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11th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES-11)
Nairobi, Kenya; 9 - 20 April 2000

The eleventh Conference of the Parties (COP-11) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) convened from 10-20 April 2000, at UNEP Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, drawing together approximately 2100 participants representing governments, NGOs, and IGOs. Delegates at COP-11 considered 62 proposals to amend Appendices I and II as well as over 40 resolutions on a wide range of topics, including: the evolution of the Convention; financial matters, including the budget for 2001-2002 and the Medium-term Plan for 2001-2005; conservation of and trade in tigers, elephants, rhinoceros, and Tibetan Antelopes; and trade in bears, freshwater turtles and tortoises, seahorse, and traditional medicines.

Most delegates were satisfied with the outcome of COP-11 and championed the compromise reached on African Elephants as the triumph of COP-11. The rejection of proposals to downlist populations of Gray and Minke Whales and the Hawksbill Turtle was also characterized as a success by many, but this view was not unanimous ­ reflecting the underlying conflicts within CITES between issues related to conservation and trade.

htmlFinal Plenary: CITES-11 draws to a close

On the last day of CITES COP-11, delegates met in an extended morning Plenary to complete adoption of the work of Committee I. Discussion was re-opened on the down-listing of the Minke Whale (Prop. 11.18), Hawksbill Turtles (Prop. 11.41), and the Basking Shark (Prop. 11.49). All three proposals were rejected once again by secret ballot (results below). After words of thanks and farewells from several speakers, including Klaus Topfer, Executive Director of UNEP, and Willem Wijnstekers, CITES Secretary-General, Chair Asadi closed COP-11 at 1 pm.

NORWAY called to reopen the debate on the Minke Whale (Prop. 11.18) and amended its initial proposal to limit trade to products from animals taken within national jurisdiction with countries where DNA-based identification systems for trade control are implemented. Several delegations opposed, noting that downlisting would signal the resumption of commercial whaling.

CUBA reopened debate on its proposal on Hawksbill Turtles (Prop. 11.41) with an amendment stating that trade would not take place until the control systems in Japan had been reviewed by the CITES Standing Committee. Costa Rica, among others, opposed, noting that the turtle is a migratory species and that a one-off sale could encourage other countries to stockpile shells.
The UK reopened debate on the proposal on the Basking Shark (Prop. 11.49), suggesting a 12 months implementation delay to enable the identification and distribution of material. He added that the UK had developed methodology for DNA testing for differentiation of sharks from other similar species. Objecting, Norway said CITES lacks the competence or rules to expand its tasks in this area, which belongs to the FAO.

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  Re-opened proposal
(see above for descriptions)
  11.18 11.41 11.49
For: 53 67 67
Against: 52 41 42
Abstentions: 8 9 8
Proposal: rejected rejected rejected
Under the Rule of Procedure, a two-thirds majority is required to carry a proposal.

Below: Members of the Secretariat counting the ballots.

CHILE offered to host COP-12, scheduled for the second half of 2002, in Santiago de Chile.

In closing remarks, NIGERIA called for the Secretariat's support of wildlife management and in carrying out census in their national parks, and on behalf of the G-77, solicited global assistance toward sustainable development

Klaus Töpfer, Executive Director of UNEP, noted COPs are "a means to an end", said the adoption of the Strategic Plan cannot be over-emphasized and welcomed synergies with other Conventions. He thanked journalists for stimulating global interest for CITES and underscored the role of civil society.

RealAudio: Part one  Part two

Willem Wijnstekers, CITES Secretary-General, declared COP-11 was a success and said the outcome of the elephant issue was a victory for the whole of Africa and express concern over implementation of the Strategic Plan in view of budget reductions.
Chair Bagher Asadi said he had entered COP-11 as an amateur and leaves as an interested beginner. He thanked the CITES Secretariat, delegations, NGOs, bureau members, Committee Chairs, and gaveled the meeting to an end at 1:00 pm.

Various views of the Final Plenary: from the public gallery (left), mid-way to the back (below left) and the very back (below right).

Right: Participants exiting Plenary for the last time at CITES-11.

Interview with Norwegian delegate

After the close of COP-11, Peter Schei, a member of the Norwegian Delegation, sat down with Laura Ivers of the ENB for a candid chat on the rejected proposal on the Minke Whale, the relationship between CITES and the IWC, "sustainable use" vs. the Precautionary Principle, and his general appreciation of the meeting.

RealAudio: Part one  Part two


Because CITES is a science based convention, delegates are cautioned against wearing their emotions on their sleeves. But that doesn't stop them from showing their affiliations on their ties...

CITES Secretariat web site with agenda and official documents ('INF' Information Documents available here)
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