendix II listing under Annex 2a, criterion B;

•  D. granadillo was included in the action plan owing to its similarity to D. retusa and any decision relating to this species is determined by the decision made for D. retusa;

•  given that there is no will from some range states to propose or support an amendment proposal for any of these species, the WG recommends that they are either removed from Decision 14.146 or that the range states propose them for listing on Appendix II;

•  the WG encourages ITTO to provide assistance to major exporting range states to compile national inventories to enable objective assessments of whether Annex 2a criterion B applies; and

•  Appendix II- or Appendix III-listing could be used as vehicle to support the acquisition of the necessary biological information and improve the trade data.

PROGRESS REPORT ON THE JOINT ITTO-CITES TIMBER PROGRAMME: On Monday, 26 March, the Secretariat presented the progress report on the joint CITES-ITTO Timber Programme (PC20 Doc.19.2), describing the first phase of the collaborative programme as well as plans for a second phase, which will continue ITTO’s capacity-building work on CITES. She highlighted that the programme will continue to be implemented in a country-driven manner, but with an expansion in scope of species covered to include additional timber species and non-timber trees listed in CITES and a widening of coverage to additional range states of species of concern. ITTO thanked the European Commission (EC) for providing some of the funding needed for the project’s second phase. The US asked which additional species and countries would be included in the second phase, and the Secretariat replied that details would be available in a report at CoP16. PC20 took note of the report.

NOMENCLATURE

On Monday, 26 March, PC Nomenclature Specialist McGough introduced the document on nomenclatural matters (PC20 Doc.20). He reported on progress on multiple checklists, including orchid, cactus and cycads checklists, and expressed concern that some may not be complete by CoP16 due to limited financial support. He also noted a need to formulate a view on the status and use of Aloe capensis. PC Chair Clemente asked McGough to chair the WG.

On Wednesday, 28 March, in plenary, McGough reported the WG had completed its work and highlighted, inter alia: discussions on Aloe capensis and Diospyros spp., and the need to update the CITES checklist on succulent Euphorbia species. On Thursday, 29 March, PC20 adopted the WG recommendations without amendment.

Outcomes: The PC recommends (PC20 WG8 Doc.1), inter alia, that:

•  parties encourage their scientific institutions and taxonomic experts to work with the PC to complete outstanding revisions of key plant checklists and, where possible, provide funding to facilitate this process;

•  the PC cooperate with experts and institutions to compile a working list of names of species of Malagasy Dalbergia spp. and Diospyros spp. that might form the basis for a future checklist;

• “Aloe capensis” is a vernacular, not taxonomic, name applied to the dried leaf exudates of Aloe ferox and sometimes other aloe species; and

•  on Decision 15.63 (nomenclature), the PC is unaware of cases where additional higher order listings could be recommended for flora that would not alter the scope of the current species’ listings.

PREPARATION OF THE CHAIR’S REPORT FOR COP16

On Thursday, 22 March, during the joint meeting of the AC/PC, PC Chair Clemente highlighted the preparation of the Chair’s report to be presented at CoP16 (PC20 Doc.22) and established a WG to discuss the report in conjunction with the document on “Strategic planning: Progress report on the work programme of the Plants Committee” (PC20 Doc.12). During PC20, the group met on Tuesday, 27 March. On Wednesday, 28 March, in plenary, PC Chair Clemente reported on its progress. On Friday, 30 March, in her closing remarks, PC Chair Clemente emphasized the need for the Secretariat to publish the outstanding executive summaries and minutes of the meeting as soon as possible for input into the Chair’s report.

REGIONAL REPORTS

On Thursday, Africa, Asia and Central and South America and the Caribbean regional representatives presented their respective reports to plenary (PC20 Doc.23.1-23.3). On Friday, 30 March, the Europe, North America and Oceania regional representatives presented their respective reports (PC20 Doc.23.4-23.6).

TIME AND VENUE OF PC21

On Friday, 30 March, the Secretariat noted there would be no AC or PC meeting in 2013 and that PC21 was provisionally scheduled from 31 March to 4 April 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland. Mexico announced willingness to host the next meeting of the AC, PC, and a possible joint session, noting the moral support of the North American region. PC20 welcomed the announcement.

ANY OTHER BUSINESS

On Thursday, 29 March, several parties noted their intention to submit proposals to include species in the Appendices at CoP16: Madagascar, for Uncarina spp.; Thailand, for Dalbergia cochinchinensis (Thailand rosewood); and Mexico, for Yucca queretaroensis. The PC took note of these proposals.

On Friday, 30 March, South Africa noted an issue with the annotation on Hoodia spp., saying it had been misinterpreted, and highlighted a workshop in April 2012 where the annotation will be discussed. PC Chair Clemente said the PC would take note of this information.

CLOSING REMARKS

On Wednesday, 28 March, PC20 adopted the first two parts of the executive summary of the meeting (PC20 Sum.1 and Sum.2) with minor amendments. On Friday, 30 March, PC20 adopted two further parts of the executive summary (PC20 Sum.3 and Sum.4). PC Chair Clemente noted that Secretariat would circulate the final part for adoption after the meeting. PC Chair Clemente thanked Ireland, and gaveled the meeting to a close at 6:31 pm.

A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF THE CITES SCIENTIFIC COMMITTEES MEETINGS

Sharks and orchids rarely occupy the same territory, except, perhaps, at the Conference of the Parties (CoP) for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). But in the lead-up to the next CoP, the overlapping scientific meetings of CITES’ Animals and Plants Committees (AC and PC) brought together delegates and species seldom seen in the same place. These back-to-back and joint meetings gave the AC and PC a chance to address issues common to both, in addition to focusing on their own species-specific agendas. Despite trepidation over splitting venues between Geneva and Dublin, with some dubbing the meetings as “the traveling CITES roadshow,” participants at these scientific committee meetings made progress on several recommendations that may enable the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP16) in Thailand in 2013 to adopt some milestone decisions.

This brief analysis explores the successes and challenges of outcomes from the AC, AC/PC, and PC meetings, focusing on four issues: guidance to parties for carrying out non-detriment findings (NDFs); interpretation challenges; missed opportunities for collaboration; and the rapid progress achieved by Madagascar.

NDFS: SOME WELCOME GUIDANCE

One likely legacy of the joint meetings is a “leap forward” on NDF guidance. Although the tenet that an export will not be detrimental to the survival of a particular species is at the core of the implementation of CITES, many parties have struggled to understand what making an NDF entails. As a result, despite formal NDF requirements, many species have continued to be traded without information on the impacts of such exploitation. Some parties have taken a “thumbs-up, thumbs-down” approach in making these findings, often either using the lack of guidance as an excuse or resisting defining such guidance. According to those that have long championed at least a set of non-legally binding guidelines, Appendix-II-listed species that could otherwise be sustainably traded internationally if an NDF was properly conducted, may end up being uplisted.

Several workshops, including one in Cancun, Mexico in 2008, aimed to provide a precise roadmap for parties and encourage a minimum scientific base for assessments. In the three years since Cancun, discussions have focused on a range of issues: capacity concerns for developing countries; the type of science and methodologies that should inform the decision to issue an export permit; and the role of local and ecological knowledge in making assessments.

The joint meeting in Dublin finally provided the AC and PC the opportunity to combine forces to hammer out differences and work on defining a common approach. The process to get there was hampered by communication issues during the intersessional period, with some comments submitted by parties on the draft resolution not included in the official document, which gave many delegates arriving in Dublin a lack of confidence that progress would be made on NDFs. Ultimately, however, the draft resolution introduced by the North America representative during the meeting provided a basis for discussion. The document emphasized the importance of having a set of guiding principles as well as employing a certain degree of flexibility to enable the specific and individual characteristics of different taxa to be considered.

Now with a draft resolution that provides a set of non-binding guiding principles for Scientific Authorities, it looks likely that CoP16 will be able to take action. While some described the prolonged negotiation of textual changes on the morning of the last day of the joint meeting as “one step forward and two steps backwards” and “painful to watch,” participants overall left with a sense that some consensus is now within reach. One seasoned participant described this result as “as surprising as it was encouraging,” given the slow progress on the issue at meetings over the past few years. Several stressed the high level of participation in the NDF sessions, generating “real momentum” and growing consensus that the NDF proposal has gathered some steam heading towards CoP16.

CHALLENGING INTERPRETATIONS

The challenges faced by the Committees in providing scientific input to the interpretation of the Convention also emerged in their more species-specific deliberations. In the PC, one such deliberation focused on the question of what constitutes a plantation. CITES is increasingly being called on to consider how to address trade in farmed or cultivated specimens, a shift that has resulted in considerable challenges for CITES customs authorities who are tasked with assessing whether certain specimens have originated in the wild or in artificially propagated populations, with each category requiring different export certificates and procedures.

This was illustrated by lengthy debates on how to apply CITES definitions for artificial propagation and controlled conditions to mixed plantations of agarwood-producing species. Range states for agarwood-producing taxa supported broadening the scope of these definitions, which in their view better reflects agarwood management and harvesting practices. Other countries strongly opposed, concerned about the possible “domino effect” of such amendments on other plant species. As one participant stressed, “you could put a fence around wild trees in a forest, plant some cultivated trees among them and call the whole thing a plantation.” In other words, those wild trees would then qualify as artificially propagated specimens and therefore find themselves planted on the far side of CITES’ mandate. Such amendments “would be detrimental to the spirit of the Convention,” according to another participant, “because it would limit possibilities to make NDFs.”

The PC ultimately agreed to draft a separate agarwood resolution in order to address the peculiarities of how these species are planted, managed and harvested. But these debates made clear the importance of updating and clarifying the definitions used in distinguishing wild from artificially propagated specimens of CITES-listed species.

In a similar vein, taking advantage of the presence of customs officials from four different parties, PC participants continued their efforts to clarify annotation definitions to assist customs officials and enforcement officers. In considering how to define “extract,” for example, the perfume industry wanted to exclude the “complex mixture” or “fragrance compounds” (mixtures of essential oils used in perfumes), and one exporting country strongly opposed. Ultimately, realizing the implications of defining such annotations go beyond the simple wording, and in absence of a consensus on the matter, the PC acknowledged that the issues would perhaps be better addressed by the SC and, therefore, deferred further consideration to SC62.

PARALLEL LINES

Another related issue frequently brought up by participants at all three meetings was a lack of information upon which sound scientific recommendations could be based. For example, in the AC working group on sharks, the mandate was, among other things, to make new recommendations for shark listings based on reported and compiled scientific and trade data. In the sharks working group at AC25, plans were formulated for a collaborative, joint CITES/FAO questionnaire on the laws, regulation and trade of shark species and products in top shark fishing nations.

While the idea showed promise on paper at AC25, in practice, FAO and CITES conducted similar but separate questionnaires, citing “different deadlines” as the reason behind the redundancy. This resulted in the duplication of data as well as information gaps, both issues that CITES and FAO are purportedly striving to avoid. So instead of analyzing information on sharks, the AC26 working group devoted much of its time to discussing methods for soliciting outstanding information from parties. Many participants expressed the view that listing sharks on CITES Appendices would depend less on achieving scientific consensus, and more on cultivating productive and generative institutional relationships. Despite this, many felt that the outcome from AC26 on sharks was positive, remaining optimistic that, by applying the precautionary principle, proposals on shark listings will go forward to CoP16.

While there are some success stories, such as collaboration with the International Tropical Timber Organization on timber, the opportunities for collaboration are sometimes limited by redundant and overlapping activities. While parties lack capacity in terms of responding and reporting to the Secretariat, the Secretariat itself—one of the smallest of all environmental conventions—is overstretched and underfunded. The lack of capacity on both sides of the CITES equation, from parties to the Secretariat, further emphasizes the need for productive collaborations with other instruments.

RAPID RESPONSE

While sharks have been circling the Appendices for years, causing some to question whether CITES actually “has teeth,” the situation of Madagascar illustrates the rapid progress an individual country can make in complying with and achieving CITES objectives. One year ago, Madagascar had not responded to notifications in relation to a number of plant and animal species and had not attended previous meetings. This year, in contrast, the Minister for Environment and Forests attended AC26 and met with Secretariat staff. At PC20, the working group on Madagascar commended the country for its progress. Further, Secretariat staff, Committee members, and the NGO sector have mobilized to support Madagascar as it finalizes proposals for listing succulent and timber species on Appendix II at CoP16. While Madagascar’s high level of endemism means that it avoids the potential challenges posed by range state consultation, the country’s increased political will and the ability of CITES to catalyze support provides an instructive example of how a country can move from limited to more extensive engagement with CITES. Eyes will be on Madagascar in the coming months as it finalizes its proposals for CoP16 to see whether this biodiversity-rich country emerges as a CITES success story.

LOOKING FORWARD: EYES ON THAILAND

With positive outcomes on NDFs and Madagascar, and expectations that shark listings will be supported at CoP16, momentum is building and the countdown to CoP16 has officially begun. On a strategic level, the scientific committees also considered how collaboration with other biodiversity conventions and mechanisms could enhance CITES, particularly given its current capacity and resource challenges. Participants increasingly embraced the view that CITES can serve as a “trigger” for action rather than being solely responsible for action. As one veteran put it: “CITES does not have to do everything, it can just ask the questions.” One outcome of the fifth meeting of the Chairs of the Scientific Advisory Bodies of the Biodiversity-related Conventions (CSAB), which took place in Dublin directly following the joint AC26/PC20 meeting, was an agreement to finalize a joint statement on the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), illustrating the role CITES can play in leading the call for collaboration within the biodiversity community. IPBES is expected to have a budget several times larger than CITES; consequently, as IPBES formalizes its own work and governance structure at its second meeting in April, some expressed hope that IPBES may serve as a mechanism to address CITES-related capacity and financial concerns. Others hoped for recognition by the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) of the “catalytic nature” of CITES, as well as the ability of CITES to deliver on its objectives, particularly on sustainable trade.

While many participants felt positive progress has been achieved, others stressed the need for greater urgency, with one seasoned delegate, referring to sharks, lamenting it is a “pity that species have to be nearly extinct before we can list them.” In addition, while participants completed the review of the periodic review process requested by the Secretariat at CoP15, an achievement in itself, a few insiders questioned how the final proposal will actually make the periodic review process more efficient and reduce the current backlog of species waiting for review.

In one of the most resource-challenging times for the Convention, CoP16 in Thailand faces a heavy and politically-charged agenda. The next time the CITES community will gather in force will be for SC62 in Geneva in July, and with the outcome of that meeting, and possible implications of the Rio+20 outcomes, there are still some opportunities for further discussion before CoP16. However, it won’t be long before all eyes are on Thailand to see if parties have the political will to make significant progress on these and other issues.

UPCOMING MEETINGS

Second Meeting of the Plenary on IPBES: The second session of the plenary meeting will determine the modalities and institutional arrangements for the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).  dates: 16-21 April 2012   location: Panama City, Panama  contact: IPBES Secretariat  phone: + 254 20 762 5135   fax: + 254-20-762-3926   email: ipbes.unep@unep.org  www:  http://www.ipbes.net/plenary-sessions.html

43rd Annual Meeting of the International Research Group on Wood Protection: This annual event will include presentations of the latest available research results in wood protection. dates: 6-10 May 2012  location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia  contact: International Research Group Secretariat phone: +603-9282-2235  fax: +603-9284-6214 email:irg4@mtib.gov.mywww: www.irg43.my

CBD SBSTTA 16: The 16th meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is organized by the CBD Secretariat. dates: 30 April - 4 May 2012 location: Montreal, Canada contact: CBD Secretariat phone: +1-514-288-2220 fax: +1-514-288-6588 email:secretariat@cbd.int www: http://www.cbd.int/sbstta16/

CBD WG on the Review of Implementation: The Fourth Meeting of the WG on the Review of Implementation will be held at the headquarters of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal, back-to-back with the sixteenth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice.dates: 7-11 May 2012  location: Montreal, Canada  contact: CBD Secretariat phone: +1-514-288-2220  fax: +1-514-288-6588 email:secretariat@cbd.int www: http://www.cbd.int/wgri4/

Fifth Meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal WG to Study Issues Relating to the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity Beyond Areas of National Jurisdiction: The fifth meeting will study issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction.  dates: 7-11 May 2012  location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea  phone: +1-212-963-3962  fax: +1-212-963-5847  email: doalos@un.org www: http://www.un.org/depts/los/biodiversityworkinggroup/biodiversityworkinggroup.htm

AEWA MOP 5: The fifth session of the Meeting of the Parties (MOP 5) to African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) will be organized by the UNEP/AEWA Secretariat and will convene in La Rochelle, France. dates: 14-18 May 2012  location: La Rochelle, France  contact: UNEP/AEWA Secretariat  phone: +49-228-815-2413  fax: +49-228-815-2450  email:aewa@unep.de www: http://www.unep-aewa.org/meetings/en/mop/mop5_docs/mop5.htm

13th Meeting of the UN Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea: This meeting is the 13th meeting of the UN Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea. The focus of the meeting will be marine renewable energies. dates: 29 May - 1 June 2012  location: UN Headquarters, New York contact: UNDOALOS phone: +1-212-963-3962  fax: +1-212-963-5847  email: doalos@un.org www: http://www.un.org/Depts/los/consultative_process/consultative_process.htm

UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD): This meeting, also referred to as Rio+20, will mark the 20th anniversary of the UN Conference on Environment and Development, which convened in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992.  dates: 20-22 June 2012  location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  contact: UNCSD Secretariat  email:uncsd2012@un.org www: http://www.uncsd2012.org/

Ramsar COP 11: This is the 11th meeting of the contracting parties (COP 11) to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat. dates: 6-13 July 2012  location: Bucharest, Romania  contact: Ramsar Secretariat  phone: +41-22-999-0170  fax: +41-22-999-0169  email:ramsar@ramsar.org www: http://www.ramsar.org

30th Session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries: The 30th session of COFI will review activities of the COFI Sub-Committees on Aquaculture and Fish Trade, progress on the implementation of the CCRF and associated IPOAs, and the priorities for the FAO work programme on these issues.  dates: 9-13 July 2012  location: Rome, Italy  contact: Hiromoto Watanabe, FAO  phone: +39-06-5705-6500  email:hiromoto.watanabe@fao.org www: http://www.fao.org/fishery/about/cofi/meetings/en

Fourth East Asian Seas Congress 2012: The Congress theme is “Building a Blue Economy: Strategy, Opportunities and Partnerships in the Seas of East Asia.” The Congress will address the new opportunities for the ocean economy of East Asia, the range of partnerships that have developed and are required in order to realize the full potential of a blue economy, and the progress and achievements in governance of regional/subregional seas within the framework of the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia.  date: 9-13 July 2012  location: Changwon, Republic of Korea  contact: PEMSEA Secretariat  phone: +63-2-929-2992  fax: +63-2-926-9712  email: info@pemsea.org  www: http://eascongress.pemsea.org/international-conference

62nd Meeting of the CITES Standing Committee: The CITES Standing Committee provides policy guidance to the Secretariat concerning the implementation of the Convention and oversees the management of the Secretariat’s budget; coordinates and oversees, where required, the work of other committees and WGs; carries out tasks given to it by the CoP; and drafts resolutions for consideration by the CoP.  dates: 23-27 July 2012  location: Geneva, Switzerland  contact: CITES Secretariat  phone: +41-22-917-8139/40  fax: +41-22-797-3417 email:info@cites.org www:  http://www.cites.org/eng/com/SC/

IUCN World Conservation Congress 2012: The Congress theme will be Nature+, a slogan that captures the fundamental importance of nature and its inherent link to every aspect of people’s lives, including: nature+climate, nature+livelihoods, nature+energy and nature+economics.  dates: 6-15 September 2012  location: Jeju, Republic of Korea  contact: IUCN Congress Secretariat  phone: +41-22-999 0336  fax: +41-22-999-0002  email:congress@iucn.org www: http://www.iucnworldconservationcongress.org/

2nd Meeting of Signatory States to the CMS Sharks MOU: This meeting is expected to produce an action plan for sharks.  dates: 24-28 September 2012  location: Bonn, Germany  contact: Melanie Virtue, CMS Secretariat  phone: +49-228-815-2426  fax: + 49-228-815-2449  email:mvirtue@cms.int www: http://www.cms.int/news/events.htm

Twenty-first session of the FAO Committee on Forestry: This meeting will convene in Rome, Italy.  dates: 24-28 September 2012  location:  FAO Headquarters, Rome, Italy  contact: Peter Cskoka, FAO, Forestry Department  phone: +39-06-5705-3925  fax: +39-06-5705-3152  email: peter.csoka@fao.org www: http://www.fao.org/forestry/cofo/en/ 

CBD COP 11: The agenda for the next meeting of the CBD COP includes consideration of, inter alia: the status of the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits arising from their Utilization; implementation of the Strategic Plan 2011-2020 and progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets; issues related to financial resources and the financial mechanism; and biodiversity and climate change. This meeting will be preceded by the sixth meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.  dates: 8-19 October 2012  location: Hyderabad, India  contact: CBD Secretariat  phone: +1-514-288-2220  fax: +1-514-288-6588  email:secretariat@cbd.int www: http://www.cbd.int/doc/?meeting=COP-11

ITTC-48: This meeting is the 48th Session of the International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC) and the Associated Sessions of the four Committees (Finance and Administration, Economic Information and Market Intelligence, Forest Industry, and Reforestation and Forest Management). dates: 5-10 November 2012  location: Yokohama, Japan contact: ITTO Secretariat phone: +81-45-223-1110 fax: +81-45-223-1111 email: itto@itto.int www: http://www.itto.int  

CITES COP 16: The 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora is expected to convene in 2013.  dates: 3-15 March 2013  location: Thailand  contact: CITES Secretariat  phone: +41-22-917-81-39/40  fax: +41-22-797-3417  email:info@cites.orgwww: http://www.cites.org/

GLOSSARY

AC         
CBD      
CITES
CMS      
CoP        
FAO       
GSPC
IATA     
IPBES
IPOA     
ITTO     
MoU      
NDF       
PC          
RFMO
RST       
SSN        
SC          
UNEP
WCMC
WCO     
WG  

CITES Animals Committee
Convention on Biological Diversity
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals
Conference of the Parties
UN Food and Agriculture Organization
Global Strategy for Plant Conservation
International Air Transport Association
Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
International Plan of Action
International Tropical Timber Organization
Memorandum of Understanding
Non-detriment findings
CITES Plants Committee
Regional fisheries management organization
Review of significant trade
Species Survival Network
Standing Committee
United Nations Environment Programme
UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre
World Customs Organization
Working Group

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This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © <enb@iisd.org> is written and edited by Catherine Benson, Leonie Gordon, Kate Harris, Tanya Rosen and Laura Russo. The Editor is Pamela S. Chasek, Ph.D. <pam@iisd.org>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. The Sustaining Donors of the Bulletin are the European Commission (DG-ENV), the Government of the United States of America (through the Department of State Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs), the Government of Canada (through CIDA), the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU). General Support for the Bulletin during 2012 is provided by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Australia, the Ministry of Environment of Sweden, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, SWAN International, the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, 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 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Funding for translation of the Bulletin into French has been provided by the Government of France, the Belgium Walloon Region, the Province of Québec, and the International Organization of the Francophone (OIF and IEPF). The opinions expressed in the Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD or other donors. Excerpts from the 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>, +1-646-536-7556 or 300 East 56th St., 11D, New York, NY 10022, United States of America.

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