Vol. 21 No. 57
CITES COP14 HIGHLIGHTS
The fourteenth Conference of the Parties (CoP14) to CITES convened in regional meetings in the morning, and in two committees throughout the rest of the day. Several drafting and working groups also met. Committee I, inter alia, approved the listing of sawfish in Appendix I and eel in Appendix II, and considered listing pink and red corals in Appendix II. Committee II, inter alia, adopted decisions on management of annual export quotas and on the Addis Ababa Principles and Guidelines on Sustainable Use.
Committee I Chair Leach announced that the elephant proposals discussion was postponed to allow the African Elephant Range States Dialogue further time to agree on a consensus document.
LISTING PROPOSALS: BRAZIL withdrew its proposed Appendix-II listing of the Brazilian populations of Panulirus argus (Caribbean spiny lobster) and Panulirus laevicauda (smoothtail spiny lobster) (CoP14 Prop.20).
The proposed Appendix-II listing of Caesalpinia echinata (Brazil wood) (CoP14 Prop.30) was adopted by consensus with a revised annotation. The Committee also approved by consensus the revised draft decisions on Euphorbia spp. and on the amendment of annotations #1, #4 and #8, following the withdrawal of two earlier proposals by Switzerland (CoP14 Prop.26 and 29).
Sawfish: Delegates considered a proposal for listing Pristidae (sawfish) on Appendix I (CoP14 Prop.17 by Kenya and the US). KENYA introduced the proposal, underscoring sawfish species’ vulnerability to exploitation due to low reproduction rates. The US highlighted: lack of bycatch management; trade in rostral saws, saw teeth and fins; and demand from the aquarium trade.
AUSTRALIA proposed an amendment to list one species, Pristis microdon (freshwater sawfish), on Appendix II with an annotation allowing international trade in live animals to aquaria for primarily conservation purposes. Many parties supported Australia’s amendment, with the EU noting that although Pristis microdon deserves an Appendix-I listing, the Australian population is well-managed. GRULAC supported the original proposal, with MEXICO requesting additional information from Australia. NORWAY, supported by THAILAND, favored an Appendix-I listing with Australia applying for annual quotas. FAO said that the original proposal was supported by its Expert Panel, but did not comment on Australia’s amendment. CHINA and SPECIES MANAGEMENT SPECIALISTS opposed the proposal. GREENPEACE, on behalf of several NGOs, supported listing all sawfish species on Appendix I.
The proposal as amended by Australia was approved with 67 votes in favor and 30 against.
Eel: The EU proposed the Appendix-II listing of Anguilla anguilla (eel) (CoP14 Prop.18). Noting that this economically-valuable species is near collapse, SWEDEN added that EU range states have now committed to eel management measures, including a 50% fishing effort reduction. Although many parties supported the proposal, several emphasized that strict EU fisheries management measures would also be essential to conserve the species, and CANADA and NORWAY noted potential look-alike issues. Opposing the listing, CHINA and QATAR said the listing would create an enforcement burden with little conservation benefit. The proposal was adopted by 93 votes to nine.
Banggai cardinalfish: The US introduced its proposal (CoP14 Prop.19) to list Banggai cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni) on Appendix II, noting that it is a major importer of this endemic Indonesian species. He highlighted recent data showing further population decline and unsustainability of current harvest levels (CoP14 Inf.37).
Opposing the proposal, INDONESIA underscored: high productivity of the species both in the wild and in captivity; ongoing conservation efforts; and implications of the proposed listing for local livelihoods. Supported by IRAN, he also expressed concern over the legality of recent research. Many others also opposed, with AUSTRALIA stressing national management measures for endemic species, JAPAN saying an Appendix-III listing would be more appropriate, and THAILAND citing the FAO Expert Panel’s opposition to the listing. Following these comments, the US withdrew its proposal.
Corals: The US introduced its proposal to list all species in the genus Corallium (pink and red corals) in Appendix II (CoP14 Prop.21), noting large volumes of trade in these slow-growing corals, lamenting destructive harvest techniques, and adding that few range states have coral populations large enough to support commercial harvest. He also proposed: an annotation that would delay the listing’s entry into effect by 18 months; and draft decisions permitting an exemption for personal and household effects of up to seven pieces weighing no more than two kilograms, and allowing identification by genus only. The EU, MEXICO, ISRAEL, QATAR and SEAWEB supported the listing, with the EU highlighting the recent dramatic decrease in coral output and productivity.
JAPAN and ASSOCORAL opposed the listing, with ASSOCORAL asserting that harvesting is sustainable and that coral populations have not acutely declined. FAO said that its Expert Panel did not support the listing. SEAWEB stated that FAO’s analysis was flawed as it considered the remaining number of coral colonies but not their size.
Following further discussion, a drafting group was established.
SHARKS: Chair Leach proposed to forward the draft decisions on porbeagle shark and spiny dogfish (CoP14 Doc.59.3, by the EU) to plenary on the condition that they would only be activated if the relevant listing proposals were adopted by the CoP. The decisions as amended by Chair Leach were rejected, failing by two votes to achieve the required two-thirds majority, with 58 votes in favor and 30 against.
DISPOSAL OF CONFISCATED SPECIMENS: INDONESIA introduced a draft decision (CoP14 Doc.27) on, inter alia, repatriation of benefits accruing from the auction or sale of confiscated specimens. Many countries opposed, and following a vote that deleted two paragraphs in the decision, INDONESIA withdrew its proposal.
TRADE IN APPENDIX-I SPECIES: The Secretariat introduced the agenda item (CoP14 Doc.34). ISRAEL said that the review identified cases of concern, demonstrating the need for further monitoring of commercial trade in Appendix-I species, and proposed two draft decisions (CoP14 Inf.7). Following a vote, delegates rejected the proposals.
ADDIS ABABA PRINCIPLES AND GUIDELINES: GERMANY, as Chair of the drafting group on the Addis Ababa Principles, noted that the group had been unable to reach consensus and suggested reintroducing the Secretariat’s original proposal (CoP14 Doc.13). The US suggested, as an alternative, an amendment to Res. Conf.13.2 (Sustainable use of biodiversity: Addis Ababa Principles and Guidelines), proposing to attach the recommendations of AC/PC as an annex to that resolution. The US proposal was agreed by 52 to 13 votes, following which the original proposal was withdrawn.
ELECTRONIC PERMITTING: The Secretariat and ITALY, as Chair of the SC Working Group on Use of Information Technology and Electronic Systems, introduced the draft decisions (CoP14 Doc.40.1 (Rev.1) and CoP14 Doc.40.2), and suggested that electronic and paper-based systems be used in parallel. Several parties proposed amendments, and Brazil suggested allowing the use of electronic signatures. Many voiced concerns with the draft decision and Brazil's proposal, stressing implementation problems for developing countries associated with the electronic system. The Secretariat agreed to prepare a revised draft.
MANAGEMENT OF ANNUAL EXPORT QUOTAS: CAMEROON introduced the three draft decisions (CoP14 Doc.36), and explained that the Export Quota Working Group did not agree on: the Secretariat’s role in clarify export quota information; or whether including information about quotas in export permits should be voluntary.
The EU urged strengthening the Secretariat’s role in reviewing quotas before they are published, lamenting confusion caused by a recently published quota from Gabon for five gorilla heads and hands, which appeared to be in violation of Res. Conf. 13.4 (Great apes). He proposed an amendment stating that, where a concern cannot be resolved through consultation, the Secretariat should publish the quota with an annotation indicating its concern and stating that the issue will be taken up through a CITES procedure. ARGENTINA, BRAZIL and ECUADOR said the Secretariat should not address substantive issues on export quotas. Delegates voted and approved the EU’s amendment.
On inclusion of quota information on export permits, the EU, JAMAICA and TRAFFIC supported a mandatory requirement, whereas ARGENTINA, BRAZIL and IWMC opposed. Delegates voted and agreed that such information should be mandatory. The EU also proposed an amendment for an annual review of NDFs for newly established or revised quotas, which was approved. Delegates approved the proposals with these three revisions, by 63 votes to 19.
INSPECTION OF TIMBER SHIPMENTS: Italy, on behalf of the EU, presented the draft decisions (CoP14 Doc.42), aimed at providing authorities with clear guidelines on identification and measurements of timber products. Several parties supported the proposal, with BRAZIL and AUSTRALIA proposing additional amendments. The ITTO offered its assistance in developing guidelines for timber shipment inspections. A drafting group chaired by Italy was established.
CROCODILIAN TAGGING SYSTEM: The US introduced a draft decision (CoP14 Doc.43), which requests an effectiveness review of the tagging system. The EU and TRAFFIC supported the proposal provided that external funding is secured, while ARGENTINA, supported by the PHILIPPINES, suggested that a working group conduct the review. Delegates agreed to prepare a revised draft.
TRADE IN SOME CROCODILIAN SPECIMENS: Germany and France, on behalf of the EU, supported by SWITZERLAND, proposed to establish a process within the SC to streamline procedures to reduce transaction costs of issuing CITES permits for trade in some crocodilian specimens. They noted that such trade has minimum impact on conservation and that specimens generally derive from ranching (CoP14 Doc.64). COLOMBIA, MEXICO, INDIA, PERU and JAPAN expressed reservations, and a drafting group was established.
EX SITU PRODUCTION AND IN SITU CONSERVATION: IRELAND introduced the document (CoP14 Doc.48 (Rev.1)), recommending an independent study. The EU supported the proposal, while BRAZIL, PERU and COLOMBIA opposed. INDIA proposed a case-specific approach. A group of NGOs stressed the increased risk that ex situ production poses for wild tigers. The proposal was rejected with 48 votes in favor and 31 against.
RESERVATIONS REGARDING SPECIES TRANSFERRED BETWEEN APPENDICES: The Secretariat introduced the document (CoP14 Doc.49). Delegates approved the proposal by consensus with minor amendments by Norway and the US.
STRATEGIC VISION: The group’s discussions resulted in a revised text to be presented to Committee II, including a preliminary agreement on the new vision statement. Participants achieved consensus on goals and objectives, and agreed that the related indicators would be referred to the SC following input from parties.
BUDGET: The group evaluated a document prepared by the Secretariat, including a line-by-line analysis of the costed work programme. Discussions focused on which activities or their components should remain within the core budget.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Despite jumbo efforts by elephant dialogue participants to arrive at a “package deal,” negotiations remained deadlocked and highly charged. While some delegates caught a glimpse of an emerging consensus around the proposed stockpile sales by all four southern African range states and a decade-long moratorium, other participants did not regard this as light at the end of the tunnel, saying negotiations were taking “one step forward and two steps back,” with both camps reportedly refusing to withdraw their existing proposals. Negotiations continued into the night in a race to make a deal before ministers start arriving on Tuesday.