Delegates from the EU huddle during informal consultations.
The day began with many firsts as the plenary swiftly completed its morning agenda and entered new territory in the interpretation of Article XVIII on the Resolution of Disputes.
The EU, supported by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and opposed by Costa Rica, requested to reopen discussion on the Committee’s decision to accept the draft amendments to Resolution Conf. 11.20 (Rev. CoP17) concerning trade in live wild-caught elephants.
While supporting the intent of the original proponents, the EU noted areas of concern and suggested several amendments to ensure: provisions for ex situ to ex situ movement of older animals originally from the wild, scrutiny by relevant CITES scientific and management authorities, and under exceptional circumstances or emergencies, transfer of wild animals to ex situ destinations.
Zimbabwe, supported by eSwatini, Zambia, Namibia, and other southern African countries, invoked Article XVIII of the Convention, declaring a dispute with the proponents of the originally proposed amendments and the EU, arguing that the proposed amendments were a “backdoor attempt” to amend the annotation to Appendix II-listed African elephants. The Secretariat suggested that the dispute be addressed following a vote on the EU’s proposed amendments, noting that this was the first time in the history of the Convention that this mechanism had been invoked. The Chair adjourned the morning session early to discuss this issue.
At the beginning of the afternoon session, Zimbabwe expressed concern that their dispute had not been adequately addressed in the course of debate. The EU reiterated that their proposed amendments represent a positive and transparent way forward until further work is concluded and the issue revisited at CoP19. The Secretariat explained that Zimbabwe’s dispute concerned a proposal, rather than a decision that had been taken and thus advised that the CoP move forward with a vote. The CoP voted to adopt the amendments proposed by the EU, with 87 in favor and 25 against.
The CoP adopted many listings proposals during the afternoon, as put forward by Committee I. Indonesia expressed concern that implementing the otter and Tokay gecko listings will require national processes that will involve time and resources, with up to 18 months required to implement the decision. She requested her statement be recorded.
Costa Rica moved to open the debate on an Appendix II listing of glass frogs. Supported by India, Mali, Kenya, and Qatar, he expressed concern that many countries had not been present when the vote was taken. The EU argued that the listing would not be enforceable, as there are more than 104 species, and they are morphologically indistinguishable. The CoP voted on the proposal, with the result that 64.3% of Parties supported the listing, not reaching the two-thirds majority required to list glass frogs in Appendix II.
The CoP adopted many proposals on administrative and strategic matters, as well as on interpretation and implementation of the Convention. Chair Hoover, upon the completion of Committee II’s agenda items, noted that all of these items had been decided through consensus. He expressed gratitude for the Committee’s great spirit of collaboration and compromise, both of which, he argued, are key strengths of the Convention.
The plenary will continue to discuss Committee I agenda items on Wednesday, the final day of CITES CoP18.
IISD Reporting Services, through its ENB Meeting Coverage, provided daily web coverage and a summary and analysis report from CITES CoP18.
The room is full as delegates reconvene in plenary.
CITES CoP18 Chair Thomas Jemmi, Switzerland
CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero
Committee II Chair Craig Hoover, US
Committee I Chair Rod Hay, New Zealand
Seyni Abdoul-Aziz, Niger, speaking on behalf of the African region
Shereefa Al-Salem, Kuwait, speaking on behalf of the Asian region
Sarah Bagnall, New Zealand, speaking on behalf of the Oceania region
Jessica Maria Gálvez-Durand Besnard, Peru, speaking on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean region
Carolina Caceres, Canada, speaking on behalf of the North American region
João Loureiro, Portugal, speaking on behalf of the European region
Delegates applaud the nomination of regional representatives and the work done by various committee members.
Jorge Rodríguez Romero, EU
Munesushe Munodawafa, Zimbabwe
Patrick Omondi, Kenya
Anton Mezhnev, Russian Federation
Pohamba Shifeta, Namibia
Misozi Ngulube, Zambia
South Africa calls a point of order during the discussions.
After Zimbabwe declares a dispute over the proposed amendments to a resolution on the matter of live trade in African elephants, members of the CITES Secretariat consult on the way forward, to ensure compliance with procedures outlined in the Convention.
Members of the EU consult.
Members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) consult.
View of the dais during the session: David Morgan, CITES Secretariat; Committee II Chair Craig Hoover, US; CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero; Awilo Ochieng Pernet, Alternate CoP Chair; CITES CoP 18 Chair Thomas Jemmi, Switzerland; Bruno Mainini, Switzerland; Committee I Chair Rod Hay, New Zealand; and Tom De Meulenaer, CITES Secretariat.
David Morgan, CITES Secretariat
Naohisa Okuda, Japan
Delegates vote on three proposals during plenary.
The plenary adopts the EU's proposals regarding trade in live elephants, with 87 in favor and 29 against, allowing trade only in exceptional circumstances.
Blanca Alicia Mendoza Vera, Mexico
Bandar Al-Faleh, Saudi Arabia
After Costa Rica re-opened the discussions on glass frogs, the number of votes do not meet the two-thirds majority required to include them in Appendix II.
Delegates take photos of the voting results as they are displayed on the screen.
Carlos Mario Orrego Vásquez, Costa Rica
Calvin Bernard, Guyana
Ghanim Abdulla Mohammed, Qatar
Bourama Niagate, Mali
Eugène Lapointe, IWMC World Conservation Trust
Alejandra Goyenechea, Defenders of Wildlife
Around the Venue
Delegates from South Africa consult with the CITES Secretariat.
Delegates from Chile and Argentina.
Will Travers, Survival Species Network (SSN) consults with a delegate.
CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero
Adam Cruise, African Elephant Journal, conducts an interview with the media.
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