Summary report, 7–11 March 2022
74th Meeting of the CITES Standing Committee
“Sustainable development, conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of the components of biodiversity will not happen without a concerted, coordinated multilateral effort. It won’t happen without us. The world is looking to us and has confidence in us to play our part in addressing these challenges.” With these words, Ivonne Higuero, Secretary-General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), opened the 74th meeting of the CITES Standing Committee (SC74). After a 30-month COVID-19 pandemic induced hiatus, CITES delegates finally convened face-to-face to address a demanding agenda.
While delegates reached consensus on many of the issues on the agenda, some items elicited passionate discussions and ultimately substantial disagreement. In the case of totoaba, delegates debated whether Mexico was doing enough to curb illegal fishing of totoaba, which indirectly impacts the critically endangered vaquita. Some called for suspension of trade measures against Mexico, which, ultimately, were not accorded. Similarly, the application by Mexico to register a captive breeding operation of totoaba for meat was deemed problematic. The matter was put to a vote, in which delegates supported the application, but left many frustrated and concerned for the vaquita’s survival.
Namibia’s export of 22 live elephants to the United Arab Emirates prompted divergent views and parties are now invited to propose a clear legal framework for trade in live African elephants at the upcoming meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP19).
A spirit of consensus emerged on many items, including the role of CITES in reducing the risk of the emergence of future zoonotic disease associated with international wildlife trade. Many highlighted the benefits of collaboration, agreeing to work with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and its Wildlife Working Group to develop a joint programme of work to collaboratively fill knowledge gaps and identify effective and practical solutions for reducing pathogen spillover risks in wildlife supply chains.
Other important highlights include:
- the work to advance big cats conservation, through the agreement on the Big Cats Task Force terms of reference and modus operandi, and the CITES and the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) collaboration to step up efforts to conserve jaguar populations and Brazil’s offer to host a meeting of all range states to help coordinate action on the multiple threats;
- support for the Secretariat’s management of the CITES Tree Species Programme, which improves and strengthens forest governance; and
- recommendations to strengthen the conservation of species, including sharks and rays, marine turtles, seahorses, Tibetan antelopes, and saiga antelope.
The agenda for SC74, in large part because of pandemic-related challenges, swelled to 89 agenda items, 117 documents and 5,000 pages. During the intersessional period, the SC worked offline but it was still challenging to work through all items, which, as a result, were not all duly considered. Several intersessional working groups were also unable to meet. SC Chair Carolina Caceres was heard saying “we will be here until I retire,” but on Friday at 6:41 pm, SC74 “reached the end of the race” and the meeting was gaveled to a close.
SC74 was particularly significant as it is the last CITES meeting on the road to CoP19 in Panama from 14-25 November 2022, and thus provided a clear indicator of what items will be important and/or contentious.
SC74 convened in Lyon, France from 7-11 March 2022.
On Monday, 7 March, Barbara Pompili, Minister of Ecological Transition, France, welcomed participants to SC74 in Lyon. She highlighted the signing of the agreement against wildlife crime in February 2022 at the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice’s Expert Discussions on preventing and combating crimes that affect the environment in Vienna, Austria, and France’s commitment against illegal wildlife trade. Jean-Patrick Le Duc, head of the French delegation, on behalf of Bérangère Abba, Secretary of State for Biodiversity, France, emphasized biodiversity’s economic relevance and the need to combat wildlife crime. He said the COVID-19 pandemic showed the urgency to live in harmony with nature. Pierre Athanaze, Vice-President, City of Lyon, underscored the city’s commitment to nature protection. CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero highlighted that this meeting’s agenda is very heavy and encouraged everyone to work with diligence. SC Chair Carolina Caceres (Canada), stressed that protecting the natural heritage is a Herculean feat, including ensuring that trade does not harm it.
Administrative and Financial Matters
Agenda and working programme: On Monday, SC74 adopted the meeting’s agenda (SC74 Doc.1.1) and working programme (SC74 Doc.2), and took note of the annotated agenda (SC74 Doc.1.2).
Rules of Procedure: SC74 noted the Rules of Procedure as set forth in SC74 Doc.3.
Admission of observers: The SC noted the list of organizations invited to attend the meeting, as contained in document SC74 Doc.5 (Rev.1).
Report of the Chairs of the Animals and Plants Committees: On Monday and Tuesday, the Chairs of the Animals Committee (AC) and Plants Committee (PC) presented the outcomes of AC31 (June 2021, online) and PC25 (June 2021, online) (SC74 Doc.6). China supported the draft decisions on African elephant nomenclature and relevant draft decisions. Tanzania supported the recognition of African forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis) as a separate species from the African savannah elephant (Loxodonta africana) for CITES purposes. With regards to pangolin, India highlighted benefits of higher taxon listing (Manis spp.). Both Committees noted the draft decisions submitted jointly, emphasizing further work is required.
Outcome: SC7 noted paragraphs 5 to 16 of SC74 Doc.6 concerning matters relating to fauna and to draft decisions on African elephant nomenclature and other draft decisions. Concerning matters referred jointly from AC31 and PC25, the SC noted the information in paragraphs 24 to 40 of document SC74 Doc.6 concerning matters relating to fauna and flora, and agreed to review draft decisions on nomenclature of Appendix-III listings and consider submitting them to CoP19.
Financial matters: On Monday, the Secretariat introduced the report (SC74 Doc.7), noting the delay in the payment of contributions, which is impacting the work of the Secretariat. The US recommended proposing increased registration fees for meetings for observer organizations, including online meetings.
Outcome: The SC approved the reports on the costed programme of work for 2019 and 2020 and for the period up to 30 September 2021 for 2021; and noted the other information provided in the report.
Report on the proposed budget scenarios for 2023-2025: On Monday, the Secretariat introduced the report (SC74 Doc.8) with the proposed three alternative budgetary scenarios for CoP19: one scenario with zero nominal growth, a second with zero real growth and a third with incremental growth. JAPAN supported the zero nominal growth scenario.
Outcome: The SC noted the document (SC74 Doc.8) and feedback received.
Access to funding: The SC introduced the report (SC74 Doc.9), highlighting greater access to funding through the new Global Environment Facility (GEF) Wildlife Conservation for Development Integrated Program. The US suggested replacing “enhance access to GEF funding” with “facilitate use” in Decision 19.AA; and deleting reference to “other GEF mechanisms” in Decision 19.DD. CHINA asked that Decision 18.4 be renewed to facilitate secondment of personnel to the Secretariat. After objection from the Secretariat, the US withdrew its proposal to change language in Decision 19.DD
Outcome: The SC noted the report (SC74 Doc.9) with agreed changes, including the decision to engage with GEF processes and facilitate use of allocated GEF funding through the Wildlife Conservation for Development Integrated Program. SC74 also agreed to direct parties to:
- provide non-reimbursable loans of personnel services to the CITES Secretariat;
- engage with their GEF national focal points in order to take part in the national GEF processes and enhance access to facilitate use of allocated GEF funding through the Wildlife Conservation for Development Integrated Program; and
- contribute to the development and implementation of GEF projects that may have components related to the implementation of CITES.
SC74 also directs the Secretariat to participate in the GEF Global Wildlife Program, Wildlife Conservation for Development Integrated Program, or other GEF mechanisms, as appropriate, to ensure that GEF projects under the program are aligned with CITES decisions and resolutions and contribute to enhanced Convention implementation.
Administrative matters including host country arrangements for the Secretariat: On Monday, the Secretariat introduced the report (SC74 Doc.10.1 and 2 (oral report)), including recruitment updates and audits.
The Finance and Budget Subcommittee (FBSC) of the Standing Committee met five times during SC74. On Friday, Martin Krebs (Switzerland), Acting Chair, FBSC (SC74 Com.4) recommended to keep this item under further review.
Outcome: SC74 noted the report.
Administrative hosting models for the Secretariat - Report of the Finance and Budget Subcommittee: On Monday, FBSC Acting Chair Krebs provided an update on the administrative hosting models for the Secretariat. The SC noted the oral report.
On Friday, Krebs presented recommendations.
Outcome: In the report (SC74 Com.4), SC74:
- approved the reports on the costed programme of work for the full years 2019 and 2020, and for the period up to 30 September 2021;
- noted the report on proposed budget scenarios for 2023-2025; and
- deferred to CoP19 whether to consider possible supplementary funding sources for future administrative costs when programme support cost is inadequate.
Report of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on administrative matters: On Monday, UNEP presented on the administrative and financial management support provided to the Convention (SC74 Doc.10.3), including implementation of the Implementing Partner and Integrated Planning and Management Reporting (IPMR) modules in Umoja. SC74 noted the document.
Arrangements for the 19th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP19): Preparations for CoP19: On Monday, PANAMA provided an update on preparations for the CoP, noting they were calling it the“CoP of the Americas”and illustrating notable aspects of the country and its biodiversity. SENEGAL asked about emblematic species and PANAMA expanded on the harpy eagle, jaguars, and the golden frog. ZIMBABWE called for adequate language arrangements to be put in place, while the SPECIES SURVIVAL NETWORK (SSN) offered their support for a successful CoP.
Draft agenda: On Monday, the Secretariat introduced the draft agenda for CoP19 (SC74 Doc.11.2) and highlighted the submission deadline of 17 June 2022 for communicating documents for CoP19. The SC agreed to provide its comments on the draft provisional agenda, and approve it as the basis for the preparation of the provisional agenda for CoP19.
Draft working programme: On Monday, the Secretariat presented the document (SC74 Doc.11.3). She noted that the Secretariat requests that the SC approve the annex to the present document as the basis for the preparation of a provisional working programme for CoP19. The SC agreed with the provisional working programme, noting there should be a break on Saturday and Sunday.
Review of the Rules of Procedure of the Conference of the Parties: Report of the working group: On Monday, SC Chair Caceres presented the document (SC74 Doc.11.4), reflecting on the importance of altering the Rules of Procedure. The SC established an in-session working group, chaired by Canada, with the mandate to consider the use of “least” or “most” in Rule 25.6 of the Rules of Procedure of the CoP. Rule 25.6 says that if two or more proposals relate to the same taxon, but are different in substance, the Conference shall first decide on the proposal that will have the least restrictive effect on the trade and then on the proposal with the next least restrictive effect on the trade, and so forth until all proposals have been submitted to decision.
On Wednesday, SC Chair Caceres noted that the working group had met but did not reach agreement. She concluded the SC should forward the recommendations to the CoP. INDONESIA and CHINA disagreed, as no consensus was reached, and said the SC should filter what goes to the CoP. SC Chair Caceres proposed two options: the first, backed by SENEGAL, the EU, OCEANIA, and ISRAEL, to present the outcomes of the working group discussions, recognizing there was no consensus on those two points, but there was general agreement, including on making sure all proposals are presented; the second to note the SC did not feel comfortable with the recommendations of the working group and to thus not put forward changes to Rule 25.6, as favored by INDONESIA, CHINA, NAMIBIA, PERU, and KUWAIT.
ISRAEL, supported by SENEGAL, subsequently called for an official vote on what should be taken to the CoP. SENEGAL, the EU, GEORGIA, ISRAEL, POLAND, OCEANIA, NORTH AMERICA, and CONGO voted to bring forward the amendment for discussion by the CoP as per Rule 25.6, while CHINA, INDONESIA, KUWAIT, PERU, ETHIOPIA and NAMIBIA voted against. JAPAN lamented the voting and hoped the spirit of compromise could be kept for future decisions.
Outcome: SC74 voted (8 in favor and 6 against) to submit to CoP19 amendments to Rule 25.6 of the CoP Rules of Procedure.
Selection of nominees for Committee Chairs: On Monday, the Secretariat recalled previous meetings and decisions, and noted the closing date for nominations is 19 March 2022, with the selection panel deciding by 14 June 2022 and the final announcement at the CoP in Panama City. ISRAEL asked for the Secretariat to provide feedback on proposed nominations.
CoP19 sponsored delegates:On Monday, the Secretariat presented the matter (SC74 Doc. 11.6), including the implementation of Decision 18.12, noting that April is the deadline for applications and that funding will be allocated first for one delegate per country, then more, if funding suffices. ISRAEL noted CoP resources should come from external funding from donors and not be a burden on the Secretariat.
Outcome: The SC took note of the document and recommended CoP19 consider Decision 18.12 as fully implemented.
Review of the Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) programme: On Wednesday, the Secretariat presented the results of the review of the ETIS Programme (SC74 Doc.12). She noted that the review offers a set of recommendations that led to several proposals on amendments to Resolution Conf. 10.10 (Rev. CoP18) on trade in elephant specimens and an amendment to Resolution Conf. 11.17 (Rev. CoP18) on national reports that are submitted to the SC for its consideration. The EU supported the amendment to allow sharing of data with the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) and lamented the funding shortfalls. INDONESIA called for the equitable treatment of ETIS parties. CHINA objected to sharing ICCWC data to ETIS, unless through the Secretariat. SINGAPORE and JAPAN proposed a set of amendments. The US agreed with the EU but cautioned against other proposed changes. A MIKE and ETIS Subgroup met in the margins of the meeting to consider: the proposed amendments to Annex 3 of document SC74 Doc.12 by CHINA; the proposed changes to Section 2 of Annex 4 by CHINA, SINGAPORE, and TRAFFIC, and to Section 5 of Annex 4 by SINGAPORE; the proposed amendments to Annex 5 by BELGIUM and China; the deadline for submission of seizure data; and draft recommendations for consideration at CoP19.
On Friday, the group shared the recommendations (SC74 Com.5). JAPAN lamented that their concerns were not taken into consideration. The US and TRAFFIC voiced concern over moving the reporting deadline to 31 October.
Outcome: SC74 agreed to the recommended amendments, taking into consideration the new proposed deadline.
MIKE and ETIS programmes: On Wednesday, the Secretariat introduced SC74 Doc.13, and the objectives of the programmes as called for in Decision 18.21. She proposed approaches to address the financial and operational sustainability of the Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) programme, by incorporating the MIKE and ETIS programmes in a resource mobilization strategy to be developed by the Secretariat; identifying key elements of support to be integrated in the core budget of the Secretariat; and preparing proposals for support to the MIKE programme for consideration by donors.
Outcome: SC74 noted the approaches that the Secretariat proposes to address the financial and operational sustainability of the MIKE programme, and proposed draft decisions directing the Secretariat to pursue them.
CITES Tree Species Program (CTSP): On Thursday, the Secretariat introduced SC74 Doc.14, on the implementation of CTSP, providing direct financial assistance to parties to take conservation and management measures to ensure that trade in timber, bark, extracts and other products from CITES-listed tree species is sustainable, legal, and traceable. She noted that a potential continuation of the CTSP is dependent on the availability of external funding. The US and OCEANIA expressed support with small changes.
Outcome: SC74 noted the report and considered draft decisions directing:
- parties to provide financial and in-kind support for the continuation of a capacity-building programme; and
- the Secretariat to develop a capacity-building programme across all six regions and seek advice and guidance from the PC and SC, as needed.
Towards a resolution on CITES and forests: On Monday, the Secretariat introduced the proposed resolution (CITES SC74 Doc.15), noting the PC retained two options for progressing the development of a resolution on CITES and forests, and recommended that the Secretariat submit both to the SC for consideration. She noted that as a first option, it recommended that the Secretariat develop and submit a draft resolution on CITES and forests; and as a second option, it offered two draft decisions on the subject She also noted that as a complement to the first option, the Secretariat has also drafted decisions to support the implementation of the resolution in its first iteration, should it be adopted at CoP19.
INDONESIA called for further discussion and expressed preference for the second option. CANADA, supported by the US and ARGENTINA, also called for further consideration and suggested a third way with additional draft decisions supporting work on issues central to CITES, backed by ISRAEL. OCEANIA supported the adoption of draft decisions proposed by the Secretariat as well as those submitted by the US. CHINA supported the draft decisions in the second option. The UK noted this is a pressing issue and supported Canada’s option. KENYA proposed the establishment of a dedicated task force.
Outcome: The SC considered the Secretariat’s draft resolution on CITES and forests and draft decisions; and proposed a process involving the Scientific Committees in the development of a resolution.
Role of CITES in reducing risk of future zoonotic disease emergence associated with international wildlife trade: Report of the working group: On Monday, SC Chair Caceres introduced the report from the working group she chaired (SC74 Doc.16). She described how the document contains in paragraph 17 proposed amendments to a resolution on the transport of live specimens (Resolution Conf. 10.21 (Rev. CoP16)) for consideration by CoP19. She described key points as: the importance of collaboration, avoiding duplication, working with appropriate partners, and focusing on value-added and the need for practical guidance in the handling and care of live animals in trade to avoid zoonosis transmission.
Participants debated whether the issue was within the mandate of the Convention. They discussed drawing from a guidance document prepared by the World Health Organization, OIE, and UNEP in April 2021, entitled “Reducing public health risks associated with the sale of live wild animals of mammalian species in traditional food markets,” as well as from the One Health approach. Some provided examples of actions taken in response to COVID-19 and noted the need for practical guidance and a timely response. Many highlighted the benefits of collaborating with other relevant organizations like the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Air Transport Association. Discussions ensued on the specific recommendations contained in the document.
Outcome: The SC agreed to direct the Secretariat to:
- issue a notification to parties, requesting them to identify and describe any new or existing domestic measures, or stricter domestic measures on in-transit shipments, imports and (re-) exports, on live wildlife trade or markets that contribute to mitigate the risk of pathogen spillover from international wildlife trade; and
- in line with the cooperation agreement between the CITES Secretariat and the OIE, work with the OIE and its Wildlife Working Group, including through the new Ad Hoc Working Group on Reducing the Risk of Disease Spillover in Wildlife Markets and along the Wildlife Supply Chain, in order to, inter alia, develop a joint programme of work to collaboratively help fill knowledge gaps and identify effective and practical solutions for reducing pathogen spillover risk in wildlife supply chains.
The SC is asked to review the report of the Secretariat, taking into account the recommendations of the AC. In consultation with the Scientific Committees, the SC should consider the development of a resolution on actions CITES parties and others could take to advance a “One Health” approach as it pertains to international wildlife trade, and provide its recommendations, which may be in the form of a new draft resolution, to CoP20.
CITES Strategic Vision: 2021-2030: On Monday, GEORGIA introduced the report of the working group on Strategic Vision (SC74 Doc.17.1), proposing new or revised indicators of progress to be included in the CITES Strategic Vision 2021-2030.
Outcome: The Committee agreed to submit the potential indicators for the CITES Strategic Vision to CoP19.
Report of the Secretariat: On Monday, the Secretariat presented SC74 Doc.17.2, with the mapping of the CITES Strategic Vision 2021-2030 objectives against the Sustainable Development Goals, noting the mapping could not include the post-2020 global biodiversity framework (GBF) that has not yet been adopted. She also introduced relevant draft decisions.
The EU proposed language in draft decision 19.AA, to the effect of using the linkages between the CITES Strategic Vision 2021-2030 and the post-2020 GBF as a starting point for an assessment of how CITES can contribute to the implementation of the GBF and its monitoring framework. He also suggested a new decision 19.CC asking the AC to review information provided in an assessment under 19.AA. CANADA, supported by the US, agreed to the draft decisions with the EU amendments, adding further for decision 19.AA to highlight areas of alignment with the post-2020 GBF and present analysis to the AC and PC.
Outcome: SC74 agreed to direct:
- the Secretariat to undertake a comparative analysis in order to illustrate the linkages between the CITES Strategic Vision 2021-2030 and highlight areas of alignment with the post-2020 GBF, as a starting point for an assessment of how CITES can contribute to the implementation of the GBF;
- the AC and PC to review the information provided by the Secretariat and make further recommendations to the SC; and
- the SC to review the comments and recommendations provided by the AC and PC and the information provided by the Secretariat.
Review of the Convention: On Tuesday, the Secretariat introduced SC74 Doc.18, noting it is based on: a summary of what led to the 1996 “Study on how to improve the effectiveness of CITES” and of how the recommendations of the study were implemented; an overview of existing CITES review mechanisms, highlighting what they cover and do not cover; and a short presentation of what targeted reviews usually look at (relevance, effectiveness, and efficiency). CANADA suggested the proposal should be costed and issues refined with clearly-defined methods, while the EU noted the budget was an underestimate.
Outcome: SC74 considered the need for a review of the Convention and did not recommend it at this time in view of the costs and existing mechanism already agreed by the CoP.
Language strategy for the Convention: On Friday, the Secretariat introduced the document on language strategy (SC74 Doc.19 (Rev.1)) and costs associated with three different options. FBSC Acting Chair Krebs provided some recommendations to the SC (SC74 Com.4) reflecting concerns over costs. CHINA, SOMALIA, and OMAN recommended going back to the options tabled in the Secretariat’s document and expressed preference for option 3, with language services in all six UN official languages provided only for meetings of the CoP. KUWAIT agreed with CHINA, citing the importance of including Arabic but also agreed with the FSBC proposal. The EU expressed preference for option 2 offering an incremental language strategy that aims to identify those documents that should be translated as a priority to facilitate the daily implementation work of their national authorities, but together with the UK, OCEANIA, ISRAEL, and PERU agreed to FSBC proposal.
Outcome: The SC agreed to request the Secretariat to conduct a survey on how other biodiversity multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) and natural resources management bodies are handling language services for non-working languages for that MEA/body, and to present new options.
Engagement with Indigenous Peoples and local communities: On Thursday, Kenya, on behalf of the working group, reported it was not able to meet intersessionally, because of COVID-19 and language barriers. He noted that a questionnaire was circulated on engagement on CITES-listed species, and some responses were received. The Secretariat introduced the results of the questionnaire (SC74 Doc.21.2), which covered the status of Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPLCs) and their relationship with CITES-listed species; scale and form of engagement; successful experiences in IPLC engagement in relation to CITES; and challenges, and additional information. The Secretariat also summarized the experiences of engagement with IPLCs by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) and the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar Convention). Many parties supported renewal of the working group.
Outcome: SC74 noted the oral and written reports, and supported renewal of the working group and the Secretariat’s suggestion that draft decisions on engagement of IPLCs be submitted to CoP19.
Livelihoods: On Thursday, Peru, as the Chair of the working group on livelihoods, presented SC74 Doc.21.1 and the Secretariat presented SC74 Doc.21.2. The Secretariat noted that only 13 countries answered the relevant questionnaire and suggested a repetition of the consultation with parties. She noted potential synergies with the group for rural communities and options to reevaluate both groups’ mandates. The Secretariat presented its report including the draft guidance on maximizing benefits to IPLCs from trade in CITES-listed species and exploring the use of registered marks of certification and other traceability mechanisms for products.
CHINA supported the working group’s report and the recommendations of the Secretariat, noting national experiences and expressing it supported initiatives linked to IPLCs. INDONESIA, also on behalf of MALAYSIA, noted that the draft guidance document required more time for review and objected to its submission to CoP19. POLAND, BURKINA FASO and TANZANIA concurred that CoP19 should extend the group’s mandate and it should report back to SC77. CANADA supported POLAND and also opposed the idea of merging the working groups on livelihoods and IPLC, noting information should be shared between the groups as they advance their specific mandates. MEXICO recognized the involvement of IPLCs as essential in decision making for CITES. The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) suggested taking note of the document without sending it to the CoP, favoring a postponement to the next intersessional period.
Outcome: SC74 noted the reports and agreed that continued work is needed. SC74 invited the Secretariat to work in consultation with the SC Chair and the Chair of the livelihoods working group to present an updated decision to CoP19 to renew its work.
Capacity building: On Tuesday, the Secretariat introduced the report of the working group (SC74 Doc.22), noting that the AC and PC agreed that some form of CITES capacity-building conceptual framework (strategy) is needed, and that a wide variety of elements must be considered when developing it. The US proposed to insert language on consultation with the Scientific Committees in the draft resolution.
Outcome: SC74 noted the document and reviewed the draft resolution as amended and decisions on capacity building, recommending them for adoption at CoP19.
Cooperation with other biodiversity-related conventions: On Monday, the Secretariat introduced the report (SC74 Doc.23), presenting a summary of existing resolutions and decisions related to synergies, partnerships, and cooperation with other biodiversity-related entities. SWITZERLAND, supported by the REPUBLIC OF KOREA, proposed to refer in the draft decisions to the “Bern I and II consultations” on the post-2020 GBF. The US agreed with the draft decisions, with minor edits to highlight collaborations enhancing implementation of the Convention.
Outcome: The SC noted the information and considered the conclusion reached by the Secretariat that a partnership strategy could assist in ensuring a more strategic, streamlined, cohesive and effective approach to cooperation. The SC further directed:
- the Secretariat to prepare a partnership strategy for the parties to identify priorities for collaboration;
- the SC to review the draft partnership strategy developed by the Secretariat; and
- the Secretariat to explore options consistent with the CITES Strategic Vision to strengthen cooperation, collaboration and synergies at all relevant levels between CITES and the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, its Aichi Targets, and the post-2020 GBF, taking into account the outcomes of the Second Consultation Workshop of Biodiversity-related Conventions on the post-2020 GBF (Bern II), as appropriate, as well as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals.
Cooperation with the World Heritage Convention: On Monday, the Secretariat introduced the document (SC74 Doc.24) which includes a proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Secretariat and the UNESCO World Heritage Centre. ISRAEL welcomed the MoU but, with PANAMA and ARGENTINA, suggested clarification on “areas of cooperation” proposing wording to more broadly encompass “species included in one of the CITES Appendices and occurring in World Heritage sites.” The Secretariat explained the distinctions in the previous wording was aimed at prioritizing areas of action. The EU supported the MoU. The US suggested further dialogue was required before a joint programme of work can be developed. SC Chair Caceres noted the comments would be provided to the Secretariat for further discussion and that the SC had thus provided its recommendations as mandated.
Outcome: SC74 agreed to provide to the Secretariat recommendations on the draft MoU with the World Heritage Centre, highlighting focus on cooperation on the conservation and sustainable use of species, in particular those species included in one of the CITES Appendices and occurring in World Heritage sites.
Cooperation with IPBES (Resolution Conf. 18.4): On Monday, AC Chair Mathias Lörtscher introduced the document (SC74 Doc.25), noting the SC was invited to agree to mandate the Chairs of the SC, AC and PC to represent the Convention at the launch of the Assessment Report on the Sustainable Use of Wild Species at the 9th meeting of the IPBES Plenary, and submit the report of its work on IPBES in the annex to the document to CoP19, including draft decisions. Participants voiced support for the collaboration and debated whether the Secretariat should attend rather than—or together with—the Chairs. It was agreed the Convention should be represented at the launch and that the representation be through the Chairs of the Committees or the Secretariat, if funding is available.
Outcome: SC74 agreed to mandate the Chairs of the SC, AC and PC and/or the Secretariat to represent the Convention in the launch of the Assessment Report on the Sustainable Use of Wild Species at the 9th meeting of the IPBES Plenary to highlight its relevance to the implementation of the Convention and offer to engage with IPBES further on any relevant follow-up activities.
Interpretation and Implementation Matters
National laws for implementation of the Convention: On Tuesday, the Secretariat presented SC74 Doc.26 and the recommendations in paragraph 38. GEORGIA noted a number of countries in the region hadn’t finalized development of the necessary legislation and proposed to share their experience, possibly online so as to not incur costs. SENEGAL urged parties that need to make further progress to do so. INDIA, ECUADOR, and TANZANIA provided insight into national measures with the latter requesting to be added to Category 1 countries (those with legislation that is believed generally to meet the requirements for implementation of CITES). The US applauded ECUADOR and TANZANIA for their efforts and voiced agreement with the recommendations. The Secretariat thanked donors for their support, particularly the US, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and France.
Outcome: The SC agreed to:
- commend Jordan, Mauritania, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Solomon Islands for the efforts leading to the legislation to be placed in Category 1 and other parties that have made substantial progress in adopting measures for the effective implementation of the Convention;
- recommend suspending commercial trade with Dominica, Grenada, Kazakhstan, Libya, Mongolia, and São Tomé and Príncipe; and
- request the Secretariat to issue a formal warning to the parties that have not reported any legislative progress for more than three years (Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Maldives, Montenegro, Sierra Leone, and Zambia), requesting them to immediately take steps to ensure progress is made before CoP19 and to report such progress to the Secretariat by 1 September 2022.
National reports: Submission of annual reports: On Tuesday, the Secretariat introduced SC74 Doc.27, listing the countries that had failed to provide annual reports for three consecutive years, without having provided adequate justification: Albania, Burundi, Chad, Dominica, Iran, Libya, Mongolia, Paraguay, Saint Lucia, São Tomé and Príncipe, and Syria.
Outcome: The SC instructed the Secretariat to determine whether the parties mentioned above have failed to provide annual reports for three consecutive years, without having provided adequate justification, and, if so determined, to issue a notification (60 days after the closure of this meeting) recommending that parties should not authorize any commercial trade in specimens of CITES-listed species with those parties until they have provided the missing reports.
Compliance matters: Implementation of Article XIII and Resolution Conf. 14.3 (Rev. CoP18) on CITES compliance procedures: On Tuesday, the Secretariat introduced SC74 Doc.28.1 stressing the approach of CITES towards compliance matters is “supportive and non-adversarial” to ensure long-term compliance, and noted the document looks at five cases, providing recommendations on the first four: trade in live Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) (Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) and China); trade in African teak(Pericopsis elata)from Cameroon; the registration of operations that breed Appendix-I animal species in captivity for commercial purposes (EU and UK); timber trade (Viet Nam); and the trade in birds (Bangladesh).
SC Chair Caceres opened the floor on the recommendations from the SC for each matter, with the US and the EU voicing support for all of them and asking for updates to be provided at SC75 and SC77, and for the relevant parties to be responsive to the Secretariat’s requests.
On live elephants, noting issues of trust and a lack of scientific evidence, CHINA rejected the first recommendation, noting that it is in continuous exchange with the Secretariat, and asked for paragraphs 13 to 15 of the report (on the state of import and details of a verification mission) to be deleted.
LAO PDR drew attention to national measures to protect forests and biodiversity, and their work with CITES, China and other partners.
As a main importer ofPericopsis elata, the EU supported the recommendations, while ISRAEL asked for clarification on the trade of parrots from Dominica to Germany, with GERMANY agreeing to provide bilateral information to Israel and liaise with the Secretariat. The UK provided details on its robust, transparent and successful control of breeders, noting no evidence of systemic problems.
Canada drew attention to the SC working group reviewing inconsistencies and ambiguities in the CITES resolutions. On the timber trade in VIET NAM, the EU and the US suggested the review should be extended beyond timber.
Outcome: SC74 agreed with the recommendations in the document, underscoring the Secretariat would take note and continue to follow up on the issue of birds in Bangladesh; liaise with Israel and Germany on grey parrots; and define what other species had been investigated in Viet Nam. The Secretariat will also provide updates on actions in the run up to SC75 and beyond.
Application of Article XIII in the Lao PDR: On Tuesday, the Secretariat introduced SC74 Doc.28.2.1, on progress made by Lao PDR on the implementation of the SC recommendations on the management of exports of Dalbergia spp., national legislation for the implementation of CITES, the Lao CITES Authorities, law enforcement, monitoring of wildlife farms and related trade, awareness-raising, and capacity building and technical assistance. She noted progress in some areas but with varied results. She called for an additional recommendation to suspend trade in live Asian elephants.
On tiger farms, LAO PDR cited delays in collecting and transferring samples due to COVID19, and on live Asian elephants, welcomed support in implementing recommendations. The EU and US supported the recommendations, including suspension of trade of all CITES-listed species.
BORN FREE FOUNDATION, on behalf of many other organizations, lamented the lack of progress despite significant donor funding, including that captive tiger farms continue to operate with impunity. WWF agreed that the level of progress is disappointing but suggested that Lao PDR would be given one more chance through time-bound decisions.
Outcome: SC74 noted the progress made by Lao PDR and updated the recommendations as follows:
- parties shall continue to suspend commercial trade in specimens of the genus Dalbergia spp., until Lao PDR makes scientifically based non-detriment findings (NDFs) for trade in the relevant species;
- Lao PDR shall finalize the ongoing revision of the Wildlife and Aquatic Law to ensure that the gaps in the CITES Decree are fully addressed; and strengthen capacity and training of CITES authorities and to investigate and prosecute cases involving organized or transboundary illegal trade activities in coordination with China, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam;
- Lao PDR shall finalize the full audit of the tigers kept in captivity, combined with a marking scheme and genetic analysis of the animals to establish their origin in collaboration with relevant international organizations;
- parties shall suspend all trade in live Asian elephants until Lao PDR is able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Secretariat that specimens to be traded with source code C comply with the definition of captive-bred specimens; and
- the SC request Lao PDR to submit a report to the Secretariat by 28 February 2023 on activities undertaken in the period January – December 2022.
Application of Article XIII in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC): On Tuesday, the Secretariat reviewed the progress made by DRC on the implementation of the SC recommendations regarding quota setting and management; the management of trade in African grey parrot (Psittacus Erithacus); trade in pangolin stockpiles; trade in African teak (P. elata); illegal trade; and compliance assistance and reporting (SC74 Doc.28.2.2). She called for further recommendations to maintain suspension of trade. DRC noted that it has successfully achieved some recommendations and therefore trade suspensions should be removed. The US and EU disagreed with the suggestion not to renew Decision 17.256 (Rev. CoP18) on African grey parrots and replacing it with a resolution. The SC agreed.
Outcome: SC74 updated the recommendations to the effect that:
- DRC shall continue to strengthen its Scientific Authorities by building capacity;
- parties shall maintain the suspension of trade in P. erithacus pending compliance with the recommendations made at SC69; and renew Decision 17.256;
- parties shall not authorize trade of specimens from stockpiles of pangolins (Manis spp.) held in the DRC;
- on illegal trade, DRC shall intensify efforts to conduct analyses of available information to map organized crime groups active in the country, with a particular focus on pangolins and ivory; and
- DRC should report on progress made on the implementation of these recommendations by 31 December 2022.
Application of Article XIII in Guinea: On Tuesday, the Secretariat reviewed the progress made by Guinea on the implementation of the SC recommendations regarding export of pre-Convention specimens of Pterocarpus erinaceus (SC74 28.2.3), highlighting significant efforts to implement the recommendations. She noted however that Guinea has not yet undertaken the marking of the logs, their loading into containers, or the sealing of the containers.
Guinea emphasized progress, including adoption of measures to ensure transparency of export of authorized wood stocks and called for more time to implement the requested measures. US, supported by Gabon, offered to provide more time for Guinea to implement the recommendations. The SC agreed.
Outcome: SC74 recommended that Guinea:
- take all the necessary measures by November 2022 to implement the SC decision adopted on 21 April 2021 and report back at SC77;
- adopt legislative measures that meet the CITES minimum requirements set out in Resolution Conf. 8.4 (Rev.CoP15) on national laws for implementation of the Convention and in accordance with the guidance provided under the National Legislation Project;
- implement a system for the receipt and management of applications for CITES documents;
- continue to investigate and prosecute cases of illegal trade in specimens of CITES-listed species; and
- consider the implementation of the ICCWC Indicator Framework for wildlife and forest crime.
SC74 further recommended that parties maintain the suspension of commercial trade with Guinea until the above-mentioned recommendations have been implemented to the satisfaction of the Secretariat.
Application of Article XIII in Nigeria: On Tuesday, the Secretariat introduced SC74 Doc.28.2.4. He noted that the Secretariat proposed that the SC update and replace its recommendations adopted at SC70 with the recommendations in paragraph 27, which include that parties shall suspend commercial trade in specimens of all CITES-listed species from Nigeria.
NIGERIA acknowledged the scale of wildlife crime in the country, noting that the transit of illicit wildlife products is well documented and of serious concern. He further described the efforts undertaken, including with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to develop a national strategy on wildlife crime and the establishment of a wildlife law enforcement task force. He called for CITES to assist them in their work and assured parties of their commitment, detailing: the destruction of stockpiles of ivory and pangolin scales; an electronic permitting system; information exchange on cashflows to prosecute criminals; the harmonization of forestry and wildlife laws; and capacity building.
SENEGAL, supported by the US and GUINEA, suggested that given the level of commitment shown by Nigeria and the impact of a trade suspension on the region, an opportunity to meet requirements should be granted with clear deadlines and feedback at SC75 or SC77. Noting the suite of recommendations, the US suggested prioritizing them and providing clear expectations.
GUINEA, MEXICO, and GABON supported Senegal, while the EU raised concern on the lack of progress on key recommendations and voiced support for the recommendations, including suspending trade, but showed flexibility on the condition concrete milestones are set and monitored.
Outcome: SC74 agreed to encourage all potential transit and destination countries of shipments of illegal specimens of Pterocarpus erinaceus from Nigeria to take appropriate measures to ensure that such timber is not illegally transported or traded, including prohibiting entry, seizing such specimens upon arrival and applying appropriate sanctions against traffickers in accordance with the provisions of the Convention.
- implement a strategy to counter corruption linked to illegal wildlife trade at all levels;
- establish an efficient and secure information system, preferably an electronic system to facilitate the issuance of permits and certificates;
- maintain an inventory of all seized stocks of CITES-listed species and ensure strict implementation of Resolution Conf. 17.8 on disposal of illegally traded and confiscated specimens of CITES-listed species; and
- report on progress by the document deadline for SC75 (14 September 2022), and if no progress is reported by SC75, SC may consider a suspension of commercial trade in specimens of all CITES-listed species from Nigeria.
Introduction from the sea of sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis) by Japan: On Tuesday, the Secretariat introduced SC74 Doc. 28.2.5 noting it recommends the SC take note of the information provided by Japan and consider whether any further action is necessary on sei whale specimens from the North Pacific population that were introduced under introduction from the sea certificates prior to SC70.
The US, ARGENTINA and the EU recognized Japan’s efforts to address compliance issues and, with the ANIMAL WELFARE INSTITUTE recommended the SC consider the compliance matter resolved and proceed to close the case. OCEANIA stressed proceeds from sales should not benefit the whaling industry and SENEGAL recalled that at the previous CoP Japan had already committed not to use lethal methods in sampling.
Outcome: The SC noted the information provided by Japan and considered the compliance matter resolved and proceeded to close the case.
Malagasy ebonies (Diospyros spp.) and palisanders and rosewoods (Dalbergia spp.): On Tuesday, in absence of the Madagascar delegates, SC Chair Caceres noted there was no updatedReport of Madagascar (Decision 18.96)(SC74 Doc. 28.3.1) and that participants should thus focus on theReport of the Secretariat (Decisions 18.94 and 18.99),as contained in SC74 Doc. 28.3.2. The Secretariat presented the report and drew attention to the suite of recommendations in paragraph 43.
KENYA described contraband seized in 2014 and efforts to ensure it does not return to the market or to traffickers. On decision 18.96, SWITZERLAND, backed by the US, raised concerns about stocks and stockpiles, noting few had been properly inventoried and stored in secure areas, and noted stockpiles are estimated to be eight times greater than the official numbers. She drew attention to hidden stocks and said paragraph (f) could not be deleted, as suggested, given the number of unresolved issues, but rather redrafted. The EU then proposed text. The INTERNATIONAL TROPICAL TIMBER ORGANIZATION drew attention to projects in Madagascar; TRAFFIC called for inventories to be carried out; and the ENVIRONMENTAL INVESTIGATION AGENCY deplored traffickers were not always prosecuted and, at times, appointed to high-level positions.
Outcome: SC74 agreed to:
- uphold the recommendation for parties not to accept exports or re-exports for commercial purposes from Madagascar of specimens of Diospyros spp. (populations from Madagascar; annotation #5) or Dalbergia spp. (annotation #15) from Madagascar, until Madagascar has made a legal acquisition finding and an NDF for these species on the national level to the satisfaction of the Secretariat; and
- invite parties of origin, transit, and destination of specimens of Dalbergia spp. and Diospyros spp. from Madagascar to implement all the measures recommended by the SC regarding commercial trade in specimens of these species from Madagascar, including the suspension of such trade, and to effectively manage the stockpiles of wood of Dalbergia spp. and Diospyros spp. from Madagascar.
National ivory action plans process: On Tuesday, the Secretariat introduced its report on National Ivory Action Plans (NIAPs) (SC74 Doc.28.4), highlighting late submissions from Mozambique and Togo. He suggested changing the recommendation related to Mozambique, given its late submission in the wrong template. He also highlighted the late submission from Togo, recommending that the SC note the late submission. CAMBODIA and VIET NAM asked to exit the process, given that they believe they achieved 80% of actions. The Secretariat, however, responded that the rest of actions need to be on track.
Outcome: The SC agreed to issue notifications warning Angola, Cameroon, and Ethiopia, as parties that have not provided their submissions by the deadline, to submit NIAP progress reports to the Secretariat within 60 days of the conclusion of SC74; and concluded that Cambodia, Viet Nam and Togo have not achieved NIAP goals. The SC also agreed not to include Turkey in the NIAP process, and to commend Malaysia and Hong Kong for achieving NIAP process goals.
Totoaba: On Tuesday, MEXICO introduced the report (SC74 Doc.28.5) on the implementation of Decisions 18.292- 18.295 on the threats to totoaba and vaquita posed by illegal trade, highlighting that illegal trade in totoaba is in the hands of international networks. She called for a trilateral group that includes China, to address this threat.
The US lamented that CITES is not being implemented effectively by Mexico with regard to curbing illegal fishing of totoaba. She called for, supported by ISRAEL, the suspension of trade measures against Mexico. CHINA opposed compliance measures, highlighting Mexico’s efforts. The SC agreed not to impose compliance measures and invited the Secretariat to undertake a second mission to Mexico.
Outcome: SC74 noted the report provided by Mexico and efforts made to address illegal fishing and trafficking of totoaba, and the associated threats posed to the vaquita; and requested Mexico to strengthen measures to ensure that a “zero tolerance policy” is strictly applied in the vaquita refuge and zero-tolerance area, and that consistent measures are taken and strict penalties imposed against fishers that are found operating in areas where fishing is prohibited. SC74 also:
- requested China, Mexico and the US to set and agree on a timeline to finalize the terms of reference (ToR) for the establishment and operationalization of the trilateral enforcement contact group, as well as to establish and operationalize the group, and to communicate this timeline to the CITES Secretariat by 31 May 2022;
- requested the Secretariat to undertake a second mission to Mexico to evaluate progress on the implementation of Decision 18.292, with a particular focus on the areas of concern; and
- agreed to submit draft decisions, for submission to CoP19, directing the Secretariat to revise the ToR for the study on vaquita and totoaba.
Compliance Assistance Programme: On Tuesday, the Secretariat introduced the update (SC74 Doc.29) on the establishment of the Compliance Assistance Programme (CAP) and on the financial or technical support to the CAP provided by parties.
Outcome: SC74 noted the update and considered for submission to CoP19 an amendment to Resolution Conf. 14.3 (Rev. CoP18) on CITES compliance procedures to reflect the CAP.
Review of Significant Trade in specimens of Appendix-II species: Implementation of recommendations of the Animals and Plants Committees: On Thursday, the Secretariat introduced SC74 Doc.30.1, noting reports on actions taken by parties to implement recommendations made by the AC, PC and SC under the Review of Significant Trade (RST), including that some recommendations have been amended slightly. With regard to red and green macaw (Ara chloropterus) from Guyana and Suriname, the US asked to review additional information for purposes of quota change a suggested making a decision for SC75.
Outcome: SC74 agreed with the recommendations, including:
- for festive Amazon (Amazona festiva/Guyana), to request Guyana to share the results of its population study of psittacines;
- for yellow-footed tortoise (Chelonoidis denticulatus/Guyana), to request the Secretariat to publish a zero export quota for C. denticulatus until Guyana provides information (including an NDF) to justify a higher quota, to be agreed with the AC Chair;
- for crab-eating macaque (Macaca fascicularis/Lao PDR), to lift the current recommendation to suspend trade and recommend the removal of the species/country combination Macaca fascicularis/Lao PDR from the RST process, subject to the publication of a zero export quota for specimens of source codes W, F and R;
- for southern mealy Amazon (Amazona farinosa/Suriname), to request the Secretariat to publish a zero export quota for A. farinosa until Suriname provides information (including an NDF) to justify a higher quota to be agreed with the AC Chair;
- for blue and yellow macaw (Ara ararauna/Suriname), to request the Secretariat to publish a zero-export quota for A. ararauna until Suriname provides information (including an NDF) to justify a higher quota to be agreed with the AC Chair; and
- for red and green macaw (Ara chloropterus/Suriname), to request the Secretariat to publish a zero-export quota for A. chloropterus until Suriname provides information (including an NDF) to justify a higher quota to be agreed with the AC Chair.
Review of Standing Committee recommendations to suspend trade made more than two years ago: On Thursday, the Secretariat presented the review (SC74 Doc.30.2), noting it had commissioned UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC) to examine a selection of animal taxa from eight selected parties (Benin, Cameroon, Fiji, Ghana, Guinea, Senegal, Solomon Islands, and Tanzania). Highlighting that three Parties (Guinea, Senegal, and Tanzania) did not respond to the consultation, she recommended that the trade suspensions for West African seahorse (Hippocampus algiricus)from Guinea and Senegal, andFischer’s chameleon (Kinyongia fischeri) andtwo-horned chameleon (K. tavetana)from Tanzania remain in place.
Delegates discussed the recommendations, particularly that the SC withdraw its recommendation to suspend trade forMadagascar cycad (Cycas thouarsii) from Mozambique, based on research that the species is not native to the country and that a nomenclature expert should be consulted. The US questioned whether Mozambique should provide data, while SENEGAL stressed that if the species is not native, it shouldn’t be an issue.
Onrounded bubble coral (Plerogyra simplex)andbubble coral (P. sinosa) from Fiji, delegates concurred to withdraw the recommendation to suspend the trade subject to the publication of voluntary zero export quotas, with any change to the quota to be communicated to the Secretariat and Chair of the relevant Committee along with a justification, for their agreement. This was supported by OCEANIA and the EU.
TANZANIA, supported by the UK, asked the Secretariat to register a zero export quota for its two species combinations noting a national moratorium was in place and the trade suspension was made in 2016. Delegates also agreed with the SC requesting the Secretariat to write to the exporting and importing parties in relation to potential non-compliance with recommendations to suspend trade, check the accuracy of the data and remind them of their obligations under the Convention, and report back to the SC where non-compliance is confirmed.
Outcome: SC74 agreed with the recommendations, including to:
- withdraw its recommendation to suspend trade for Cycas thouarsii from Mozambique, noting that the botanical nomenclature expert should look into whether Mozambique is a range state for that species and, if appropriate, recommend updates to relevant databases;
- withdraw its recommendation to suspend trade for Plerogyra simplex and P. sinosa from Fiji, subject to the publication of voluntary zero export quotas; and
- withdraw its recommendation to suspend trade for Kinyongia fischeri and K. tavetana from Tanzania, subject to the publication of voluntary zero export quotas.
Country-wide Significant Trade Reviews: On Tuesday, the Secretariat introduced the report (SC74 Doc.31), reviewing existing CITES mechanisms and programme activities and presenting progress on the CAP. The Secretariat expressed the view that the scientific and management issues identified in the country-wide RST for Madagascar can be integrated into other existing CITES mechanisms or programme activities, in particular the CAP. AC Chair Lörtscher, supported by BELGIUM and CANADA, disagreed.
Outcome: SC74 agreed that: it was premature to discuss a new mechanism to provide targeted support to parties at the national level based on the scientific and management issues identified in the country-wide RST for Madagascar; and that the AC and PC Chairs propose to CoP19 draft decisions, possibly as part of the draft decisions on the capacity-building framework, to ensure this work be continued.
Review of Resolution Conf. 11.3 (Rev. CoP18) on Compliance and enforcement: On Tuesday the US introduced the report of the working group (SC74 Doc.32), highlighting that the review was meant to improve usefulness and readability.
Outcome: SC74 agreed to propose to CoP19 the amendments to Resolution Conf. 11.3 (Rev. CoP18) and, considering the gaps in Resolution Conf. 11.3 (Rev. CoP18), proposed draft decisions to CoP19.
Enforcement: Enforcement Matters: On Tuesday, the Secretariat introduced the report (SC74 Doc.33.1) with a summary of its enforcement-related activities.
Outcome: SC74 noted the report, welcomed the resolutions and declarations adopted since CoP18 in different fora concerning wildlife crime, and encouraged parties to draw upon the tools, reports, handbooks, and other resources developed that are available to them through the Enforcement page on the CITES Secretariat website, to inform and strengthen their responses to wildlife crime.
Task Force on illegal trade in specimens of CITES-listed tree species: On Tuesday, the Secretariat introduced SC74 Doc.33.2, noting that the meeting of the Task Force on illegal trade in specimens of CITES-listed tree species took place online in February 2022.
Outcome: SC74 noted the document and considered the outcomes of the online Task Force meeting on illegal trade in specimens of CITES-listed tree species; and agreed to propose adding to the draft decisions to consider the relevant outcomes of the online Task Force meeting on illegal trade in specimens of CITES-listed tree species.
International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime: On Tuesday, the Secretariat introduced the report (SC74 Doc.33.3) and provided an update on the work of the ICCWC. CHINA expressed concern over the World Wildlife Crime Report 2020.
Outcome: SC74 noted the activities reported; encouraged parties to draw upon the World Wildlife Crime Report 2020 developed by the UNODC in cooperation with ICCWC partners, to inform their decision-making; and invited China to work with the Secretariat to discuss their concerns and to engage with ICCWC partners in this regard.
Wildlife crime linked to the internet: On Tuesday, the Secretariat introduced the report (SC74 Doc. 33.4) on activities undertaken by parties and organizations in their fight against wildlife crime linked to the internet.
Outcome: SC74 noted the document.
Demand reduction to combat illegal trade: On Wednesday, the Secretariat introduced SC74 Doc.34, on the draft CITES guidance on demand reduction strategies to combat illegal trade in CITES-listed species, aiming to serve as a practical tool for parties and other potential users in designing and implementing their demand-reduction initiatives. SINGAPORE supported the guidance.
Outcome: SC74 noted the document and agreed to submit to CoP19 draft amendments to Resolution Conf. 17.4 on demand reduction strategies to combat illegal trade in CITES-listed species to CoP19, inter alia:
- recognizing CITES guidance on demand-reduction strategies to combat illegal trade in CITES-listed species; and
- urging parties to make full use of the CITES guidance in their efforts to reduce demand for illegally acquired wildlife and their products through a five-step approach in order to achieve behavioral change in consumers.
Wildlife crime enforcement support in West and Central Africa: Inclusion of Pterocarpus erinaceus in the Review of Significant Trade: Report of the Plants Committee: On Wednesday, PC Chair Aurélie Flore Koumba Pombo (Gabon) introduced the document (SC74 Doc.35.1.1), noting PC25 had considered the inclusion of Pterocarpus erinaceus in Stage 2 of the RST process. The PC agreed to categorize the following P. erinaceus/country combinations as “action is needed,” and therefore included in Stage 2 of the RST process: Benin, Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.
The PC further agreed to categorize the following P. erinaceus/country combinations as “less concern”: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, Niger, Senegal, and Togo. The Plants Committee further agreed to refer all P. erinaceus range states (which does not include Liberia) to the SC for further consideration under Decision 18.92, based on documented, widespread and pervasive illegal trade.
Outcome: SC74 noted the progress and report completed in accordance with paragraph (b) of Decision 18.92 on wildlife crime enforcement support in West and Central Africa
Report by Senegal: On Wednesday, Senegal introduced SC74 Doc.35.1.2, calling for a temporary suspension of trade against range countries and establishing an in-session working group to develop recommendations to limit ongoing and pervasive illegal trade in Pterocarpus erinaceus. The US supported the recommendation to suspend trade, however on a state-by-state basis, in agreement with the EU, and to assist range states in the process to combat illegal trade. SC Chair Caceres called on a working group, chaired by Belgium, to swiftly address this item.
On Friday the working group reported it was not able to reach consensus and brought forward two options for SC74 consideration (SC74 Com.3): option 1 to suspend commercial trade in specimens of P. erinaceus exported or re-exported from range states, in order to halt ongoing and shifting illegal trade, and to lay the groundwork for future legal trade in P. erinaceus in compliance with the Convention, until the conclusion of the ongoing RST in P. erinaceus; and option 2 to call on those parties categorized as “less concern” under the RST (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Niger, Senegal, and Togo) to request the publication of a zero export quota, as recommended in Resolution Conf. 14.7 (Rev. CoP15) on management of national export quotas.
CANADA and OCEANIA supported POLAND’s view to advance option 2 starting an Article XIII procedure against countries evaluated by the Secretariat in consultation with the SC Chair as not providing a “satisfactory” response within 30 days or otherwise failing to voluntarily publish a zero quota. The US suggested including the PC Chair in the consultation.
Outcome: SC74 agreed to the proposal to start an Article XIII procedure, wherein the Secretariat would issue notification within 30 days of the end of SC74 requesting range states to provide a satisfactory response or publish a zero quota.
Reports of the Secretariat and by Nigeria, Benin and Niger: On Wednesday, the Secretariat presented the report (SC74 Doc.35.2), and Senegal presented the report (SC74 Doc.35.3) submitted by Nigeria, Benin, and Niger on behalf of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and its member states. SC Chair Caceres invited delegates to consider both together. Several delegates voiced concern at the levels of wildlife crime in ECOWAS countries. BURKINA FASO noted the recently finalized ECOWAS strategy to combat wildlife crime and highlighted that such crime is managed by transnational criminal groups. SENEGAL underscored that every country in the region is ready and willing to implement the strategy, and said the lack of collaboration between countries of origin, transit and consumption acts against us. NIGERIA drew attention to the West Africa Network to Combat Wildlife Crime (WAN). The EU noted the suggested establishment of working groups (Doc 35.3) should be subject to external funding. The Secretariat provided insight into potential overlaps in areasof work, for instance with actions carried out by the Timber Task Force.
Outcome: SC74 noted the report of the Secretariat and agreed with recommendations in Doc.35.3. SC74 further agreed to submit to CoP the proposed decisions including that subject to external funding, the SC shall establish an intersessional working group, inclusive of representatives of regional Wildlife Enforcement Networks, to provide the WAN with expert guidance and support as the WAN becomes operational.
Asian big cats: On Wednesday, the Secretariat introduced the report (SC74 Doc.36), highlighting the information received from parties on the conservation status of Asian big cats; the management practices and controls concerning facilities keeping the species in captivity; enforcement measures and activities to address illegal trade in Asian big cat specimens; and the reduction of demand for illegal tiger and other Asian big cat specimens. He noted that due to COVID-19 measures, the Secretariat was not able to conduct the missions anticipated in 2020 and 2021.
CHINA, the UK, POLAND, the US, and others supported the recommendations. CHINA welcomed missions by the Secretariat. The UK stressed that much work was still needed to update the decisions of CoP18 and, with the US, called for missions to be carried out in the short term, with the correct expertise present and crafted ToR, and urged parties to work closely with the Secretariat to facilitate such missions. POLAND called for countries to cooperate on law enforcement on illegal trade. INDIA, SOUTH AFRICA, and THAILAND provided insight into national measures. INDIA, like the US, the Environmental Investigation Agency, and others, called for the SC to adopt a recommendation that decisions yet to be implemented should be retained at CoP19.
Outcome: SC74 encouraged parties:
- where not yet done, to implement regular monitoring and inspections of facilities keeping Asian big cats in captivity, by taking into consideration Decision 17.226 and implementing measures that will enable accurate record keeping for all tigers kept in captivity;
- in whose territories captive breeding facilities identified as of concern, to pay particular attention to the activities of these facilities in their implementation of Resolution Conf. 12.5 (Rev. CoP18) on conservation of and trade in tigers and other Appendix-I and Asian big cat species and Decision 17.226, and to take swift and decisive action concerning any unauthorized or illegal activities that may be detected; and
- that have made seizures of tiger skins within their territories to implement Decision 18.103.
Rhinoceros: On Wednesday, the Secretariat presented information on the measures and activities implemented and on measures reported by Namibia, South Africa, Viet Nam, and Zimbabwe to address crimes involving rhinoceroses (SC74 Doc.37). The Secretariat presented options regarding how information on challenges and best practices associated with addressing rhinoceros poaching and horn trafficking could be incorporated and reflected upon in the report.
CHINA highlighted domestic measures to implement Decisions 18.111 and 112 to strengthen controls to fight illegal trade. The US emphasized that it has been 10 years since the last time the rhinoceros task force met and asked that consideration of a new meeting is reflected in the text. KENYA underscored the seriousness of poaching and illegal trade in rhino horn. ZIMBABWE noted that rhino numbers in the country have increased thanks to conservation efforts. INDONESIA supported the simplified procedure for issuing permits and emphasized that its rhinos are fully protected thanks to the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART).
Outcome: SC74 noted the reports received from Namibia, South Africa, Viet Nam, and Zimbabwe, as well as an oral update by China. SC74 considered amendments in Resolution Conf. 9.14 (Rev. CoP17) on conservation of and trade in African and Asian rhinoceroses for submission to CoP19, directing, inter alia:
- the IUCN/Species Survival Commission on African and Asian Rhino Specialist Groups and TRAFFIC to engage with range and implicated states, as appropriate, including by conducting a survey focusing on range and implicated states and relevant experts, to gather information on challenges and best practices associated with addressing rhinoceros poaching and horn trafficking; and
- the Secretariat to work with the SC Chair to propose to CoP19 a draft decision to convene a second meeting of the CITES Rhinoceros Enforcement Task Force, subject to external funding.
Domestic markets for frequently illegally traded specimens: On Wednesday, the Secretariat introduced SC74 Doc.38, on domestic controls in consumer markets for specimens of CITES-listed species for which international trade is predominantly illegal, other than elephant ivory. She offered comments on the suggestions and offered recommendations for the consideration of the SC.
Outcome: SC74 noted the study and proposed for consideration by CoP19 amendments to Resolution Conf. 11.3 (Rev. CoP18) on compliance and enforcement so that it addresses trade in specimens of species included in Appendix I more broadly and not only in the context of online trade. SC74 also directed the SC to explore whether further non-binding guidance is needed on the implementation of the Convention with respect to possession of specimens of species included in Appendix I, including species that have been transferred from Appendix II to Appendix I, as well as specimens of species included in Appendix II subject to a zero export quota, to help address illegal international trade and, if so, request the Secretariat to prepare draft guidance for its endorsement.
Closure of domestic ivory markets: On Wednesday, the Secretariat presented the report (SC74 Doc.39) noting the recommendations inviting the SC to take note of the document, consider the reports under Decision 18.118 contained in Annexes 1 to 10 to the present document, and consider the Secretariat’s observations. The US, Israel, the EU, the UK, CHINA, BURKINA FASO, GABON, and the JAPAN TIGER AND ELEPHANT FUND noted Decisions 18.117 to 18.119 should be renewed and not deleted. The EU proposed ETIS should carry out an analysis of the ivory trade to be reported to CoP19. BURKINA FASO, opposed by INTEGRATING WILDLIFE, MARKETS AND CONSERVATION (IWMC), stressed that any legal market offers opportunity for laundering ivory and can therefore contribute to illegal trade and poaching. GABON drew attention to reports on the illegal trade in ivory acquired in legal markets, noting legal markets tend to feed illegal ones. ZIMBABWE cautioned that CITES shouldn’t meddle in domestic trade issues. JAPAN stressed that ivory stockpiles in Japan follow CITES procedures.
Outcome: SC74: noted document SC74 Doc. 39; requested the Secretariat to include a reminder to parties about the provisions in paragraph 9 of Resolution Conf. 10.10 (Rev. CoP18) on trade in elephant specimens in the notification it issues annually to remind parties about the provisions in Resolution Conf. 10.10 (Rev. CoP18) relating to the marking, inventories and security of elephant ivory stocks; invited the CoP to agree that Decisions 18.117 to 18.119 can be renewed; and requested the Secretariat to submit these revised decisions to CoP19.
Guidance for making legal acquisition findings: On Thursday, the Secretariat introduced SC74 Doc.40, highlighting parties’ experience with the use of the guidance to Resolution Conf. 18.7 on legal acquisition findings and the applicability of this guidance to the additional circumstances described. He noted that, in response to the parties’ views, the Secretariat revised the rapid guidance for making legal acquisition findings. Delegates, including EU, called for a workshop to update the guidance.
Outcome: SC74 noted the report, the guidance, and the intention to organize a workshop to update the guidance, and agreed to draft decisions as revised to advance to CoP19, directing:
- parties to test the guidance;
- the Secretariat to develop digital solutions to automate relevant parts of guidance; and
- the SC to monitor progress in the implementation of Resolution Conf. 18.7.
Electronic systems and information technologies: On Thursday, SWITZERLAND introduced the report of the working group (SC74 Doc.41), and updated the Committee on its activities, including the guidance on the use of two-dimensional barcodes and endorsement/validation of permits. Many delegates expressed support for the recommendations.
Outcome: SC74 noted the document and agreed to propose amendments to Resolution Conf. 12.3 (Rev. CoP18) on permits and certificates for the consideration of CoP19, requesting, inter alia, parties using or developing electronic permits and certificates adopt the standards recommended in the CITES electronic permitting toolkit, guidelines and specifications for Electronic Permit Information eXchange (EPIX) of CITES permits and certificates and the Guidance on CITES electronic signatures; and directing parties to use the eCITES Implementation Framework, the latest edition of the CITES electronic permitting toolkit, guidelines and specifications for EPIX of CITES permits and certificates, and the Guidance on CITES electronic signatures in planning and implementing electronic CITES systems.
Authentication and control of permits: On Thursday, the Secretariat introduced SC74 Doc.42, including an in-depth study on the current practices in CITES permit authentication and control, using a selection of parties as case studies to demonstrate the state-of-play on how current trading practices and the use of technologies affect their CITES trade regulation process. CANADA, echoed by BRAZIL, noted that there are areas of concern, for example, the recommendation to ensure that professionals involved in wildlife trade and management, such as veterinarians, receive training on CITES and their role in implementing the Convention as part of their professional practice and ongoing accreditation. SWITZERLAND and WWF lamented excluding veterinarians involved in wildlife trade from receiving training on CITES.
Outcome: SC74 noted the document and further:
- encouraged parties to review the controls of authorized e-commerce in specimens of CITES-listed species; and
- proposed amendments to Resolution Conf. 11.3 (Rev. CoP18) on compliance and enforcement to the effect of recommending: parties to institutionalize regular formalized meetings between customs and CITES authorities; and the Secretariat to work with the World Customs Organization and other partners to develop guidance and elements for a national policy on physical inspections and present its report and recommendations to the SC.
Purpose codes on CITES permits and certificates: On Thursday, AUSTRALIA introduced the report of the working group (SC74 Doc.43), noting inability to reach consensus on purpose code T (commercial) and thus presenting two options: option 1, for the purpose of obtaining economic benefit, whether in cash or otherwise, where the purpose of the transaction is directed toward sale, exchange, or provision of a service or any other form of economic use or benefit, including any activity reasonably likely to result in economic use, gain, or benefit; and option 2, for the purpose of sale or another form of transfer of the ownership of the specimen concerned for economic benefit or any other form of economic use.
The EU expressed concern over the definition of purpose code P (personal) and expressed preference for option 2 for code T. CHINA generally supported the document. The UK proposed taking the document to CoP19 and, on source code T, expressed preference for option 1, together with the US.
Outcome: SC74 reviewed the progress made by the working group and offered comments that will be translated into a draft decision to be submitted at CoP19.
Simplified procedures for permits and certificates: On Thursday, Australia introduced SC74 Doc.44, noting that the Director General of the OIE raised the issue of the issuance of permits and certificates associated with the exchange of wildlife health diagnostic samples. She noted that the OIE proposed further exploring simplified CITES requirements for the transport of wildlife diagnostic specimens to further facilitate the ability to undertake rapid wildlife health diagnostics. OIE stressed the importance of this, noting that for saiga it took six months to transfer samples. CANADA and US, supported by UK, expressed support and provided further language and reference to “including guidance and capacity building on simplified procedures in accordance with the recommendations in Resolution Conf.12.3 (Rev.CoP18).” IUCN expressed support. WCS lamented the delays experienced in processing samples and expressed support for the recommendation, and asked for a decision at CoP19.
Outcome: SC74 noted the report and agreed to a draft decision directing the SC to consider the need for the development of further appropriate mechanisms to facilitate the efficient international movement of wildlife samples for diagnostic and conservation purposes, including guidance and capacity building on simplified procedures in accordance with the recommendations in Resolution Conf.12.3 (Rev. CoP18) for consideration by CoP19.
Transport of live specimens: On Thursday, CANADA introduced SC74 Doc.45, which includes CITES guidelines for the non-air transport of live animals and plants.
Outcome: SC74 approved the CITES guidelines.
Identification materials: On Friday, the Secretariat introduced the report (SC74 Doc.46) on progress to date towards the drafting of a new resolution on species identification and noting that if the new resolution is not agreed upon, draft decisions could be adopted instead. The US expressed support for the new resolution, including draft decisions.
Outcome: SC74 noted the document and agreed to advance a new resolution along with draft decisions (including elements struck out from the proposed resolution) for submission to CoP19, to be considered in case the draft resolution is not adopted.
Identification and traceability of sturgeons and paddlefishes (Acipenseriformes spp.): On Friday, AC Chair Lörtscher introduced the report (SC74 Doc.47), including the draft study on identification of species, subspecies, source and origin of sturgeons and paddlefish species and specimens (Acipensiformes spp.) in trade for review by the SC.
Outcome: SC74 noted the document and recommended draft decisions, inter alia, to invite parties to make use of identification methods described in the study; and continue discussion on the caviar labelling system.
Labelling system for trade in caviar: On Friday, SC Chair Caceres introduced the report of the working group (SC74 Doc.48) and the applicability in caviar aquaculture. The EU, CANADA, and others expressed support. They also expressed support in principle for renewal of Decision 18.146 on labelling system for trade in caviar.
Outcome: SC74 proposed draft decisions to CoP19 directing: the Secretariat to prepare an analysis of the benefits and drawbacks of incorporating QR codes into the application of the CITES guidelines for a universal labelling system for the trade in and identification of caviar of Resolution Conf. 12.7 (Rev. CoP17) on conservation of and trade in sturgeons and paddlefish. SC74 further agreed not to renew Decision 18.146 on labelling system for trade in caviar.
Specimens produced through biotechnology: On Thursday, China, as Chair of the working group, presented SC74 Doc.49 on the application of the term “readily recognizable part or derivative” for specimens produced through biotechnology specimens, noting that given the complexity of biotechnology and the diverse paths of production, it does not seem fit to introduce new definitions into the Convention or to develop a new resolution at this moment. CANADA supported modifications to Resolution Conf 9.6 (Rev. CoP16) on trade in readily recognizable parts and derivatives.
Outcome: SC74 supported proposed amendments to Resolution Conf 9.6 (Rev. CoP16), including recommending that parties to consider all specimens produced through biotechnology that meet the criteria in paragraph 1 to be readily recognizable unless specifically exempted from the provisions of the Convention.
Definition of the term “appropriate and acceptable destinations”: On Wednesday, AC Chair Lörtscher introduced the report (SC74 Doc.50), including the non-binding guidance “for determining whether a proposed recipient of a living specimen of African elephant and/or southern white rhinoceros is suitably equipped to house and care for it” and the non-binding best practice guidance “on how to determine whether the trade would promote in situ conservation.” The US expressed support for the two guidance documents and provided some clarifying language. Some countries expressed concern over Namibia’s interpretation of its exports of live African elephants to non-range states. The UK asked Namibia to clarify their interpretation, especially in light of the recent exports to United Arab Emirates. NAMIBIA indicated that profits from the sale of the elephants have gone towards a special fund set up to support wildlife management.
Outcome: SC74 agreed:
- to submit to CoP19 the non-binding best practice guidance on how to determine whether “the trade would promote in situ conservation”;
- to submit to CoP19 the non-binding guidance for determining whether a proposed recipient of a living specimen of African elephant and/or southern white rhinoceros is suitably equipped to house and care for it; and
- it was premature to propose revisions to Resolution Conf. 11.20 (Rev. CoP18) on definition of the term “appropriate and acceptable destinations” and to any other relevant resolution.
SC74 also noted the concerns raised about the export of live African elephants by Namibia and Zimbabwe and invited parties to propose to CoP a clear legal framework for trade in live African elephants.
Introduction from the sea: On Friday, the Secretariat introduced the report (SC74 Doc.51) on progress made during the negotiations on the development of an international legally binding instrument under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ), noting challenges faced by the parties with regard to introduction from the sea.
ISRAEL, supported by PANAMA, called for alignment in language between CITES and the ongoing negotiations of the new instrument, for example use BBNJ instead of “high seas.” SENEGAL objected to striking the use of “high seas.” PANAMA noted that the parties should provide the register with the list of flag-of-convenience states and territories. FAO emphasized coordination with its work on port state controls. SEA SHEPHERD LEGAL, on behalf of eight groups, supported the recommendation of Canada, Israel and Japan to not create new lists of flags of convenience, and cited implementation problems and welcomed closer cooperation with the FAO.
Outcome: SC74 noted the report and agreed to propose the renewal of Decision 17.181 if the negotiations continue; and draft decisions directing the Secretariat:
- to monitor the negotiations on the development of an international legally binding instrument; and
- continue to monitor the implementation of Resolution 14.6 (Rev. CoP16) on introduction from the sea.
Disposal of confiscated specimens: On Friday, the Secretariat introduced the report (SC74 Doc.52). She stressed that a “one size fits all” approach would not work and called for more resources and housing and care facilities. SWITZERLAND supported the decisions, except decision 19AA on producing more material. ISRAEL, on the other hand, suggested modifying the decision to refer to “custody” rather than “management.” The EU and CANADA supported all decisions without modification, while the US supported Israel and proposed a new decision to the effect that the SC shall review the guidance provided in questions 7 and 8 of the decision tree analysis/captivity in Annex 3 of Resolution Conf 17.8 on disposal of illegally traded and confiscated specimens of CITES listed species and make recommendations to clarify and update the options and requirements for disposal of confiscated living Appendix I specimens and Appendix II specimens with CITES established zero export quotas for consideration of CoP20.
Outcome: SC74 agreed to submit all draft decisions as presented in the annex with no amendments or additions, and note the discussions held.
Quotas for leopard: On Friday, AC Chair Lörtscher presented the report on leopard (Panthera pardus) hunting trophies (SC74 Doc. 53). He noted part of this work had been discussed at CoP18 and noted SC74 was invited to consider the recommendations to propose to the CoP draft amendments to Resolution Conf. 10.14 (Rev. CoP16) so as to remove quotas for Kenya and Malawi from this resolution.
ETHIOPIA thanked Conservation Force for their support and commended the AC on the report. He described that Ethiopia submitted NDFs for export leopard trophy quotas that stood at 500 for three decades, but were reduced to 20 following their most recent NDF, and underscored its commitment to leopard conservation continues. NAMIBIA supported the recommendations.
Outcome: SC74 agreed with the recommendations.
Implications of the transfer of a species from one Appendix to another: On Friday, the Secretariat reported (SC74 Doc.54) that more time may be needed to assess the implications of the transfer of a species from one Appendix to another and asked for renewal of Decision 18.151.
Outcome: SC74 agreed to recommend to renew the decision at CoP19.
Captive-bred and ranched specimens: On Thursday, the Secretariat introduced SC74.Doc.55, highlighting the development of the mobile and tablet application for determining the correct source codes of specimens, and undertaking inspections of captive breeding and ranching facilities for CITES listed taxa and evaluating compliance of those facilities with the requirements of the Convention.
Outcome: SC74 noted the report and encouraged parties to make use of the application and provide feedback.
Review of CITES provisions related to trade in specimens of animals and plants not of wild source: On Thursday, Canada introduced the report of the SC working group on captive-bred and ranched specimens (SC74 Doc.56), noting the work focused on amendments to Resolution Conf. 10.16 (Rev.) on specimens of animal species bred in captivity and Resolution Conf. 12.3 (Rev. CoP18) on permits and certificates, and did not consider plants.
BELGIUM suggested that the renewed mandate be limited to animals. The US and ISRAEL proposed clarifying that that the renewed mandate applies to trade in captive bred animals only.
Outcome: SC74 considered the recommendations of the working group and draft decisions (SC74 Com.2) directing:
- the SC to review issues and challenges in the application of the Convention for trade in non-wild specimens of CITES-listed animal and plant species, in particular key elements that may contribute to the uneven application of Article VII, paragraphs 4 and 5, and consider the scientific advice and guidance from the AC and PC on the need for implementing these articles differently for animal specimens from species bred in captivity or plant specimens that are artificially propagated; and
- the AC and PC to determine if there is a need to implement Article VII paragraphs 4 and 5 differently for either animal specimens from species bred in captivity or plant specimens that are artificially propagated than what is outlined in existing resolutions, and provide their recommendations to the SC by SC78.
Review of trade in animal specimens reported as produced in captivity: On Thursday, the Secretariat introduced SC74 Doc.57, noting that Switzerland had offered funding to update the review.
The EU and the US requested a workshop to review the provisions of the resolution in the first half of 2022 and thanked Switzerland for the support. The Secretariat presented the nine different cases of species country combinations, noting some cases were proposed for retention, others could be removed from the review, and some necessitated further discussion by the SC.
Outcome: SC74 agreed to the workshop and to transmit results to the CoP for any additional or ongoing decisions. SC74 further agreed to:
- retain African spurred tortoise(Centrochelys sulcate) from Benin in the review with a minor change to the recommendation;
- retain:C. sulcatein Ghana;Savannah monitor (Varanus exanthematicus)in Ghana;White cockatoo (Cacatua alba)in Indonesia;C. sulcatein Mali;C. sulcatein Togo; andtiger tail seahorse (Hippocampus comes)in Viet Nam;
- remove the following combinations from the review:Wallace’s golden birdwing (Ornithoptera Croesus)in Indonesia;Timor monitor (Varanus timorensis)in Indonesia; and strawberry poison dart frog(Oophaga pumilio) in Nicaragua, conditional on a future NDF if necessary;fennec fox (Vulpes zerda)in Sudan andC. sulcatain Sudan, both provisional to clarification from Sudan on breeding facilities and international trade quotas;
- seek clarification for Indian star tortoise(Geochelone elegans)in Jordan on what species was being bred; and
- remove Hermann’s tortoise (Testudo hermanni)in North Macedonia, however clarification was sought on “founder breeding stocks established pre-convention,” as highlighted by the EU and the AC Chair.
Specimens grown from wild-collected seeds or spores that are deemed to be artificially propagated: Report of the Plants Committee: On Friday, SC Chair Caceres recalled the item had been dealt with in the Report of the Chairs of the Animals and Plants Committees(SC74 Doc.6)
Registration of operations that breed Appendix-I animal species in captivity for commercial purposes: Registration of the operation Earth Ocean Farms. S. de R.L. de C.V. (Mexico) breeding Totoaba macdonaldi: On Thursday, the Secretariat presented SC74 Doc. 59.1.1 and noted that there were two options in the recommendations to either accept or reject the application by Mexico to register the captive breeding operation, “Earth Ocean Farms S. de R.L. de C.V.,” breedingTotoaba macdonaldi. MEXICO then presented its report (SC74 Doc.59.1.2), drawing attention to national strategies for conservation and the reinstating of the totoaba. He noted Mexico has nine totoaba breeding farms, with the one presenting a request to CITES. Noting the species had been farmed for 20 years for consumption and release, he stressed aquaculture strengthens conservation efforts and supports local populations.
PANAMA agreed aquaculture can help replenish stocks and help control illegal fishing, but called for genetic tracing and for controls on the illegal trade of swim bladders. CANADA supported the proposal, noting additional safeguards raised by Mexico and assurance the bladders would be destroyed. BRAZIL, KUWAIT, NAMIBIA, CHINA, INDONESIA, GEORGIA, and IWMC also supported the application. In describing their repopulation programme and follow up, Earth Ocean Farms said it was part of the solution and not the problem.
The US opposed the application, noting, among others, concerns that illegal trade is ongoing and uncontrolled, it is jeopardizing the vaquita, and there is no evidence that breeding reduces demand and illegal harvest. SENEGAL concurred and questioned the workings of a temporary restriction.
ISRAEL recalled the initial 2018 application for the registration of the facility and noted that the concerns raised by Israel and the US at the time had still not been addressed. He agreed with the US that the application was problematic given the levels of illegal fishing. He underscored that there was little or no demand for totoaba meat internationally, only demand for its swim bladder. He suggested the SC shouldn’t be deciding to accept or reject the application and that Mexico and the facility should re-submit a new application, providing time for the implications of temporary restrictions to be addressed. OCEANIA and the ANIMAL WELFARE INSTITUTE, noting concerns hadn’t been adequately addressed by Mexico, also rejected the proposal.
PERU and ARGENTINA favored extending the deadline and waiting until the next meeting for further information on the follow up and an illustration of the efforts put in place. The EU called for assurance that commercial specimens can be distinguished from illegal ones, with monitoring in the facility to evaluate its effectiveness at decreasing pressure on wild specimens.
SC Chair Caceres noted that while there clearly wasn’t consensus, the majority of SC members appeared supportive of accepting the application. She concluded the SC accepted the registration, noting the cautions raised and asking Mexico to take them on board.
ISRAEL challenged the decision and, supported by OCEANIA, asked for a vote. Nine members voted to support the application: Namibia, Ethiopia, Poland, Georgia, Belgium, China, Kuwait, Indonesia, and Dominican Republic; five opposed: Senegal, Congo, Peru, Israel, and Oceania; and one abstained. SC Chair Caceres concluded the SC accepted by vote the application of Earth Oceans Farms.
ISRAEL then proposed a decision to the Secretariat under the emergency procedures on the Rules of Procedure on urgent matters, connecting totoaba with the vaquita, for the Secretariat to work with Mexico on enforcement and prevention of illegal trade and request an update on the activities of the facility. He further requested no authorization for international trade in any totoaba parts and derivatives be granted to the facility, with SC Chair Caceres rejecting this latter point but favoring Mexico updating the SC.
JAPAN voiced regret at the voting, and the US underscored totoaba is nonetheless protected under their national legislation and asked for its submitted intervention to be recorded in the Secretariat’s report. In closing, MEXICO said all comments would be taken into account and reiterated that the facility would only process meat, not swim bladders.
Outcome: SC74 accepted the application.
Registration of the operation Tugan Falconry Club Ltd (Uzbekistan) breedingFalco pelegrinoidesand Falco peregrinus: On Thursday, Uzbekistan indicated it would review the comments received and resubmit the application (SC74 Doc.59.2).
Outcome: SC74 noted the intervention.
Stocks and stockpiles: On Friday, CANADA introduced the report (SC74 Doc.60), drawing attention to the costs of maintaining stocks and stockpiles, particularly in the case of live specimens. ISRAEL noted that as the working group hadn’t been able to complete its mandate, an extension was required. The US noted a lack of engagement of parties and concerns about the commercialization of illegally acquired specimens, and called for Annex I and Annex II specimens to be treated separately in maintaining stocks and stockpiles and that these should be reviewed on a regular basis.
CHINA supported further discussions on stocks and stockpiles, stressing that their management should be a national measure that CITES does not interfere in. INDIA disagreed with equating stockpiles of Appendix I species with those on Appendix II, stressing they should be dealt with separately, and noted that the legal and practical implications of some of the observations made in the report need further deliberations.
Outcome: SC74 noted the report and agreed to request the Secretariat update the timeline to request the renewal of the working group’s mandate at CoP19.
Guidance on ivory stockpiles: On Friday, the EU, as Chair of the intersessional working group presented the report (SC74 Doc.61.1). KENYA stressed that stockpiled ivory remains an economic and security burden for most countries and leaked ivory from stocks remains a major challenge. ZIMBABWE suggested ivory shouldn’t be destroyed but used to raise funds for conservation. SENEGAL said destruction discouraged poaching and was the best option, with a little amount kept for science.
Outcome: SC74 noted the report and agreed with the recommendation to prepare a decision for CoP19.
Annual inventories of stockpiles: On Friday, the Secretariat presented the report (SC74 Doc. 61.2).
ETHIOPIA, KENYA, GABON, the EU and the DAVID SHEPHERD WILDLIFE FOUNDATION voiced support for the recommendations but suggested Decisions 18.184 and 18.185 should be renewed rather than deleted since many parties had not reported on their stockpiles and more time was needed to complete the work, and a report should be provided at SC77. KENYA said ivory stockpiles remain a serious threat to elephants and stockpiles perpetuate demand. GABON called for precise inventories, underscored the risk of robbery and called for more work to be carried out in this respect with a report back on the measures taken. The EU said that confiscated ivory in the EU was destroyed with small quantities kept for teaching, and called for a technical mission to Burundi. JAPAN echoed calls for parties to submit their data.
Outcome: SC74 agreed with the recommendations: appealing to parties to step up their efforts on stockpiles and report annually to the Secretariat; there should be a technical mission to Burundi; the SC should determine whether any actions are necessary where parties have failed to provide annual inventories of government-held, privately-held stockpiles and insecurely-held stockpiles; and noting the SC preferred to renew rather than delete Decisions 18.184 and 18.185.
Species Specific Matters
Illegal trade in cheetahs: On Wednesday, ETHIOPIA presented the document on illegal trade in cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) (SC74 Doc.62), submitted with KENYA, SOMALIA and YEMEN. He noted the issue had been on the CITES radar for nearly 10 years, yet trade continues to jeopardize declining populations. He called for swift action to avoid the species going extinct. Many, including BURKINA FASO and EQUATORIAL GUINEA, illustrated national measures.
SOMALIA lamented a lack of collaboration to combat crime, with KENYA stressing that illegal trade needed to be highlighted with specific requirements against the illegal trade of live cheetah cubs. KUWAIT, POLAND, and OMAN supported the role of the Big Cat Task Force. CMS noted its Scientific Council had established an intersessional working group with a mandate to consider recovery options.
Others cautioned against duplication of work. ISRAEL underscored the urgency of the matter, and with others, including SENEGAL, ZIMBABWE, and TANZANIA, voiced support for the recommendations. The US suggested an intersessional working group to meet after CoP19. SC Chair Caceres lamented the lack of time for in-session working groups. ISRAEL suggested an informal group discuss ways to combat illegal trade and prepare recommendations for submission to CoP19.Noting general agreement with the recommendations, SC Chair Caceres proposed to take note of the important work and concerns with illegal trade and invite interested parties to submit decisions to the CoP that would mandate the SC to enact some of the recommendations.
Outcome: SC74 noted the report and expressed its concern about the ongoing illegal trade in cheetahs and invited Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and Yemen, as well as other interested parties, to submit draft decisions on illegal trade in cheetahs to CoP19.
West African vultures (Accipitridae spp.): On Friday, AC Chair Lörtscher introduced SC74 Doc.63, on the implementation of the decisions on West African vultures, noting that it had requested the Secretariat to inform the range states of West African vultures that in the context of the implementation of Decisions 18.132 to 18.134 on NDF, improved NDF guidance is expected to be developed, and to share relevant new NDF materials with the range states when available. SENEGAL stressed the importance of vultures in keeping ecosystems healthy.
Outcome: SC74 noted the report and directed, inter alia, West African range states to integrate illegal vulture trade considerations into their implementation of the West Africa Strategy on Combating Wildlife Crime and any decisions relating to wildlife crime enforcement support in West and Central Africa adopted by CoP19.
Eels: On Thursday, the Secretariat presented the report on Eels (Anguilla spp.)(SC74 Doc.64.1). AC Chair Lörtscher then presented the AC report (SC74 Doc 64.2). SC Chair Caceres noted the Secretariat’s proposed text pertaining to continuing to monitor illegal trade in the European eel and engage with the World Customs Organization and report back on such activities.
POLAND, NORTH AMERICA, MEXICO, and the UK supported the recommendations and the Secretariat’s proposal. The UK drew attention to its NDF on eel trade and offered to share its experience with interested parties. Noting the harm done by intensive fishing, the DOMINICAN REPUBLIC called forAnguilla rostratato be added to Appendix III. IUCN and the ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF LONDON drew attention to changes in advice from “near zero” to “zero” for fisheries activities pertaining to the species and called for trade activities to be monitored.
Outcome: SC74 agreed to draft decisions 19 AA to 19 DD, as contained in Doc 64.2, and that 19 DD should be modified to ensure continuation of the elements of Decision 19.201 that had not been completed.
Precious corals: On Thursday, AC Chair Lörtscher presented the report (SC74 Doc.65), noting the SC is invited to consider the information and recommendations of the AC made in accordance with Decision 17.192 (Rev. CoP18); and make recommendations for communication to the parties or for consideration at CoP19, as instructed in Decision 17.193 (Rev. CoP18). POLAND, PERU and the US voiced support.
Outcome: SC74 agreed with the recommendations.
Marine turtles: On Wednesday, the Secretariat introduced SC74 Doc.66.1 on marine turtles (Cheloniidae spp. and Dermochelyidae spp.). AC Chair Lörtscher introduced its report (SC74 Doc.66.2), noting that the study “Status, scope and trends of the legal and illegal international trade in marine turtles, its conservation impacts, management options and mitigation priorities,” identified key issues where CITES and others can help with the conservation of marine turtles. AC Chair Lörtscher reminded parties to include marine turtle confiscation and seizure data in their annual illegal trade report. The EU and US expressed support for draft decisions. While not opposing, JAPAN noted that the proposed decisions go beyond CITES and are the mandate of regional fisheries management organizations. OCEANIA proposed language changes in the decisions.
Outcome: SC74 noted the documents and agreed to direct parties to:
- develop robust and standardized frameworks for determining the sustainable use of marine turtles that are science-based, integrated, based on the best scientific advice available, and may include, but are not limited to, a determination of suitable offtake levels; and
- share knowledge of bycatch mitigation strategies, including exclusion devices and safe handling practices, that have proven to be effective at reducing bycatch and/or bycatch mortality.
Sharks and Rays: On Wednesday, the US introduced the first of three reports on sharks and rays (SC74 Doc.67.1), as Chair of the intersessional working group, highlighting draft decisions to be taken to CoP19, including one to liaise with regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs). The Secretariat presented updates on implementation of decisions (SC74 Doc.67.2), the publication of NDFs for sharks and rays on the CITES website, and an analysis of information from the CITES Trade Database on commercial trade in CITES-listed sharks and rays since 2000, sorted by species and by product. AC Chair Lörtscher introduced its report (SC74 Doc.67.3), including recommendations for the SC to review the results of the Secretariat’s study on the apparent mismatch between trade in shark products, especially regarding introductions from the sea.
Outcome: SC74 requested that the SC and AC Chairs work with the Secretariat to merge the draft decisions on sharks and finalize a single joint report to be submitted to CoP19.
SC74 (SC74 Doc.67.1) agreed to draft decisions directing the Secretariat to liaise with RFMOs to identify opportunities for capacity building with the same organizations. In this regard, the SC is invited to submit a draft decision directing:
- the SC to develop guidance on the making of legal acquisition findings, and related assessments for trade in sharks caught on the high seas (including introductions from the sea) for CITES-listed shark species in the context of the implementation of Resolution Conf. 18.7 on legal acquisition findings. This guidance should include detailed descriptions and related graphics on specific scenarios regarding trade in CITES-listed shark species; and
- the SC to review the FAO’s guidance on Catch Document Schemes, guidance the CITES parties have agreed on traceability, relevant documents on the Secretariat’s website on traceability, and include relevant information within the guidance called for hereto.
SC74 (SC74 Doc.67.2) agreed to: take note of the Secretariat’s report on the implementation of Decisions 18.220, 18.221 and 18.222 in document SC74 Doc.67.2; and comment on the overview of reported trade in specimens of CITES-listed sharks and rays in Annex 2 to document SC74 Doc.67.2.
SC74 (Sc74 Doc.67.3) agreed to consider draft decisions directing:
- parties to provide brief information to the Secretariat, in particular on any national management measures that prohibit commercial take or trade; inspect, to the extent possible under their national legislation, shipments of shark parts and derivatives in transit or being shipped, to verify presence of CITES-listed species and verify the presence of a valid CITES permit or certificate as required under the Convention or to obtain satisfactory proof of its existence;
- the AC to continue to develop guidance to support the making of NDFs for CITES-listed shark species, in particular in data-poor, multi-species, small-scale/artisanal, and non-target (by-catch) situations, and for shared and migratory stocks, and introduction from the sea; and
- the SC to develop guidance on the making of legal acquisition findings and related assessments for introductions from the sea for CITES-listed shark species in the context of the implementation of Resolution Conf. 18.7 on legal acquisition findings.
Elephants: On Wednesday, the Secretariat presented the report (SC74 Doc.68). She noted the recommendations inviting the SC:
- to take note of the document;
- encourage range states to use the MIKE Online Database for MIKE data submission, and parties to use ETIS Online to submit seizure information;
- encourage donors and partners to support African elephant range states to conduct and fund surveys of elephant populations;
- request parties to standardize reporting of hunting trophies; and
- note the low response rate from Asian elephant range states on their implementation of Decision 18.226.
The EU, supported by SOUTH AFRICA, suggested adding a reference to funding of the African Elephant Fund for the implementation of the African Elephant Action Plan. With regards to Asian elephants that live and reproduce in captivity, CHINA suggested replacing a reference to “regional systems” with “global systems.” In view of the updated IUCN Red List Assessments, ETHIOPIA cautioned about becoming complacent. TANZANIA drew attention to increasingly problematic human-elephant conflicts. GABON noted a gap in information on the location of ivory seizures. INDIA and INDONESIA provided an update on national measures.
Outcome: SC74 noted the report and encouraged elephant range states to use the MIKE Online Database for MIKE data submission and parties to use ETIS Online to submit seizure information. SC74 also agreed to propose to CoP19 that Decision 18.227 should be deleted and replaced with the amended draft decision directing:
- the Secretariat, subject to the availability of external funding, to develop minimum requirements for a registering, marking and tracing system for live Asian elephants;
- the Secretariat to compile information relating to the potential contribution of mammoth ivory trade to illegal trade in elephant ivory and elephant poaching; and
- the SC to consider the report and findings provided by the Secretariat and make recommendations to CoP20.
CITES Big Cats Task Force: On Wednesday, the Secretariat introduced the report (SC74 Doc.69), including the draft ToR and modus operandi for the CITES Big Cats Task Force. CHINA and INDONESIA expressed concern over the terminologies, studies cited in the report, and the ToR going beyond the mandate of the CITES decision. The EU and CANADA proposed minor changes. THAILAND and INDIA supported the new revised ToR and modus operandi. The US asked for outcomes and outputs to be expanded. SC Chair Caceres established a drafting group, chaired by Poland, to work through changes.
On Friday, Poland reported back to plenary, highlighting consensus on the text.
Outcome: SC74 noted the report and adopted the revised ToR and modus operandi for the CITES Big Cats Task Force (SC74 Com.1). According to the ToR, the Task Force will:
- share information about techniques (including the use of forensic methods), tools, and processes for identifying big cat specimens in trade, consider developing new and harmonizing existing approaches for better roll out and use of these techniques and tools across parties, and identify needs and knowledge gaps;
- generate improved understanding of the role of legal trade in big cat specimens on combating poaching of and illegal trade in big cat species, and improved understanding of trade in specimens originating from captive bred sources and the potential linkage with laundering of illegal specimens from and through such facilities; and
- generate time-bound recommendations, as appropriate.
Seahorses: On Thursday, the Secretariat presented the report on seahorses (Hippocampus spp.) contained in SC74 Doc.70.1. AC Chair Lörtscher presented SC74 Doc.70.2, including draft decisions to renew activities for which work is either ongoing or is not completed. Participants considered the two documents together. SENEGAL provided a national perspective, noting seahorses were bycatch that was sometimes sent to Asia, and questioned why a suspension of trade had been imposed. INDIA described national laws and questioned how a CITES report had been produced without their knowledge, noting no part of the report should be used. The PET JOINT ADVISORY COUNCIL drew attention to the success of seahorse breeding in aquaculture as a way to maintain populations. POLAND and NORTH AMERICA voiced support for the recommendations.
Outcome: SC74 noted the reports and agreed with the transmission of the draft decisions to CoP19.
Great apes: On Friday, the Secretariat presented the report (SC74 Doc.71), noting it had been prepared in consultation with the Great Apes Survival Partnership and the IUCN Primate Specialist Group Section on Great Apes.
SENEGAL drew attention to the impacts of habitat destruction on great apes. GABON stressed that four of the six great ape species are at risk of extinction and called for international collaboration, cooperation and synergies with other MEAs, the CBD and CMS, proposing a draft decision to CoP19 to this effect. NIGERIA drew attention to its work with non-governmental organizations on great ape conservation and to a transboundary agreement with Cameroon on biodiversity protection. GUINEA noted animals can only be protected when their habitats are taken into consideration.
Outcome: SC74 agreed to the recommendations and would additionally note in the report of the Chair on the work of the SC the importance of working on collaboration with other relevant MEAs as part of the collaboration with other organizations that the CoP has requested of the Secretariat.
Rosewood tree species: On Friday, the Secretariat stood in for PC Chair Koumba Pombo and presented the report (SC74 Doc.72) on rosewood tree species (Leguminoseae (Fabaceae), noting it relates to decisions 18.234-18.237 and underscored progress despite lack of funding. She said the PC had agreed on a renewal and continuing this work after CoP19, while acknowledging progress made so far. She thanked Switzerland for the funding provided for the relevant desk study.
CHINA supported the decisions and recommendations and stressed the importance of collaborating with other countries. He asked for clarification from a scientific point of view on the genera and how they are included in the term rosewood, to avoid an unreasonable extension of the list without scientific basis. SC Chair Caceres took note of the question and noted the PC would address it. The CONFEDERATION OF EUROPEAN MUSIC INDUSTRIES stressed that musicians depend on rosewood and offered their expert knowledge.
Outcome: SC74 agreed with the presented recommendations.
Pangolins: On Tuesday, the Secretariat introduced the report (SC74 Doc.73) on the national conservation status of pangolin species, legal and illegal trade in pangolins, the disposal of pangolin specimens, stocks of specimens of pangolins and stockpile management, enforcement issues, and tools and materials that could assist parties in the implementation of Resolution Conf. 17.10 on conservation of and trade in pangolins. POLAND recommended adding language on “strongly” encouraging parties to identify seized pangolin specimens at species level.
Outcome: SC74 noted the report and considered draft decisions directing:
- the AC to review the conversion parameters for all pangolin species to enable the reliable determination of the number of animals associated with any quantity of pangolin scales seized, and encourage all pangolin range states to step up efforts;
- parties in whose territory stocks of parts and derivatives of pangolins exist are encouraged to take urgent steps to establish and apply, where not yet done, strict control measures to secure these stocks;
- the Secretariat to issue a notification inviting parties, international organizations, international aid agencies, and non-governmental organizations that developed identification materials concerning pangolin species, their parts and derivatives, to bring such materials to the attention of the Secretariat;
- the AC to review existing identification materials concerning pangolin species, their parts and derivatives, and consider the need for new or additional materials to be developed, including to support the identification of seized pangolin specimens at species level; and
- the SC to report the results of its work together with any recommendations for CoP20.
African lions: On Wednesday, the Secretariat presented SC74 Doc.74, noting that as with Asian big cats, some activities hadn’t been completed because of lack of funds and the cancellation of meetings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and should thus be continued beyond CoP19. He thanked the EU, Switzerland, the US, the UK, and the Netherlands for their support.
Many supported the recommendations, with some citing time and financial constraints as impediments to implementation, and calling for decisions that haven’t been fully completed to be renewed. Delegates discussed a number of initiatives including the CITES-CMS Carnivores Initiative and new IUCN guidelines on African carnivores. They discussed prioritizing work, harmonizing efforts, avoiding duplication, sharing information, enhancing collaboration, seeking further funding, and calling for the CITES AC to be actively consulted.
Outcome: SC74 noted the document and the comments on the importance of collaboration with African lion range states, and agreed to propose in its report to CoP19 an extension or update of Decision 18.248.
Jaguars: On Wednesday, the Secretariat presented the report (SC74 Doc.75), inviting the SC to note the main findings and conclusions of the jaguar study, consider the draft decisions on illegal trade in jaguars, and provide comments to the Secretariat for onward submission to CoP19.
PERU, PANAMA, BRAZIL, ARGENTINA and others agreed with the recommendations and described national activities pertaining to jaguars, with the DOMINICAN REPUBLIC voicing solidarity with their efforts. POLAND and DEFENDERS OF WILDLIFE encouraged collaboration among range states. CMS drew attention to its listing of the species in its Appendix. India commended the joint work of CMS and CITES on the matter. China underscored that the seizure of jaguar specimens nationally is rare and lamented negative mentions of China in the report and thus invited parties to read the conclusions with great caution.
The US suggested to add an additional activity for the SC, in the form of a new decision that would task the SC to provide recommendations to the Secretariat to be taken to the CoP. SC Chair Caceres concluded there was strong support for the recommendations and suggested activities, including the suggestion by the US for the SC to have a role in what is reported to the CoP.
Outcome: SC74 noted the main findings and conclusions of the jaguar study and agreed to submit to CoP19 the following amended draft decisions, directing parties, especially those that are range states of the jaguar, and relevant stakeholders, to:
- urgently adopt comprehensive legislation and enforcement controls aimed at eliminating the poaching of jaguars and illegal trade in their parts and derivatives, including online sales of specimens;
- include the jaguar as a priority species to be targeted as part of enforcement operations, measures and controls deployed to respond to and address wildlife crime; and
- support the development of the proposal for establishing a long-term system for monitoring illegal killing of jaguars, associated illegal trade in their parts and derivatives, and other key aspects related to jaguar conservation;
SC74 directs the Secretariat to cooperate with the CMS Secretariat and the Coordination Committee for the UNDP 2030 Jaguar Conservation Roadmap for the Americas and convene a meeting of jaguar range states. The SC will make recommendations to range states, transit, and destination countries.
Tibetan antelope: On Friday, the Secretariat presented the report (SC74 Doc.76) on Tibetan antelope (Pantholops hodgsonii), underscoring efforts by Switzerland in combating illegal trade, collaboration with Italy and India, illegal trade data reported by parties between 2016 and 2020, and the importance of continued capacity building and awareness raising.
SWITZERLAND stressed that the illegal trade of the Tibetan antelope wool, shahtoosh, is an ongoing issue and noted that 96% of the seizures in the past years were made by Switzerland, highlighting a need to raise awareness and intensify targeted inspections, special training, and reaching out to parties possibly affected by the issue. CHINA said that the species benefits from the highest level of protection nationally and that numbers were rapidly increasing. INDIA drew attention to their national “Operation Soft Gold” aimed at targeting illegal trade, noting India shouldn’t be listed in the recommendation to strengthen efforts as it is already doing so.
Outcome: SC74 noted the report and agreed to recommendations to: encourage parties affected by illegal trade in the species to continue to approach the CITES Management Authority of Switzerland for assistance with identification methods and exchange of information and knowledge about this topic; and encourage India and Italy to enhance efforts to strengthen the capacity of its border officials concerning the identification of Tibetan antelope specimens, in particular garments and cloth, including by drawing upon the support available from Switzerland, as appropriate.
Helmeted hornbill: On Friday, the Secretariat introduced SC74 Doc.77 on the helmeted hornbill (Rhinoplax vigil), drawing attention to a meeting of the Regional Investigative and Analytical Case Management on illegal trade in helmeted hornbill to be held later in 2022. IUCN expressed concern for the low response rate to the Secretariat’s questionnaire and request for support.
Outcome: SC74 noted the document and recommendations, inter alia, encouraging range states to respond to the Secretariat’s invitation to provide assistance in their implementation of Resolution Conf. 17.11 on conservation of, and trade in, helmeted hornbill.
Saiga antelope: On Friday, the Secretariat introduced, jointly with the AC, the report on saiga antelope (Saiga spp.) (SC74. Doc.78), citing improvements in the state of the population and asking for decisions to be renewed. The EU lamented lack of reporting by saiga range states. The US expressed concern over continuing illegal wildlife trade in saiga specimens. WCS called for caution, citing how population increases can be offset by mass mortality events, likely due to wildlife diseases and climate change.
Outcome: SC74 noted the report; recommended renewal of Decisions 18.270 to 18.274; and proposed draft decisions:
- calling on saiga antelope and important consumer and trading countries of saiga parts and derivatives to fully implement the measures directed to them in the Medium-Term International Work Programme for the Saiga Antelope for 2021-2025, developed in support of the MoU concerning Conservation, Restoration and Sustainable Use of the Saiga Antelope (and its Saiga Action Plan); and
- calling on the Secretariat to review, in consultation with the CMS Secretariat, the conservation of and trade in saiga antelope.
Queen conch: On Thursday, the Secretariat presented the report on queen conch (Strombus gigas) (SC74 Doc.79), noting the SC is invited to note the information in the document and remind parties that the guidelines for the preparation and submission of the CITES annual illegal trade report indicate that shells should preferably be reported by number and that meat should be reported in kilograms. POLAND, PERU, also on behalf of HONDURAS, and the US, voiced support for the recommendations. POLAND encouraged range states to continue to engage. PANAMA drew attention to domestic consumption.
Outcome: SC74 noted the report, reminded parties that the guidelines indicate that shells should preferably be reported by number and that meat should be reported in kilograms, and directed the Secretariat to submit to CoP19 those elements of Decisions 18.275 to 18.280 on queen conch that have not yet been implemented.
Tortoises and freshwater turtles: On Thursday, SC Chair Caceres noted that as Madagascar is absent but the report (SC74 Doc.80.2) is available online, the SC will take note of the report.The Secretariat presented the document (SC74 Doc.80.1). POLAND acknowledged measures taken by Madagascar, encouraged work to continue, and, with MEXICO, agreed with the recommendations.
Outcome: SC74 noted the documents and agreed with the recommendations.
Maintenance of the Appendices
Annotations: On Friday, CANADA presented the report of the working group (SC74 Doc. 81). JAPAN provided a technical modification pertaining to the whole live or dead animal or plant is always included when a species is included in Appendix I II or III, and that all parts and derivatives are also included in the same appendix. The US supported the recommendations and Japan’s amendments.
Outcome: SC74 agreed to endorse proposed amendments, and ask the Secretariat to submit a document to CoP19 proposing that the parties adopt the amendments, with the modification from Japan.
Mechanisms and information system for the review of existing and proposed annotations: On Friday, the Secretariat introduced SC74.Doc.82, on mechanisms to assist the CoP in harmonizing implementation of the guidance on annotations provided in Resolution Conf. 11.21 (Rev. CoP18) on use of annotations in Appendices I and II.
SWITZERLAND noted these mechanisms, like the proposed Annotations Periodic Review (APR) are premature and a decision now is not possible. North America agreed with Switzerland but noted the intent of this process was to develop an informal process and would thus recommend the SC to ask the Secretariat to prepare draft decisions for CoP19 to explore informal approaches.
Outcome: SC74 decided not to submit the draft proposal for the establishment of an APR and asked the SC to prepare draft decisions directing the Secretariat to prepare a proposal for CoP20.
Annotation #15: On Friday, the Secretariat introduced SC74 Doc.83, highlighting it had recently secured the necessary funding for the study to assess the effect on Dalbergia/Guibourtia species in international trade of the exemptions contained in Annotation #15 for finished musical instruments, parts, and accessories, and the conservation implications thereof, called for in Decision 18.321, and proposes the renewal of Decisions 18.321 and 18.322. INDIA underscored the importance of this annotation for livelihoods in India.
Outcome: SC74 agreed to renewal of these decisions.
Products containing specimens of Appendix-II orchids: On Friday, PC Chair Koumba Pombo presented the report (SC74 Doc.84) noting a need to carry out research on species used for food and medicinal purposes. She noted the SC is invited to decide and agree that future work on orchid annotations should be undertaken with any SC decisions on annotations, consider the draft decisions contained in the annex and to advise whether Decisions 18.327 to 18.330 on products containing specimens of Appendix-II orchids can be considered completed; and make recommendations to CoP19. The EU supported the recommendations with some minor amendments.
Outcome: SC74 agreed with the recommendations as slightly amended and that Decisions 18.327 to 18.330 are completed.
Guidance for the publication of the Appendices: On Friday, the Secretariat introduced SC74 Doc.85, including the draft Guidance for the publication of the Appendices. CHINA proposed translating it into Chinese.
Outcome: SC74 invites the Standing Committee to provide any additional comment on the draft Guidance for the publication of the Appendices in the annex to document SC74 Doc.85 before its publication on the CITES website.
Reservations entered after CoP18: On Tuesday, the Secretariat introduced the report (SC74 Doc.86), noting the practical legal questions that have arisen in relation to the update of references to resolutions in the new Appendices that the Secretariat published after CoP18. ISRAEL, SENEGAL and the EU expressed support not to have resolutions mentioned in the Appendices.
Outcome: SC74 noted the intention of the Secretariat to submit a document with recommendations for consideration of CoP19.
Determination of the time and venue of the 75th and 76th meetings: On Friday, SC Chair Caceras indicated SC75 would be on 13 November 2022 and SC76 on 25 November 2022 in Panama City, Panama.
On Friday, in closing SC74, delegates thanked the host country France, the Secretariat, technical wizards for online coverage, interpreters, and especially SC Chair Caceres for her “usual combination of efficiency and grace and, on this occasion, with more than usual stamina.” Many voiced the joys of working face-to-face rather than virtually and commended all the hard work during the intersessional period.
CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero commended delegates on having ploughed through 89 items, 117 documents and more than 5,000 pages. All agreed that strong foundations had been laid for a successful CoP19.
In noting they had reached the end of the race, Chair Caceres noted SC75 would be her last as Chair and gaveled the meeting to a close at 6:41 pm.