Summary report, 14–25 November 2022

19th Meeting of the CITES Conference of the Parties (CITES CoP19)

The nineteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP) of the Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) took place at a critical moment, as several recent scientific reports and articles have underscored the urgency of halting, and reversing, biodiversity loss, with overexploitation highlighted as one of the main threats to wild plants and animals together with habitat loss and climate change. CITES is also on the cusp of its 50th birthday. In her opening remarks, CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero noted that it was a time for reflection on the Convention’s past and its future and on how well it had achieved its original goals.

Delegates adopted 46 of the 52 proposals put forward to increase or decrease controls on international trade in wildlife and wildlife products, bringing many species of sharks, lizards, turtles, fish, birds, frogs, and more than a hundred tree species under CITES control to ensure the sustainability of these species in the wild while allowing their international trade. In addition, a record 365 decisions were adopted to advance protection of threatened wildlife species while at the same time allowing international trade.

During impassioned closing remarks, parties thanked Panama for hosting a “phenomenal” conference and reminded each other that while the CoP was done, the real work of CITES implementation continues apace. In a powerful moment for many, Ukraine took the floor and condemned the Russian Federation for its “unprovoked invasion” of their territory and announced hopes of someday hosting a future CITES meeting. “Ukraine will stand, Ukraine will win,” the delegate said to loud applause in the room.

CoP19 took place from 14-25 November 2022 in Panama City, Panama. More than 2,500 delegates, observers, and journalists took part in the two-week meeting.

A Brief History of CITES

CITES was established as a response to growing concerns that over-exploitation of wildlife through international trade was contributing to the rapid decline of many species of plants and animals around the world. The Convention was signed by representatives from 80 countries in Washington, DC, on 3 March 1973, and entered into force on 1 July 1975. There are currently 184 parties to the Convention.

The aim of CITES is to ensure that international trade of wild animal and plant species does not threaten their survival. CITES parties regulate wildlife trade through controls and regulations on species listed in three appendices. Appendix I lists species endangered due to international trade, permitting such trade only in exceptional circumstances. Appendix-II species are those that may become endangered if their trade is not regulated, thus they require controls aimed at preventing unsustainable use, maintaining ecosystems, and preventing species from entering Appendix I. Appendix-III species are those subject to domestic regulation by a party requesting the cooperation of other parties to control international trade in these species.

In order to list a species in Appendix I or II, a party needs to submit a proposal for approval by the Conference of the Parties (CoP), supported by scientific and biological data on population and trade trends. The proposal must be adopted by a two-thirds majority of parties present and voting. As the trade impact on a species increases or decreases, the CoP decides whether or not the species should be transferred or removed from the appendices.

There are approximately 5,800 fauna species and 30,000 flora species protected under the three CITES Appendices. Parties regulate international trade of CITES species through a system of permits and certificates that are required before listed specimens are imported, exported, or introduced from the sea. Each party is required to adopt national legislation and to designate two national authorities, namely, a Management Authority responsible for issuing permits and certificates based on the advice of a Scientific Authority. These two national authorities also assist with CITES enforcement through cooperation with customs, police, and other appropriate agencies. Parties maintain trade records that are forwarded annually to the CITES Secretariat, thus enabling the compilation of statistical information on the global volume of international trade in an appendix-listed species.

The operational bodies of CITES include the Standing Committee (SC) and two scientific committees: the Plants Committee (PC) and the Animals Committee (AC).

Conference of the Parties

The first CoP was held in Bern, Switzerland, in November 1976, and subsequent CoPs have been held every two to three years. The CoP meets to, inter alia:

  • review progress in the conservation of species included in the Appendices;
  • discuss and adopt proposals to amend the lists of species in Appendices I and II;
  • consider recommendations and proposals from parties, the Secretariat, the SC, and the scientific committees; and
  • recommend measures to improve the effectiveness of the Convention and the functioning of the Secretariat.

The CoP also periodically reviews the list of resolutions and decisions, as well as the species listed in its Appendices.

Key Turning Points

In 2010, the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) was created to further enhance the international cooperation needed to support national efforts to strengthen the enforcement response.

In 2015, the United Nations Group of Friends on Poaching and Illicit Wildlife Trafficking, co-chaired by Gabon and Germany, promoted the first UN General Assembly resolution on tackling illicit trafficking in wildlife. Resolution 69/314 and three follow-up resolutions recognize CITES as the primary legal framework for regulating international trade in species of wild animals and plants and combating illicit trafficking in wildlife.

In 2016, the CoP voted to not extend the mandate directed to the SC concerning the development of a decision-making mechanism (DMM) for a process of trade in elephant ivory.

In 2019, General Assembly Resolution 73/343 further underscored the importance of national-level action and commitment to effectively address illegal wildlife trade, urging Member States to “take decisive steps at the national level to prevent, combat, and eradicate the illegal trade in wildlife, on the supply, transit, and demand sides, including by strengthening their legislation and regulations necessary for the prevention, investigation, prosecution, and appropriate punishment of such illegal trade, as well as by strengthening enforcement and criminal justice responses.”

Recent Meetings

CITES CoP17: CoP17 convened from 24 September to 4 October 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa. CoP17 was the largest CITES meeting to date, with more than 3,500 participants representing 152 governments, international organizations, non-governmental organizations and media. Delegates considered 90 agenda items and 62 species-listing proposals submitted by 64 countries. Resolutions and decisions were adopted on, inter alia: actions to combat wildlife trafficking; demand reduction strategies to combat illegal trade in CITES-listed species; provisions on international trade in hunting trophies of species listed in Appendix I or II aimed at enabling better controls of the sustainable and legal origin of those specimens; illegal trade in cheetahs; elephants and trade in ivory; agarwood-producing taxa; and ebonies.

CITES CoP18: CoP18 took place from 17-28 August 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland. It was attended by 169 member governments and the European Union, including 1,700 delegates, observers, and journalists. Delegates addressed 57 proposals to increase or decrease controls on international trade in wildlife and wildlife products, submitted by 90 parties. In addition, a record 140 documents proposing new measures and policies on international trade in wild fauna and flora were submitted for consideration by the Conference. CoP18 also established the CITES Big Cat Task Force with a mandate to improve enforcement, tackle illegal trade and promote collaboration on conserving tigers, lions, cheetahs, jaguars and leopards. And in a landmark decision, CITES recognized the critical role of local and Indigenous communities that live on the frontlines of wildlife conservation and sustainable management.

CoP19 Report

On Monday, 14 November, CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero welcomed participants to the “CoP of the Americas” and expressed gratitude to the Panamanian government for their commitment in taking on hosting duties. She noted that, with CITES turning 50, it was a time for reflection on its past and future and on how well it had achieved its original goals.

The Minister of Environment of Panama, Milciades Concepción, welcomed participants, underscoring his country’s commitment to the principles of conservation and sustainable use, and calling on parties to support Panama’s call for a universal Law on the Rights of Nature.

Administrative and Financial Matters

Election of Chair and Vice-Chair of the meeting and of Chairs of Committees I and II: The CoP elected Milciades Concepción (Panama) as Chair; Shirley Binder (Panama) as Alternate Chair; Patience Gandiwa (Zimbabwe) and May Shih Anna Wong (Singapore) as Vice Chairs; Vincent Fleming (UK) as Chair of Committee I; Rhedyn Ollerenshaw (Australia) as Chair of Committee II; and Hayat Mesbah (Morocco) as Chair of the Credentials Committee.

Adoption of the agenda and working programme: The agenda (CoP19 Doc.2) and work programme (CoP19 Doc.3) were adopted on Monday, 14 November.

Rules of Procedure of the Conference of the Parties: SC Chair Carolina Caceres (Canada) introduced amendments (CoP19 Docs.4.1 and 2) to Rules of Procedure 25.5 and 6, and 7.2a on Monday, 14 November.

On Friday, 25 November, in plenary, Caceres introduced the four remaining proposed amendments to Rule 25.6 as detailed in Annex 1 to CoP19 Doc.4.1, noting they consisted of one consequential change to what was agreed for Rule 25.5 on how to propose an amendment to a proposal for amendment of Appendix I or II to reduce its scope or to make it more precise, and three substantive changes.

On the order in which proposals that concern the same taxon but are different in substance are considered, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO, on behalf of 45 other parties, agreed in the spirit of consensus to the proposed consequential change in Rule 25.6 from “and proposals made” to “or” but opposed the proposed substantive changes, particularly changing the order of the consideration of proposals from the “least” to the “most” restrictive effect on trade.

Other parties expressed support for the proposed substantive changes to Rule 25.6 on the order in which to consider proposals for amendment of the Appendices. For the sake of consensus, CANADA proposed revising Decision 18.1 to Decision 18.1 (Rev. CoP19), directing the SC to review Rule 25.6 of the CoP Rules of Procedure and propose amendments, as appropriate, to CoP20. The CoP adopted the consequential change and Decision 18.1 (Rev. CoP19) as proposed by Canada.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the draft amendments to Rule 7.2 on setting up the Credentials Committee and Rule 25.5. The CoP directed the SC to review Rule 25.6 and propose amendments at CoP20.

Proposed amendment to Rule 26: ZIMBABWE introduced CoP19 Doc.4.2 on Monday, 14 November.

On Friday, 25 November, the CoP agreed to defer consideration of the proposed amendments in CoP19 Doc.4.2 until CoP20.

Credentials Committee: This matter was discussed on Monday, 14 November.

Admission of observers: This matter (CoP19 Doc.6) was discussed on Monday, 14 November.

Administration, Finance and Budget of the Secretariat and of Meetings of the Conference of the Parties: The Secretariat introduced the report (CoP19 Doc.7.1) on Tuesday, 15 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, in Plenary, the CoP noted the report.

Administration of the Secretariat: Report of the Executive Director of UNEP on administrative matters: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) introduced CoP19 Doc.7.2 on Tuesday, 15 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, in Plenary, the CoP noted the report.

Financial Reports for 2020-2022: The Secretariat introduced CoP19 Doc.7.3 on Tuesday, 15 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, in Plenary, the CoP noted the report.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the report.

Budget and Work Programme for 2023 to 2025: The Secretariat introduced CoP19 Doc.7.4, describing the three financial scenarios, on Tuesday, 15 November, in Committee II.

On Wednesday, 23 November, LIECHTENSTEIN introduced CoP19 Com.II.14, prepared by the budget working group on the basis of CoP19 Docs.7.1, 7.2, 7.3, and 7.4, noting that the working group could not reach consensus on the language strategy.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted CoP19 Doc.7.4 as amended by CoP19 Com.II.14.

Outcome: The CoP:

  • approves the use of USD 300,000 from the accumulated registration fees for observers and international visitors for the Secretariat for the triennium 2023-2025 or the triennium 2023-2025 as was done in the last triennium; and
  • decides that the Secretary-General and, in urgent cases, with the approval of the Chair of the SC alone, shall have the authority to use funds from the Trust Fund accumulated surplus for the years 2023-2025 to cover any shortfall for staff salary costs funded from the core budget.

Access to Funding: The Secretariat introduced CoP19 Doc.7.5 on Tuesday, 15 November, in Committee II.

Outcome: On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the document:

  • with the exception of draft decision 19.EE on the wildlife donor roundtable as having a duplicate mandate to that of the Secretariat; and
  • with the amendments proposed by the US to draft decision 19.AA, on alternative financing solutions and mechanisms for wildlife conservation by inserting “in line with existing Global Environment Facility (GEF) procedures and guidelines,” after “implementation of GEF projects,” and to paragraph c) by deleting “resources for” after “under the eighth replenishment of.”

The CoP also agreed to delete Decisions 18.5 to 18.11 as they have been replaced by the new draft decisions.

Sponsored Delegates Project: The Secretariat introduced CoP19 Doc.7.6 on Tuesday, 15 November, in Committee II.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the amendments to Resolution Conf. 17.3 on the Sponsored Delegates Project and the draft decision in Annex 2. The CoP also agreed to retain Decision 18.12 on applying clear selection criteria.

Language Strategy for the Convention: The Secretariat introduced CoP19 Doc.8, on Tuesday, 15 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, KUWAIT introduced CoP19 Plen.1, prepared at the request of Committee II on the basis of CoP19 Doc.8. She highlighted that the draft decisions call, inter alia, on the Secretariat to provide for the translation of all resolutions and decisions into Arabic, Chinese and Russian; and arrange for the translation of the CITES website into these languages. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION, NIGER, BURKINA FASO, LIECHTENSTEIN, SENEGAL, and others underscored that the proposed decisions would increase visibility, access, and understanding. CHILE proposed replacing “external resources” with “extrabudgetary contributions.”

The CoP adopted the document as amended.

Outcome: In the decision, the CoP directs:

  • the Secretariat, subject to extrabudgetary contributions. to provide for the translation of all resolutions and decisions into the three additional languages (Arabic, Chinese, and Russian) drawing on available informal and official translations; and arrange for the translation of the CITES website into these additional languages; and
  • SC77 to consider the future approach to the language strategy of the Convention in order to provide interpretation in all six languages at the meetings of the CoP, with emphasis on the interpretation at CoP20.

Strategic Matters

Committee reports and recommendations: Standing Committee: Report of the Chair: SC Chair Carolina Caceres introduced CoP19 Doc.9.1.1 on Thursday, 24 November, in Plenary.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the document with a minor amendment from the US.

Animals Committee: Report of the Chair: AC Chair Mathias Lörtscher (Switzerland) introduced CoP19 Doc.9.2.1 on Thursday, 24 November, in Plenary.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the report with minor amendments from ISRAEL.

Plants Committee: Report of the Chair: PC Chair Aurélie Flore Koumba Pombo (Gabon) introduced CoP19 Doc.9.3.1 (Rev.1) on Thursday, 24 November, in Plenary.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the report.

CITES Strategic Vision: SC Chair Caceres introduced CoP19 Doc.10 on Tuesday, 15 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted CoP19 Doc.10 and addendum, and indicators in CoP19 Com.II.2.

Outcome: The CoP directs:

  • parties’ management authorities to communicate with their national Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) focal points to seek to ensure CITES aims are reflected in the outcomes of their domestic processes to develop contributions to the post-2020 biodiversity framework;
  • the Secretariat to undertake a comparative analysis to illustrate the linkages between the adopted CITES Strategic Vision 2021-2030 and the goals within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and, once adopted, the post-2020 biodiversity framework, and present their analysis to the SC; and
  • the SC to make recommendations on new or revised indicators of progress to be included in the CITES Strategic Vision.

Appendix-I listed species: AC Chair Lörtscher introduced CoP19 Doc.11 on Wednesday, 23 November, in Committee I.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted CoP19 Doc.11, as amended.

Outcome: The CoP directs the Secretariat, in consultation with relevant range states, to produce detailed assessments on the conservation status, threats, impacts of legal and illegal trade, ongoing in situ and ex situ conservation strategies or recovery plans, and funding/resources available or required for at least the ten Appendix-I listed species from those listed in the table in paragraph 15 of document CoP19 Doc.11, and others.

World Wildlife Trade Report: SOUTH AFRICA introduced the first pilot report (CoP19 Doc.12) on Wednesday, 16 November, in Committee II

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted CoP19 Doc.12 as amended by CoP19 Com.II.1

Outcome: The CoP directs:

  • the Secretariat to issue a Notification to the Parties providing the pilot World Wildlife Trade Report, seeking feedback and views on such a report and the potential utility and drawbacks of producing such a report periodically; and
  • the SC to review the responses to the Notification and the findings and recommendations of the Secretariat, consult with the Animals and Plants Committees, and make recommendations to CoP20.

Engagement of Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPLCs): KENYA introduced CoP19 Doc.13 on, inter alia, extending the mandate of the intersessional working group, on Wednesday, 16 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted CoP19 Doc.13, including revised Decisions 17.57 (Rev. CoP19), 18.31 (Rev. CoP19) and 18.32 (Rev. CoP19), and draft decision 19.AA directing parties to engage IPLCs in CITES decision-making and implementation processes at the national level to better achieve the objectives of the Convention, with the exception of the text “and international” in paragraph a). after a vote, with 30 parties in favor, 48 against, and 14 abstaining

Outcome: The CoP directs parties to:

  • engage IPLCs in CITES decision-making and implementation processes at the national level to better achieve the objectives of the Convention; and
  • share their experiences and lessons learned in engaging IPLCs in CITES processes with the Secretariat and other parties.

Livelihoods: PERU presented CoP19 Doc.14 on Wednesday, 16 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, The CoP agreed to revised decisions in CoP19 Doc.14, with BOLIVIA’s amendment and deletion of Decisions 18.36-18.37.

Outcome: The CoP directs parties to collate or conduct new case studies that demonstrate how sustainable use of CITES-listed species contributes to the wellbeing and livelihoods of the IPLCs involved in such use, including trade, and to the conservation of the species.

Participatory mechanisms for rural communities in CITES: ZIMBABWE, on behalf of Eswatini and Namibia, introduced CoP19 Doc.15 (Rev.1) on Wednesday, 16 November, in Committee II. On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP agreed that the proponents of the document could refer the matters raised in it to an intersessional working group to be established by the SC under agenda item 13, on engagement of IPLCs.

Capacity building: NEW ZEALAND presented CoP19 Doc.16 on Wednesday, 16 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted CoP19 Doc.16 as amended.

Outcome: The CoP directs:

  • the Secretariat to seek external funding and provide capacity-building support to parties, particularly needs identified in resolutions and decisions and through compliance procedures, considering CITES implementation reports and direct expressions of interest and needs of parties; and
  • cooperate with institutions and organizations in planning and delivering joint capacity-building activities of relevance to the Convention, in consultation with the SC and with the Animals and Plants Committees as they relate to the development of new partnerships that have a scientific nexus or new or revised capacity-building materials of a scientific nature, including scholarships for in-person training or training opportunities.

Cooperation with organizations and multilateral environmental agreements: Cooperation with other biodiversity-related conventions: The Secretariat introduced CoP19 Doc.17.1 on Wednesday, 16 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the draft decisions in Annexes 1 and 2 to CoP19 Doc.17.1 and the deletion of Decisions 18.47 and 18.48.

Outcome: The CoP directs:

  • the Secretariat to prepare for consideration by the SC a partnership strategy for the parties, the Permanent Committees, and the Secretariat to identify priorities for collaboration that specifically enhance the implementation of the Convention; and
  • the SC to explore options consistent with the CITES Strategic Vision to strengthen cooperation, collaboration, and synergies at all relevant levels between CITES and the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, taking into account the outcomes of the Second Consultation Workshop of Biodiversity-related Conventions on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (Bern II).

Cooperation with the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation: PC Chair Koumba Pombo introduced CoP19 Doc.17.2 on Wednesday, 16 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted CoP19 Doc.17.2 as amended.

Outcome: The CoP directs the PC and the Secretariat to:

  • consider the need to revise Resolution Conf. 16.5 on Cooperation with the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation;
  • draft a revision to Resolution Conf.16.5 with a view to ensure that a two-way collaboration between both Conventions is reflected; and
  • present its recommendations to the SC.

Cooperation with the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES): The AC Chair introduced CoP19 Doc.17.3 on Wednesday, 16 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted CoP19 Doc.17.3.

Outcome: The CoP directs the SC to review the IPBES thematic assessment of the sustainable use of wild species and associated recommendations prepared by the AC and PC; make additional recommendations as appropriate; and submit the resulting conclusions and any recommendations as appropriate to CoP20.

Joint CITES-Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) African Carnivores Initiative: The Secretariat introduced CoP19 Doc.17.4 on Wednesday, 16 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the existing, revised, and new draft decisions contained in Annex 1 to CoP19 Doc.17.4; and agreed to the deletion of Decisions 18.56 to 18.58.

Outcome: The CoP directs:

  • the Secretariat to include the African Carnivores Initiative in its proposals for the new CMS-CITES joint work programme for the period 2021-2025; and
  • the SC to review the dedicated Programme of Work for the Joint CITES-CMS African Carnivores Initiative to be developed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC): The Secretariat introduced CoP19 Doc.17.5 on Wednesday, 16 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted draft decisions 19.AA to 19.BB contained in Annex 1 of CoP19 Doc.17.5 and agreed to the deletion of Decision 18.13.

Outcome: The CoP directs parties to provide funding support to the ICCWC for the implementation of the ICCWC Vision 2030 and its associated Strategic Action Plan for 2023-2026 to ensure that the Consortium continues to take a leading role in providing coordinated global support to the law-enforcement community.

United Nations World Wildlife Day: The Secretariat introduced CoP19 Doc.18 on Thursday, 24 November, in plenary. The CoP noted the document.

CITES and forests: The Secretariat introduced CoP19 Doc.19 on Monday, 21 November, in Committee II.

On Wednesday, 23 November, the UK introduced CoP19 Com.II.11, prepared by the working group on the basis of CoP19 Doc.19.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted CoP19 Doc.19 as amended by CoP19 Com.II.11.

Outcome: The CoP directs:

  • the Secretariat to prepare a report for the consideration of the PC and the SC summarizing existing resolutions and decisions and supportive provisions relevant to the implementation of the Convention relevant to forests, focusing on CITES-listed tree-species;
  • the PC to provide input to and consider any report from the Secretariat; and
  • the SC to consider any report by the Secretariat and the Plants Committee

Tree species programme: The Secretariat introduced CoP19 Doc.20 on Wednesday, 16 November, in Committee I.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP agreed to delete Decisions 18.14 to 18.17 and to adopt the draft decisions in Annex 1 to CoP19 Doc.20 with amendments proposed by CANADA, GUATEMALA, and CAMEROON.

Outcome: The CoP directs:

  • parties to provide financial and in-kind support for a capacity-building programme that provides long-term support to parties on their implementation of the Convention for CITES-listed tree species; and
  • the Secretariat to seek advice and guidance from the PC and SC to assess the potential for the CITES Tree Species Programme to be made a permanent programme.

Review of the Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) programme: BELGIUM presented document CoP19 Doc.21 on Thursday, 16 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted CoP19 Doc.21 with a small amendment.

Outcome: The CoP directs the Secretariat to include in the terms of reference for the review of ETIS the issue of overlapping reporting requirements created under Resolution Conf. 10.10 (Rev. CoP18) on trade in elephant specimens.

In the amended Resolution Conf.10.10 (Rev. CoP18), the CoP directs parties to provide information on seizures and confiscations of ivory or other elephant specimens either to the Secretariat or TRAFFIC within 90 days of their occurrence or by 31 March each year for the submission of data covering seizures in the preceding year.

Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) and ETIS programmes: The Secretariat introduced CoP19 Doc.22 on Thursday, 16 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the draft decisions in Annex 1 to CoP19 Doc.22, with the Secretariat’s amendments to draft decision 19.BB; and agreed to delete Decisions 18.21 and 18.22.

Outcome: The CoP directs the Secretariat to prepare proposals for support to the MIKE programme for consideration by donors; further explore options to secure support from alternative funding sources; and continue to enhance operational performances, including improvements to the MIKE Online Database and online training.

Role of CITES in reducing risk of future zoonotic disease emergence associated with international wildlife trade and reducing human and animal health risks from wildlife trade: Committee II simultaneously considered two documents on Tuesday, 15 November: the SC report (CoP19 Doc.23.1), and CoP19 Doc.23.2 submitted by CÔTE D’IVOIRE, GABON, THE GAMBIA, LIBERIA, NIGER, NIGERIA, and SENEGAL, including a resolution recommending parties adopt a One Health approach when implementing the Convention.

On Wednesday, 23 November, CANADA introduced CoP19 Com.II.6, prepared by the working group on the basis of CoP19 Docs.23.1 and 23.2.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted CoP19 Docs.23.1 and 2 as amended by CoP19 Com.II.6

Outcome: The CoP directs:

  • the Secretariat to issue a Notification to the Parties, requesting parties to report on any measures they have in place to mitigate the risk of pathogen spillover and transmission from wildlife trade and associated wildlife supply chains including markets, and make the results available on the CITES website;
  • the Animals and Plants Committee to review the report of the Secretariat and make recommendations to the SC;
  • UNEP to share information from relevant work carried out under the Quadripartite Collaboration for One Health or other relevant initiatives; and
  • parties to endorse the Quadripartite’s definition of the term zoonoses as “infectious diseases that can be spread between animals and humans; can be spread by food, water, fomites or vectors.”

Implications of the COVID‐19 pandemic on the implementation of the Convention: The Secretariat introduced CoP19 Doc.24 on Wednesday, 16 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the draft decisions in Annex 1 to CoP19 Doc.24 as amended by the US.

Outcome: The CoP directs:

  • the Secretariat to prepare a document for consideration by the SC, AC, and PC reflecting the Secretariat’s recommendations for the exceptional circumstances under which under which it may be appropriate to hold an online meeting or make hybrid options available to parties to facilitate participation in a face-to-face meeting; and
  • the SC shall by its 78th meeting, develop and adopt guidance on a structured, risk-assessment approach to be followed to determine the best course of action if intersessional work and meetings are affected by emerging operational issues.

Action plan on gender-related matters: PANAMA introduced CoP19 Doc.25 on Tuesday, 15 November, in Committee II.

On Tuesday, 22 November, MEXICO reported back on CoP19 Com.II.3, prepared by the working group on the action plan on gender related matters on the basis of CoP19 Doc.25.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted CoP19 Doc.25 as amended in CoP19 Com.II.3.

Outcome: The CoP directs:

  • the Secretariat and SC Chair to draw on the available body of knowledge, lessons, and experiences on gender and how it interacts with other identifying factors in matters related to legal and illegal international trade of wild flora and fauna, to develop a draft gender action plan for submission to the SC; and
  • parties to support the preparation of the “CITES Gender Action Plan.”

In the resolution on gender and international trade in wild fauna and flora, the CoP urges parties to enhance efforts to understand gender and how it interacts with other identifying factors in matters related to legal and illegal international trade in wild species of fauna and flora, with a view to taking these into account when designing responses and interventions.

Interpretation and Implementation Matters

Review of Resolutions and Decisions: CoP19 Doc.26 was discussed in Plenary on Thursday, 24 November. The CoP adopted CoP19 Doc.26.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the amendments presented in each of the annexes to the document.

Review of Decisions: The CoP discussed CoP19 Doc.27 on Thursday, 24 November, and noted the decisions.

National laws for implementation of the Convention: The Secretariat introduced CoP19 Doc.28 on Friday, 18 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the draft decisions in Annex 1 to CoP19 Doc.28 as amended by the EU, UK, and the US. The CoP agreed to the deletion of Decisions 18.62 to 18.67.

Outcome: The CoP directs:

  • the Secretariat to develop guidance on the implementation of the Convention in the event of exceptional circumstances that impede the proper functioning of CITES at the national level and submit its recommendations to the SC for consideration including, as appropriate, possible amendments to relevant resolutions, including to Resolution Conf. 12.3 (Rev. CoP18) on permits and certificates; and
  • the Secretariat to report at regular meetings of the SC, as appropriate, and at CoP20 on progress made with regard to the implementation of Resolution Conf. 8.4 (Rev. CoP15) on national laws for implementation of the Convention and Decisions 19.AA to 19.EE.

Compliance matters: Implementation of Article XIII and Resolution Conf. 14.3 (Rev. CoP18) on CITES compliance procedures: The Secretariat introduced CoP19 Doc.29.1 on Friday, 18 November, in Committee II. On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP noted the document.

Totoaba (Totoaba macdonaldi): Committee II considered two documents simultaneously on Friday, 18 November: the Secretariat’s report on implementation (CoP19 Doc.29.2.1) and the US’ updated draft decisions for CoP19 (COP19 Doc.29.2.2).

On Tuesday, 22 November, the US reported back on CoP19 Com.II.5, produced with MEXICO, with regard to totoaba.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted CoP19 Docs.29.2.1 and 2 as amended by CoP19 Com.II.5

Outcome: The CoP directs:

  • parties to provide financial and in-kind support for the implementation of the study called for in Decision 18.294; and to support efforts to eliminate supply of and demand for illegally sourced specimens of totoaba to address and prevent their illegal trade;
  • Mexico to further strengthen measures to effectively prevent fishers from using gillnets in the vaquita refuge and vessels from entering the zero-tolerance areas and to maintain these areas completely gillnet-free, by implementing a strict zero-tolerance policy concerning unauthorized fishing and fishing gear in these areas, ensuring surveillance on a full-time basis, and imposing strict penalties where irregularities are detected, including the seizure of both vessels and unauthorized fishing gear combined with administrative or criminal penalties as applicable;
  • Mexico to deploy the appropriate authorities with legal powers of seizure and arrest, together with the Navy, to effectively prevent fishers and vessels from fishing with prohibited gear in the Vaquita Refuge and from entering the Zero Tolerance Area; and
  • Mexico to submit a comprehensive report to the Secretariat in a timely manner (at least 60 days in advance of SC77).

Malagasy ebonies (Diospyros spp.) and palisanders and rosewoods (Dalbergia spp.): On Wednesday, 23 November, in Committee II, the Secretariat introduced CoP19 Doc.29.3, which considers, among others, a draft decision for Madagascar.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the draft decisions in Annex 1 to CoP19 Doc.29.3, with the amendments proposed by Madagascar, and agreed to the deletion of Decisions 18.94 to 18.99.

Outcome: The CoP directs Madagascar to strengthen management of all Dalbergia spp. and Diospyros spp. timber stockpiles (including through traceability and control systems), request financial and technical assistance therefor, and submit regular updates on audited inventories and independence oversight mechanisms, for consideration and further guidance from the SC.

Compliance Assistance Programme: The SC introduced CoP19 Doc.30 on Wednesday, 16 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the proposed amendments to Resolution Conf. 14.3 (Rev. CoP18) on CITES compliance procedures in Annex 1 to CoP19 Doc.30, as well as the draft decisions in Annex 2. The CoP also agreed to delete Decisions 18.68, 18.69, and 18.70.

Outcome: The CoP invites all parties, governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, and other sources to provide financial and/or technical assistance for the effective implementation of the Programme.

Country-wide Significant Trade Reviews: SWITZERLAND introduced CoP19 Doc.31 on Wednesday, 16 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted draft decisions in Annex 1 to CoP19 Doc.31 and agreed to delete Decisions 18.71 to 18.73.

Outcome: The CoP directs:

  • the AC and PC to take into account the progress made under the Compliance Assistance Programme and the development of a Capacity-Building Framework; and
  • the SC to review recommendations of the AC and PC, and in consultation with the Secretariat, make recommendations for consideration at CoP20.

Review of Resolution Conf. 11.3 (Rev. CoP18) on compliance and enforcement: The US introduced CoP19 Doc.32 on Monday, 21 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the proposed amendments to Resolution Conf. 11.3 (Rev. CoP18) on compliance and enforcement in Annex 1 to CoP19 Doc.32 with the Secretariat’s amendments as noted by the US in its introduction to the agenda item, and the amendments proposed by BOLIVIA, the EU, and the UK. The CoP also adopted draft decision in Annex 3 to the document and agreed to the deletion of Decision 18.74.

Outcome: The COP calls on parties to promote incentives to secure the support and cooperation of Indigenous Peoples and local communities in managing fauna and flora and thereby combating poaching and illegal trade.

Enforcement matters: The Secretariat introduced CoP Doc.33 on Tuesday, 22 November, in Committee II. On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the draft decisions in Annex 1 to CoP19 Doc.33 and the proposed amendments to Resolution Conf. 17.8 on prohibiting, preventing, detecting and countering corruption, which facilitates activities conducted in violation of the Convention in Annex 2. The CoP also agreed to delete Decisions 18.77 and 18.78.

Outcome: The CoP directs:

  • parties to ensure that corruption risk mitigation policies and strategies are in place to address corruption risks associated with wildlife crime;
  • the Secretariat to increase the use of financial investigation techniques to identify criminals involved in wildlife crime and their networks and address associated illicit financial flows from investigations into the investigation these crimes; and
  • the Secretariat to work with its partners in ICCWC to provide parties with guidance on the measures they can take to combat money laundering associated with wildlife crime, and to promote the integration of financial crime investigations into the investigation of crimes involving wildlife.

Annual illegal trade reports: The Secretariat introduced CoP19 Doc.34, which presents an analysis of CITES annual illegal trade reports on Tuesday, 22 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the proposed amendment to Resolution Conf.11.17 (Rev. CoP18) in Annex 1 to CoP19 Doc.34, and draft decision 19.BB in Annex 2. The CoP rejected draft decision 19.AA and agreed to delete Decisions 18.75 and 18.76.

Outcome: The CoP directs the Secretariat to:

  • continue its work with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), ensuring that the CITES Illegal Trade Database and its data dissemination platform are maintained in accordance with the requirements agreed by the CoP; and
  • engage in efforts to support improving overall submission rates of annual illegal trade reports by parties in accordance with Resolution Conf. 11.17 (Rev. CoP18) on National reports, and to improve the quality of data submitted through better use of the Guidelines for the preparation and submission of the CITES annual illegal trade report.

Task Force on illegal trade in specimens of CITES-listed tree species: The SC Chair introduced CoP19 Doc.35 on Tuesday, 22 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP noted the document and agreed to the draft decisions in CoP19 Doc.35 as amended by the US. The CoP also agreed to delete Decisions 18.79 and 18.80.

Outcome: The CoP directs the Secretariat to:

  • in cooperation with UNODC/World Customs Organization (WCO) Container Control Programme, work to undertake activities to provide training by experienced CITES enforcement officials on physical inspection of timber shipments in regions significantly affected by illegal trade in CITES-listed tree species; and
  • where not yet done, encourage and support the undertaking of risk assessments to develop national risk indicators specific to this illegal trade.

Wildlife crime enforcement support in West and Central Africa: Report of the Standing Committee and Wildlife crime and CITES enforcement support in West and Central Africa: CoP19 Doc.36.1 and 36.2 were considered together on Monday, 21 November, in Committee II.

On Wednesday, 23 November, BELGIUM introduced CoP19 Com.II.13, prepared by the working group on the basis of CoP19 Docs.36.1 and 36.2, noting consensus reached.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the document.

Outcome: The CoP directs parties importing CITES specimens from West and Central Africa to assist their counterparts in West and Central Africa by implementing measures that will address wildlife crime and support legal trade that is limited to sustainable levels, in particular by undertaking due diligence.

Wildlife crime linked to the Internet: The Secretariat introduced CoP19 Doc.37 on Monday, 21 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the proposed amendments to Resolution Conf.11.3 (Rev. CoP18) presented in Annex 1 of the document with the amendment by INDONESIA relating to consistency in language. The CoP also adopted the draft decisions contained in Annex 2 of the document, as amended by the EU, and agreed to delete Decisions 18.81 to 18.85.

Outcome: The CoP directs the Secretariat to commission a study to identify the CITES-listed species that are most commonly found in illegal trade on digital and online platforms, national laws, as well as best practices put in place by parties to address wildlife crime linked to the internet, and based on the findings of the study, prepare recommendations for consideration by the SC.

Demand reduction to combat illegal trade: The SC Chair introduced CoP19 Doc.38 on Tuesday, 22 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted amendments to Resolution Conf. 17.4 as amended by the Secretariat, but retaining the last paragraph of the preamble to the revised resolution as proposed by CHINA. The CoP also adopted the draft decisions as amended by the Secretariat, the EU and the Chair, and agreed to delete Decisions 18.86 and 18.87.

Outcome: The CoP directs:

  • the Secretariat to report to the SC on the progress made in the implementation of this decision and make recommendations on follow-up activities, including the identification of priority species and markets that may benefit from a demand reduction strategy and the use of the Guidance on demand reduction strategies to combat illegal trade in CITES-listed species, taking into account national and regional priorities; and
  • parties to translate the Guidance into local languages and share their experience in its implementation.

Domestic markets for frequently illegally traded specimens: The SC Chair introduced CoP19 Doc.39 on Tuesday, 22 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the draft decision in Annex 2 to CoP19 Doc.39, as amended by the UK and the US, and agreed to the deletion of Decisions 17.87 (Rev. CoP18) and 17.88 (Rev. CoP18).

Outcome: The CoP directs the SC to consider whether additional recommendations related to the 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 contained in the Appendices, and in relevant resolutions are warranted to address illegal international trade in such specimens.

Regulation of trade: Guidance for making legal acquisition findings: CANADA presented CoP19 Doc.40 and Doc.40.Add on Tuesday, 22 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted draft decision 19.BB as amended by the Chair, as well as the rapid guide for the making of legal acquisition findings in the Annex to CoP19 Doc.40.Add with amendments proposed by the UK and the US. The CoP agreed to delete section 5 of Annex 1 to Resolution Conf. 18.7 as it would be replaced by the rapid guide as a new Annex 3 to that Resolution. The CoP also agreed to delete Decisions 18.122 to 18.124.

Outcome: The CoP directs the Secretariat to develop digital solutions to automate relevant parts of the rapid guide for making legal acquisition findings, provide input to parties on the development of these digital solutions, and maintain a dedicated webpage regarding the verification of legal acquisition for different taxa and specimens on the CITES website and update it regularly.

Electronic systems and information technologies and Authentication and control of permits: SWITZERLAND introduced CoP19 Doc.41 on Tuesday, 22 November, in Committee II. Discussion continued on Wednesday, 23 November.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted proposed amendments to Resolution Conf. 12.3 (Rev. CoP18) in Annex 1 to the document, as amended by the Secretariat, INDIA, KENYA, and the Chair. The CoP also adopted the US amendments to Resolution Conf. 11.3 (Rev. CoP18). The CoP adopted the draft decisions in Annex 3 as well as the draft decisions in Annex 4, as amended by the US. The CoP agreed to delete Decisions 18.125 to 18.128 and 18.130 to 18.131.

Outcome: The CoP recommends that parties ensure, to the extent possible, that representatives of IPLCs and professionals involved in wildlife trade and management receive training on CITES and their role in implementing the Convention and compliance with relevant national laws. In the draft decisions, the CoP directs the Secretariat to consider ways in which electronic CITES permitting systems can simplify procedures for the non-commercial movement of musical instruments.

Purpose codes on CITES permits and certificates: The SC Chair introduced CoP19 Doc.42 on Tuesday, 22 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP agreed to the draft amendments to Resolution Conf. 12.3 (Rev. CoP18) in Annex 1, as well as the draft amendments to Resolution Conf. 5.10 (Rev. CoP15) on definition of primarily commercial purposes, Resolution Conf. 17.8 on disposal of illegally traded and confiscated specimens of CITES-listed species, and Resolution Conf. 18.7 on legal acquisition findings outlined in Annex 2, 3 and 4, with the amendment by the US to paragraph 2 c) in Resolution Conf. 17.8. The CoP also agreed to draft decision 19.AA in Annex 5 to document CoP19 Doc.42, as amended by CANADA, and the deletion of Decision 14.54 (Rev. CoP18).

Outcome: In the amended Resolution Conf. 12.3, the CoP recommends that parties ensure that, where disposal involves the export or re-export of a confiscated specimen, permits and certificates include the purpose-of-transaction code that best describes the purpose of transaction, in accordance with Resolution Conf. 12.3 (Rev CoP18).

The CoP also directs: the SC to re-establish an intersessional joint working group to review the use of purpose-of-transaction codes by parties, wherein the working group shall, communicating through electronic media, focus on clearly defining purpose-of transaction codes, other than those adopted as of CoP19.

Draft decisions on non-detriment findings (NDFs): The AC Chair introduced CoP19 Doc.43.1 on NDFs on Wednesday, 23 November, in Committee I.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted draft decisions 19.AA to 19.CC contained in Annex 1 to CoP19 Doc.43.1, as amended by CANADA. The CoP also agreed to delete Decisions 18.132 to 18.134.

Outcome: The CoP directs:

  • the Secretariat to undertake targeted research in support of development of new or updated NDF guidance materials; to address the agreed workstreams, building on the inventory and gap analysis of existing guidance prepared by the Secretariat; and
  • the AC and PC to continue the Technical Advisory Group established under the recommendations in document AC31/PC25 Com.3 through which the AC and PC provide support and advice for implementation and make any appropriate decisions to ensure continued advice and assistance for the implementation of Decisions 19.AA to 19.CC.

NDFs: The UK presented CoP19 Doc.43.2 on Wednesday, 23 November, in Committee I.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the draft decisions contained in CoP19 Doc.43.2 as amended by the Secretariat.

Outcome: The CoP directs the Secretariat to invite parties, other governments, and stakeholders to submit information on their experiences in making NDFs for specimens of CITES Appendix II-listed species taken from areas beyond national jurisdiction, to share any NDFs produced, and to highlight any difficulties encountered in the process and any suggestions they might have for improvements.

Review of Resolution Conf. 11.19 (Rev. CoP16): SWITZERLAND presented CoP19 Doc.44.1 on Wednesday, 23 November, in Committee I.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the draft resolution in Annex 1 and draft decisions in Annex 2 to CoP19 Doc.44.1, and in terms of information that might be considered fundamental to all CITES identification materials, in the Annex to the Resolution, the CoP agreed to amending “uses and known trading patterns” to “uses, known trading patterns, and routes” and also to changes to the title of Annex 1 and to the preambular paragraphs to the draft resolution suggested by the EU and the change to paragraph 4, subparagraph b) of the resolution proposed by NEW ZEALAND. The CoP also agreed to delete Decisions 18.135 to 18.139.

Outcome: The CoP recommends that parties continue to develop and share national, regional, or taxon-based guides to the identification of specimens of CITES-listed species, especially for those specimens that are commonly traded and/or found in their country or region, and, when practicable, include identification materials for commonly traded species that are not listed on the CITES Appendices to assist in identifying and differentiating between listed and unlisted species.

Identification of timber and other wood products: The PC Chair presented CoP19 Doc.44.2 on Wednesday, 23 November, in Committee I.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the document.

Outcome: The CoP directs the Secretariat, in consultation with the PC, to liaise with relevant organizations and experts in updating, improving, and expanding the digital repository on timber identification resources and tools.

Labelling system for trade in caviar: The SC Chair introduced CoP19 Doc.45 on Tuesday, 22 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP agreed to the draft decisions in Annex 1, with the EU amendment to draft decision 19.BB. The CoP also agreed to the deletion of Decision 18.146.

Outcome: The CoP directs the SC to establish an intersessional working group that will examine the analyses and recommendations of the Secretariat, once they are available, and report to the SC.

Trade in stony corals: The EU presented CoP19 Doc.46 on Wednesday, 23 November, in Committee I.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the draft decisions in CoP19 Doc.46 as amended by the Secretariat, the MALDIVES, and UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC).

Outcome: The CoP directs the AC, in consultation with coral reef nations and coral reef experts, to provide advice on the conversion factors used to analyze trade in corals for the CITES Review of Significant Trade process and report to the CoP20.

Specimens produced through biotechnology: CHINA introduced CoP19 Doc.47 on Monday, 21 November, in Committee II. On Wednesday, 23 November, the US introduced CoP19 Com.II.10, prepared on the basis of CoP19 Doc.47.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the document.

Outcome: The CoP directs the SC, in close collaboration with AC and PC, to continue to discuss trade in products of biotechnology, which might potentially affect international trade in CITES-listed specimens in a way that would threaten their survival, including enforcement of CITES provisions. The Committee’s discussion shall consider the need for new guidance material or updates to existing guidance material on the following issues, in relation to trade in specimens produced through biotechnology.

Definition of the term “appropriate and acceptable destinations”: The SC Chair introduced CoP19 Doc.48 on Thursday, 16 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the document.

Outcome: The CoP directs:

  • the Secretariat to issue a Notification within 90 days of the close of CoP19, inviting feedback on experience with using the guidance contained in Notification to the Parties No. 2019/070 on non-binding guidance for determining whether a proposed recipient of a living specimen is suitably equipped to house and care for it, as well as the information provided on the CITES webpage “Appropriate and acceptable destinations”;
  • the AC to review the report from the Secretariat and make recommendations, as appropriate, for consideration by the SC; and
  • the SC to review the report from the Secretariat and any comments and recommendations coming from the AC on feedback from parties and make recommendations for consideration by CoP20.

Introduction from the sea: CANADA introduced CoP19 Doc.49 on Monday, 21 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP agreed the draft decisions in CoP19 Doc.49, as amended by ISRAEL, the EU, TANZANIA, and SEA SHEPHERD LEGAL, and agreed to delete Decisions 17.181, 18.157, and 18.158.

Outcome: The CoP directs:

  • the Secretariat to monitor 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) and report to the SC the results and make recommendations regarding interactions between CITES and this instrument; and
  • the SC to review intersessionally the 10 questions most frequently asked on CITES trade from areas beyond national jurisdiction: and the responses prepared by the Secretariat and provide recommendations to CoP20.

Disposal of confiscated specimens: The SC Chair introduced CoP19 Doc.50 on Wednesday, 23 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the draft decisions in Annex 1 to CoP19 Doc.50 with the additional draft decision proposed by the US and agreed to delete Decisions 18.159 to 18.164.

Outcome: The CoP directs the SC to review Question 7 of the “Decision Tree Analysis – Captivity” in Annex 1 of Resolution Conf. 17.8 with attention to ensuring there are no grounds for concern that any transfer of Appendix I species will stimulate further illegal or irregular trade or benefit those involved in the illegal or irregular transaction that gave rise to confiscation, and recommend revisions to CoP20.

Quotas for leopard (Panthera pardus) hunting trophies: The AC Chair presented CoP19 Doc.51 on Wednesday, 23 November, in Committee I.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the SC proposed amendments to paragraph 1 a) of Resolution Conf. 10.14 (Rev. CoP16) and the existing decisions, including the amendment proposed by the EU to Decision 18.166.

Outcome: The CoP directs parties that have quotas for leopard hunting trophies to exchange information and lessons learned regarding the process for determining that such quotas are non-detrimental to the survival of the species in the wild.

Transport of live specimens: improving implementation of the transport regulations: The US introduced CoP19 Doc.52. on Tuesday, 22 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the draft decisions in Annex 1 to CoP19 Doc.52 with the amendment proposed by the EU to draft decision 19.BB; and the amendments to Resolution Conf. 10.21 (Rev. CoP16), with the amendment proposed by the UK in the new sixth operative paragraph.

Outcome: The CoP encourages parties to minimize the risk of injury, damage to health, or cruel treatment for live CITES-listed specimens by taking measures to transport these specimens during the domestic portions of international CITES transports according to the transport standards provided by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Live Animal Regulations, IATA Perishable Cargo Regulations, and the CITES Guidelines for the Non-air Transport of Live Animals and Plants.

Exemptions and special trade provisions: Review of CITES provisions related to trade in specimens of animals and plants not of wild source: On Wednesday, 23 November, in Committee II, the SC Chair introduced CoP19 Doc.53, noting some of the AC work was not fulfilled and therefore requesting work to continue intersessionally.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP agreed to the draft decisions in Annex 2, with the addition by the US, and to delete Decision 18.172 and 18.173.

Outcome: The CoP directs the SC, in consultation with the AC and PC, to develop specific terms of reference, including modus operandi and a roadmap, as appropriate, to guide the continuation of the review of trade in specimens of both CITES-listed animals and plants not of wild source.

Review of the provisions of Resolution Conf. 17.7 on review of trade in animal specimens reported as produced in captivity: The AC Chair introduced CoP19 Doc.54 on Tuesday, 15 November, in Committee I.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the draft amendments to Resolution Conf. 17.7 (Rev. CoP18) on the Review of trade in animal specimens reported as produced in captivity with the amendment to paragraph b) proposed by CHINA, the amendment to paragraph a) v) proposed by CANADA and the UK, and to criterion iii) proposed by UNEP-WCMC. The CoP also adopted the draft decisions in Annex 2 of CoP19 Doc.54 and agreed to delete Decisions 18.176 and 18.177.

Outcome: The CoP calls on the Secretariat to compile any other relevant information made available to it with respect to concerns about captive production, including any cases justified with supporting documented evidence or identified from the Review of Significant Trade under Resolution Conf. 12.8 (Rev. CoP18) on Review of Significant Trade in specimens of Appendix-II species, or available in relevant reports, including the global conservation status by species published in the IUCN Red List of threatened species or noted as not evaluated.

Registration of operations that breed Appendix I animal species in captivity for commercial purposes: The US introduced CoP19 Doc.55 on Tuesday, 22 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP agreed to the draft decision by CANADA, as amended by the Chair.

Outcome: The CoP directs the SC to review the application of Resolution Conf 12.10 (Rev. CoP15) on registration of operations that breed Appendix-I animal species in captivity for commercial purposes, for situations where there is a change in the nature of the operation, or in the types of products being produced for export, and other matters raised, and provide its recommendations to CoP20.

Guidance on the term “artificially propagated”: AUSTRALIA introduced CoP19 Doc.56 on Wednesday, 23 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the draft decisions amended by the Secretariat with further amendments by AUSTRALIA. The CoP also agreed to delete Decision 18.178.

Outcome: The CoP directs the Secretariat to review the existing guidance materials, specifically the guide to the application of CITES source codes, to ensure alignment with a finalized version of the preliminary guidance on terms related to the artificial propagation of CITES regulated plants, and report its findings to the PC.

Specimens grown from wild-collected seeds or spores that are deemed to be artificially propagated: AUSTRALIA introduced document CoP19 Doc.57 on Wednesday, 23 November, in Committee II.

Outcome: On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP agreed to delete Decisions 18.179, 18.180 and 18.181.

Species Specific Matters

West African vultures (Accipitridae spp.): The Secretariat introduced CoP19 Doc.58 on Tuesday, 22 November, in Committee I. On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted draft decisions 19.AA to 19.EE contained in Annex 1 to CoP19 Doc.58 with the amendment to paragraph a) of draft decision 19.BB made by the Secretariat and the deletion of Decisions 18.186 to 18.192.

Outcome: The CoP directs parties, West African range states, and relevant intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to: collaborate in the conservation and restoration of West African vultures and support the implementation of the CMS Multi-species Action Plan to Conserve African-Eurasian Vultures 2017-2029.

Illegal trade in cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus): ETHIOPIA presented CoP19 Doc.59 on Monday, 21 November, in Committee II. On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the document.

Outcome: The CoP directs:

  • parties affected by illegal trade in cheetahs to report to the Secretariat in advance of SC78;
  • the Secretariat to report at SC78; and
  • the SC to consider the report of the Secretariat, and any relevant outcomes from the CITES Big Cats Task Force specific to the conservation of and illegal trade in cheetahs, and develop recommendations for consideration at CoP20.

Conservation of amphibians (Amphibia spp.): The AC Chair presented CoP19 Doc.60 on Tuesday, 22 November, in Committee I.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted draft decisions 19.AA to 19.CC in Annex 1 of CoP19 Doc.60 and agreed to the deletion of Decisions 18.194 to 18.196.

Outcome: The CoP directs:

  • the Secretariat to conduct one or more interdisciplinary workshops for CITES Authorities and other relevant authorities and stakeholders about amphibian species in international trade;
  • the AC to consider the report of the workshop; and
  • the SC to develop recommendations for CoP20 accordingly.

Eels (Anguilla spp.): The AC Chair introduced CoP19 Doc.61 on Tuesday, 15 November, in Committee I.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the document as amended by CoP19 Com.1.1, prepared by the Secretariat on the basis of document CoP19 Doc.61.

Outcome: The CoP directs:

  • range states of European eel, transit, and importing parties to strengthen coordination to improve traceability and effective enforcement measures for trade in Anguilla spp.;
  • the Secretariat to issue a notification inviting range states, transit, and importing parties to submit to the Secretariat information on the implementation of the above decision; and
  • the SC to consider the report prepared by the Secretariat and any other available information relating to illegal trade in European eel and make recommendations as appropriate.

Agarwood-producing taxa (Aquilaria spp. and Gyrinops spp.): The PC Chair introduced CoP19 Doc.62.1 and 62.2 (Rev.1) on Wednesday, 16 November, in Committee I.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the document as amended by CoP19 Com.I.10, prepared by the Secretariat on the basis of CoP19 Docs.62.1 and 62.2.

Outcome: The CoP directs the PC to consider potential revisions to Resolution Conf. 16.10 on Implementation of the Convention for agarwood-producing taxa.

Boswellia trees (Boswellia spp.): The PC Chair introduced CoP19 Doc.63 on Wednesday, 16 November, in Committee I.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the document as amended by CoP19 Com.I.11, prepared by the Secretariat on the basis of CoP19 Doc.63.

Outcome: The CoP directs the PC to identify meetings or other venues that might provide opportunities to collaborate or share information regarding harvest and management of these species.

Marine turtles (Cheloniidae spp. and Dermochelyidae spp.): The Secretariat introduced CoP19 Doc.64.1 (Rev.1) and the US introduced Doc.64.2 on Tuesday, 15 November, in Committee I.

On Tuesday, 22 November, the Committee I Chair asked for comments on CoP19 Com.I.4, prepared by the working group on marine turtles on the basis of CoP19 Docs.64.1 and 64.2.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the document.

Outcome: The CoP directs the SC to review the study contained in document CoP18 Inf.18. In the draft resolution on Conservation of and trade in marine turtles, the CoP further recommends:

  • parties affected by illegal trade in marine turtles take action to decrease consumer demand for illegal marine turtle parts, products, and other derivatives; and
  • parties address the illegal trade in marine turtles by working with fisheries communities and fisheries bodies to ensure effective fisheries management measures are in place, and capture in fisheries is not undermining efforts to tackle the illegal trade.

Sharks and rays (Elasmobranchii spp): NEW ZEALAND introduced CoP19 Doc.65 on Wednesday, 16 November, in Committee I.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the document as amended by CoP19 Com.I.8, prepared by the working group on sharks and rays on the basis of document CoP19 Doc.65.

Outcome: The CoP directs:

  • parties to seek external funding for a dedicated marine species officer and consider seconding staff members with expertise in fisheries and the sustainable management of aquatic resources to the Secretariat;
  • the Secretariat to conduct a further study to look into the apparent mismatch between the trade in products of CITES-listed sharks recorded in the CITES Trade Database and what would be expected against the information available on catches of listed species, building on the study entitled “Missing sharks: A country review of catch, trade and management recommendations for CITES- listed shark species,” and share both studies to resolve this issue to the AC and SC; and
  • the SC to prepare a report with any necessary recommendations for improving the implementation of the Convention for sharks and rays for consideration by CoP20.

Elephants (Elephantidae spp.): Implementation of Resolution Conf. 10.10 (Rev. CoP17) on trade in elephant specimens: The Secretariat introduced CoP19 Doc.66.1 on Thursday, 17 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the revisions of Decisions 18.117 and 18.119 in Annex 1 to CoP19 Doc.66.1 and Decision 18.118. The CoP adopted the decisions in Annex 2 with the amendments proposed by the Secretariat. The CoP also accepted the decisions in Annex 3 with amendments to Decision 18.226 (Rev. CoP19) to direct the decision to parties and not only the Asian elephant range states, and amendments to draft decisions 19.AA and 19.BB.

Outcome: The CoP directs:

  • the Secretariat, in collaboration with range states and other relevant stakeholders to develop requirements for registering, marking, and tracing system for live Asian elephants; and
  • the SC to consider at SC78, findings and make recommendations to the Secretariat and to parties and report to CoP20.

Ivory stockpiles: Implementation of Resolution Conf.10.10 (Rev.CoP18) on Trade in elephant specimens: BURKINA FASO introduced CoP19 Doc.66.2.1 on Friday, 18 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted draft decisions 19.AA, 19.BB, and 19.CC, as amended by the Secretariat.

Outcome: The CoP directs parties to comply with the provisions of paragraph 7 e) of Resolution Conf. 10.10 (Rev. CoP18) on trade in elephant specimens concerning reporting on stockpile inventories to ensure the required information is submitted to the Secretariat every year.

Establishing a fund accessible to range states upon noncommercial disposal of ivory stockpiles: KENYA introduced CoP19 Doc.66.2.2 on Friday, 18 November, in Committee II.

On Wednesday, 23 November, KENYA introduced CoP19 Com.II.9 incorporating inputs from the US and views from the Secretariat based on CoP19 Doc.66.2.2, which aims to establish an intersessional working group on sustainable financing for elephant and other wildlife conservation.

Outcome: On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP rejected the draft decisions in CoP19 Com.II.9. KENYA made a statement concerning its intentions to carry the work proposed in CoP19 Doc.66.2.2 forward outside CITES.

Implementing aspects of Resolution Conf. 10.10 (Rev. CoP18) on the closure of domestic ivory markets: BURKINA FASO introduced CoP19 Doc.66.3 on Thursday, 16 November, in Committee II.

BURKINA FASO proposed two new draft decisions. MALI seconded BURKINA FASO’s proposal to reopen the debate. JAPAN and ZIMBABWE opposed it.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP voted on whether to reopen debate, requiring a third in favor for adoption. With 28 in favor, 40 against, and 57 abstaining, the agenda item was reopened. BENIN, NIGER, and SENEGAL supported the new draft decisions proposed by BURKINA FASO. ZAMBIA, JAPAN, BOTSWANA, and THAILAND opposed them.

The CoP voted on the two new draft decisions proposed by BURKINA FASO. With 69 in favor, 27 opposed, and 34 abstaining, the two draft decisions passed. The CoP adopted also draft decision 19.DD as amended by the Secretariat.

Outcome: The CoP directs the Secretariat to engage the MIKE and ETIS Technical Advisory Group and TRAFFIC to advise whether an analysis of ivory seizures connected to each party with a legal domestic market for commercial trade in ivory could be undertaken and, if feasible, carry out the analysis and include the results in the ETIS report to the SC at its 77th and 78th meetings, and to CoP20.

International trade in live African elephant specimens: Proposed revision to Resolution Conf. 10.10 (Rev. CoP18) on trade in elephant specimens and clarifying the framework: Proposal of the European Union: CoP19 Doc.66.4.1, introduced by BURKINA FASO, and CoP19 Doc.66.4.2, introduced by the EU, were considered together on Thursday, 17 November, and Friday, 18 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP rejected the proposal to amend Resolution Conf. 10.10 (Rev. CoP18) in CoP19 Doc.66.4.1 and agreed that the draft decision 19.AA a) and b) in document CoP19 Doc.66.4.2 are linked to discussions relating to document CoP19 Doc.88 and will be addressed in draft decisions to be considered under item 88. The CoP agreed to paragraph c) of draft decision 19.AA in Annex 1 to CoP19 Doc.66.4.2 as amended.

Outcome: The CoP directs:

  • the SC to call a CITES dialogue meeting, as per Resolution Conf. 14.5, for African elephant range states to consider a harmonization of the conditions for trade in live African elephants and propose relevant changes to resolutions to CoP20 as well as relevant changes to annotation 2, including changes to streamline and simplify the annotation; and recommend other parties, the CITES Secretariat, and technical experts to participate in the meeting in accordance with the annex to Resolution Conf. 14.5 on dialogue meetings; and
  • parties to agree that while the process for the dialogue meeting is under way, any export of live wild-caught African elephants will be limited to in situ conservation programmes or secure areas in the wild, within the species’ natural and historical range in Africa, except in exceptional circumstances where, in consultation with the AC, through its Chair with the support of the Secretariat, and in consultation with the IUCN African elephant specialist group, it is considered that a transfer to ex situ locations will provide demonstrable in situ conservation benefits for African elephants, or in the case of temporary transfers in emergency situations.

MIKE: The Secretariat introduced CoP19 Doc.66.5 on Wednesday, 16 November, in Committee II.

Outcome: On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP noted the document.

Report on the Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS): The Secretariat introduced CoP19 Doc.66.6 on Thursday, 16 November, in Committee II.

Outcome: On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP noted the document.

Review of the National Ivory Action Plan (NIAP) process: MALAWI introduced CoP19 Doc.66.7 on Thursday, 16 November, in Committee II.

On Wednesday, 23 November, BELGIUM introduced CoP19 Com.II.7 prepared by the working group on the basis of CoP19 Doc.66.7.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the document.

Outcome: The CoP directs:

  • the Secretariat to contract a consultant to conduct a review of the NIAP; and
  • SC77 to review the consultant’s report and determine if further evaluation of the NIAP is needed and if so, outline any elements requiring further evaluation and direct the Secretariat to undertake the additional tasks as necessary and provide a report to SC78.

CITES Big Cats Task Force (Felidae spp.): CANADA presented CoP19 Doc.67 on Monday, 21 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted draft decisions 19.AA and 19.BB in Annex 1 of CoP19 Doc.67 with amendments proposed by the UK

Outcome: The CoP directs:

  • the Secretariat to establish and convene the CITES Big Cats Task Force in accordance with the terms of reference and modus operandi agreed by the SC as presented in Annex 2 to document CoP19 Doc.67; and provide support to the Task Force allowing it to effectively carry out its mandate, as stated in the terms of reference; and
  • the SC to publish information generated by the Big Cat Task Force on the CITES website to keep relevant stakeholders informed and support the development of appropriate measures by source, transit, and destination countries.

Asian big cats (Felidae spp.): The Secretariat introduced CoP19 Doc.68 (Rev.1) on Monday, 21 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted proposed amendments to Resolution Conf. 12.5 (Rev. CoP18) presented in Annex 1 of CoP19 Doc.68, and the draft decisions contained in Annex 2 of the document, as amended by the EU and the UK. The CoP agreed to retain Decisions 18.100, 18.101, 18.105, 18.106 and 18.107, noting that minor amendments would be needed to ensure that they refer to current decisions. The CoP also agreed to delete Decisions 17.226 and 18.104.

Outcome: The CoP directs parties to inform the Secretariat of genetic forensic research projects, including genetic and other methods, undertaken in their territory focusing on the development of techniques to support addressing illegal trade in Asian big cat specimens, and for this information to be made available to parties.

In the resolution, the CoP recommends that the consumer states of specimens from the tiger and other Asian big cat species: work with relevant specialists such as those in consumer behavior change to end demand for big cat parts and derivatives; and social marketing and communication experts, to undertake evidence based targeted behavior change initiatives, including establishing baselines and strong monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to assess its efficacy.

Seahorses (Hippocampus spp.): CoP19 Doc.69.1 and 69.2 were considered together on Monday, 21 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the merged documents and agreed to delete Decisions 18.228 to 18.233.

Outcome: The CoP directs:

  • the Secretariat to collaborate with parties and species experts to prepare a report on the global illegal trade in seahorses, for consideration by the SC; and
  • parties to effectively implement the inclusion of seahorses in Appendix II of CITES.

Rosewood timber species (Leguminosae (Fabaceae)): The PC Chair introduced CoP19 Doc.70 related to CITES-listed rosewood tree species on Wednesday, 16 November, in Committee I.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the document, as amended by CoP19 Com.I.2, prepared by the US on the basis of CoP19 Doc.70.

Outcome: The CoP directs:

  • the Secretariat to compile and submit for consideration of PC an overview and status of work completed, underway, or to be undertaken as a result of CoP19 to improve CITES implementation for rosewood tree species; and in consultation with the PC, develop the terms of reference for a study on rosewood tree species;
  • the PC to collaborate with the Secretariat in the implementation of the decision above; and
  • the SC to make recommendations aimed at improving the implementation, interpretation, and enforcement of the Convention for rosewood tree species to the CoP.

Pangolins (Manis spp.): CoP19 Doc.71.1 and 71.2 were considered together on Monday, 21 November, in Committee II.

On Wednesday, 23 November, the UK presented CoP19 Com.II.8, prepared by the Secretariat on the basis of CoP19 Docs.71.1 and 71.2, tabling a compromise package separate from the document, to be adopted by consensus.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the document.

Outcome: In the revised Resolution Conf.17.10 on Conservation of and trade in pangolins, the CoP urges parties, especially range, transit, and consumer states, to ensure strict enforcement controls to address illegal trade in pangolin specimens including by applying a range of tools such as anti-money laundering approaches, forensic analytical techniques, intelligence-led enforcement, and working with online platform and transportation companies, and, as a matter of priority, strengthen enforcement efforts in key border regions, and develop, support, and/or improve implementation of regional enforcement networks where possible.

African lions (Panthera leo): The Secretariat introduced CoP19 Doc.72 on Tuesday, 22 November, in Committee I.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the draft decisions in Annex 1 to CoP19 Doc.72 with the new draft decision proposed by the US and agreed to the deletion of Decisions 18.244, 18.246, 18.247, 18.249 and 18.250.

Outcome: The CoP directs the Secretariat to share relevant information generated through the implementation of Decision 19.DD with the CITES Big Cats Task Force and the SC; and report on the implementation of the previous Decision 18.246 to AC32.

Jaguars (Panthera onca): CANADA introduced CoP19 Docs.73.1 and 73.2 on Monday, 21 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the draft decisions in CoP19 Doc.73.2, as amended by the Secretariat and BOLIVIA, with the deletion of paragraph a) of draft decision19.DD and the deletion of Decisions 18.252 to 18.253.

Outcome: The CoP directs:

  • parties, especially those that are range states of the jaguar, and relevant stakeholders, to recognize the jaguar as the flagship species of its range countries so that the protection and conservation of the species and its habitat becomes a joint priority due to its ecological significance;
  • the Secretariat to cooperate with CMS and the Coordination Committee for the 2030 Jaguar Conservation Roadmap for the Americas led by the UN Development Programme with a view to develop a 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, including engagement of IPLCs in the monitoring and gender-based approaches, as appropriate.

Songbird trade and conservation management (Passeriformes spp.): The AC Chair introduced CoP19 Doc.74 on Tuesday, 22 November, in Committee I.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the revision of Decisions 18.256 to 18.259 as presented in Annex 1 to CoP19 Doc.74.

Outcome: The CoP directs:

  • the Secretariat, within 12 months of the conclusion of CoP19, to commission a preliminary study on the scale and scope of international songbird trade;
  • the AC to review the results of the study, with the recommendations of the Secretariat; and
  • the SC to consider the recommendations AC and make its own recommendations to COP20.

Rhinoceroses (Rhinocerotidae spp.): The Secretariat introduced CoP19 Doc.75 (Rev.1) on Monday, 21 November, in Committee II.

On Wednesday, 23 November, the UK introduced CoP19 Com.II.12, prepared by the working group on the basis of CoP19 Doc.75 (Rev.1).

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the document.

Outcome: The CoP:

  • directs Botswana and South Africa to review trends associated with the illegal killing of rhinoceroses and illegal trade in rhinoceros’ specimens affecting them;
  • directs China (including Hong Kong SAR of China), Mozambique, South Africa, and Viet Nam to further strengthen their engagement, undertaking joint operations and further strengthening information and intelligence exchange;
  • encourages Malaysia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates to scale up their collaboration with parties known to be associated with illegal rhinoceros specimens transiting their territories, and to review their risk management practices; and
  • directs the SC to consider the report of the Secretariat and make recommendations to CoP20.

Saiga antelope (Saiga spp.): The AC Chair presented CoP19 Doc.76 on Tuesday, 22 November, in Committee I.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the draft decisions in Annex 1 to CoP19 Doc.76 and agreed to delete Decisions 18.270 to 18.274.

Outcome: The CoP directs:

  • the Secretariat to consult Saiga range states and major trading and consumer states concerning their management of stockpiles of saiga specimens; review processes and practices; and upon request by a party, provide assistance in ensuring effective stockpile management and monitoring, including the development of inventories and strengthening stockpile security;
  • the SC to consider any findings and recommendations submitted by the AC and the Secretariat, and make any necessary recommendations as necessary for improving the implementation of the Convention for Saiga antelope to range states, parties, and the Secretariat, and for consideration by CoP20.

Queen conch (Strombus gigas): The Secretariat introduced CoP19 Doc.77 on Tuesday, 15 November, in Committee I.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the draft revised decisions in Annex 1 to CoP19 Doc.77, while retaining paragraph b) of Decision 19.BB.

Outcome: The CoP directs the Secretariat to continue to collaborate with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and other relevant international organizations, and to provide assistance to range states on relevant enforcement issues and report new developments in this regard to the SC.

Tortoises and freshwater turtles (Testudines spp.): The Secretariat introduced CoP19 Doc.78 on Wednesday, 23 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the draft decisions 19.CC, 19.EE, and 19.FF, proposed by the US and the EU, with all references to AC33 amended to AC34, and agreed to delete Decisions 18.226 to 18.291 as they had been implemented.

Outcome: The CoP directs:

  • Madagascar to prepare a comprehensive conservation strategy for its four critically endangered species, taking into consideration the multifaceted threats of collection for local consumption and international trade compounded by habitat loss; and present the work prepared to AC33;
  • AC33 to review the conservation strategy reported by Madagascar and submit recommendations to the SC and Secretariat; and
  • the SC to consider the recommendations provided by the AC and prepare new decisions directed to Madagascar outlining future work to combat the ongoing threats of illegal collection and trade of the four species.

African tree species: The PC Chair introduced CoP19 Doc.79 on Wednesday, 16 November, in Committee I.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the draft decisions in the document with US amendments, and supported the deletion of Decisions 17.302 and 18.260 to 18.262.

Outcome: The CoP directs:

  • the PC to update the list of African tree species and associated CITES processes; and
  • Secretariat to assist, upon request of the PC, in the implementation of the request.

Marine ornamental fishes: Switzerland introduced CoP19 Doc.80 on Wednesday, 16 November, in Committee I.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the draft decisions presented in Annex 1 to CoP19 Doc.80 with the amendment by the UK. The CoP also agreed to delete Decisions 18.263 to 18.265 and 18.296 to 18.298.

Outcome: The CoP directs:

  • the AC to agree on Terms of Reference for the technical workshop;
  • the Secretariat to convene a technical workshop to consider the conservation priorities and management needs related to the trade in non-CITES listed marine ornamental fishes worldwide, with a particular focus on data from importing and exporting countries; and
  • the AC to consider the results of the workshop and make recommendations to CoP20.

Neotropical tree species: The PC Chair introduced CoP19 Doc.81 on Wednesday, 16 November, in Committee I.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the draft decisions presented in Annex 1 to CoP19 Doc.81 with the amendment to draft decision 19.AA proposed by the US. The CoP also agreed to delete Decision 18.299.

Outcome: The CoP directs the PC to update the list of neotropical tree species and the related CITES processes included in the annex to document PC25 Doc.29, taking into consideration the recommendations included in document PC25 Doc.29, addenda, and the outcomes of CoP19.

Trade in medicinal and aromatic plant species: The PC Chair introduced CoP19 Doc.82 on Wednesday, 16 November, in Committee I.

On Tuesday, 22 November, the Committee I Chair asked for comments on CoP19 Com.I.3, prepared by the drafting group on medicinal and aromatic plant species on the basis of document CoP19 Doc.82.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the document.

Outcome: The CoP directs:

  • the Secretariat, in close collaboration with the PC, to publish a notification inviting parties to share information materials that have been developed to enhance awareness of CITES regulations and to encourage sustainable use and legal trade in CITES-listed medicinal and aromatic plants; and
  • parties to support the above initiative.

Identifying species at risk of extinction for CITES Parties: NIGERIA introduced CoP19 Doc.83 on Tuesday, 15 November, in Committee I.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the document as amended by CoP19 Com.I.5, prepared by NIGER, in consultation with the UK and US on potential revised decisions on a strategic approach to identifying species at risk of extinction affected by international trade for CITES listing proposals on the basis of CoP19 Doc.83.

Outcome: The CoP directs:

  • the SC, in collaboration with the AC and PC, to consider under Resolution Conf. 3.4 on technical cooperation how to provide parties with regularly-updated information from any relevant studies, analyses, or other sources on the identification of species at risk of extinction that are not yet protected under CITES or receive insufficient CITES protection and that are or may be affected by international trade; and
  • the Secretariat to support the AC, PC, and SC in the tasks above.

Maintenance of the Appendices: Standard nomenclature: Ronell Renett Klopper, PC Nomenclature Specialist (South Africa), summarized the report as related to flora, in CoP19 Doc.84.1 and Peter Paul Van Dijk, AC Nomenclature Specialist (US), summarized the report as related to fauna in the same document on Wednesday, 16 November, in Committee I.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the document as amended by CoP19 Com.I.9 prepared by the Secretariat on the basis of document CoP19 Doc.84.1.

Outcome: The CoP directs the AC and PC, through their respective nomenclature specialists, to participate in the initiative of the International Union of Biological Sciences to develop a standardized global checklist of species, and report on progress to CoP20.

Standard nomenclature for Dipteryx spp.: The EU introduced CoP19 Doc.84.2 on Thursday, 17 November, in Committee I.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted draft decision 19.AA in CoP19 Doc.84.2, as amended by the Secretariat and the standard nomenclatural reference cited by the US.

Outcome: The CoP adopted “Carvalho, C.S., de Fraga, N.C., Cardoso, D.B.O.S. and Lima, H.C. 2020. Tonka, baru and cumaru: Nomenclatural overview, typification and updated checklist” of Dipteryx (Leguminosae) as the standard nomenclatural reference for Dipteryx species.

Standard Nomenclature for Khaya spp.: The EU presented CoP19 Doc.84.3 on Thursday, 17 November, in Committee I.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the amended standard nomenclatural reference and the draft decision in document CoP19 Doc.84.3, as amended by the Secretariat.

Outcome: The CoP directs the PC, with support of the Secretariat, to consider and evaluate the nomenclatural issues related to Khaya spp., and identify a suitable standard nomenclatural reference for amendment of the annex to Resolution Conf. 12.11 (Rev. CoP18) on standard nomenclature.

Standard Nomenclature for Rhodiola spp.: The EU presented CoP19 Doc.84.4 requesting the PC to consider the nomenclature issues related to Rhodiola spp. on Tuesday, 22 November, in Committee I. On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted draft decision 19.AA in CoP19 Doc 84.4.

Outcome: The CoP directs the PC to consider and evaluate the nomenclatural issues related to Rhodiola spp., and identify a suitable standard nomenclatural reference for amendment of the annex to Resolution. Conf. 12.11 on standard nomenclature.

Annotations: CoP19 Doc.85.1 was discussed on Tuesday, 15 November, and Thursday, 17 November, in Committee I.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the document as amended by CoP19 Com.I.12, prepared by the Secretariat on the basis of CoP19 Doc.85.

Outcome: The CoP directs the SC to re-establish the working group on annotations, in close collaboration with the AC and PC.

Information system for trade in specimens of CITES-listed tree species: The Secretariat introduced CoP19 Doc.85.2 on Tuesday, 15 November, in Committee I.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the two draft decisions presented in Annex 1 to CoP19 Doc.85.2 with the amendments to draft decision 18.317 (Rev. CoP19) proposed by the Committee Chair.

Outcome: The CoP directs the SC, in consultation with the PC, to explore the feasibility and requirements for developing an information system, subject to agreed terms of reference.

Informal review mechanism of existing and proposed annotations: The Secretariat introduced CoP19 Doc.85.3 on Tuesday, 15 November, in Committee I.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted two draft decisions in Annex 1 to CoP19 Doc.85.3 with the amended wording to draft decision 19.BB proposed by the US and the Committee I Chair. The CoP also agreed to delete Decisions 18.316, 18.318, 18.319, and 18.320.

Outcome: The CoP directs the SC, in consultation with the AC and PC, to evaluate the Secretariat’s proposal for an informal review mechanism for existing and proposed annotations and submit any relevant recommendations to CoP20.

Products containing specimens of Appendix-II orchids: AUSTRALIA introduced CoP19 Doc.86 on Wednesday, 23 November, in Committee II.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the amended draft decisions in Annex I of the document.

Outcome: The CoP directs:

  • the Secretariat to submit the outcomes of the study on international trade in edible orchids for the consideration of the SC together with recommendations on how the Convention can be better implemented for the species concerned; and
  • the PC to consider the study, and make recommendations on how to improve CITES implementation for Appendix-II listed orchids to the SC or to the CoP.

Proposed amendments to Resolution Conf. 9.24 (Rev. CoP17): NAMIBIA introduced CoP19 Doc.87.1 on Tuesday, 22 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP rejected the proposal in CoP19 Doc.87.1 to amend Resolution Conf. 9.24 (Rev. CoP18) on criteria for amendment of Appendices I and II to incorporate livelihoods and food security in the criteria for amending the Appendices.

Aquatic species listed in the CITES Appendices: Proposals for a new approach to the listing of sharks and rays: SENEGAL introduced CoP19 Doc.87.2 on Tuesday, 15 November, in Committee I. On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the document as amended by CoP19 Com. I.7 prepared by the working group on aquatic species listed in the CITES Appendices on the basis of document CoP19 Doc.87.2

Outcome: The CoP directs the Secretariat to convene a technical workshop to consider the application of Resolution Conf. 9.24 (Rev. CoP17) and its footnote 2, with regards to relevant commercially exploited Elasmobranchii and other aquatic species.

Communications concerning amendments to the Appendices received by the Depositary Government after the 18th meeting of the Conference of the Parties: The Secretariat introduced CoP19 Doc.88 on Tuesday, 15 November, in Committee II.

On Tuesday, 22 November, BELGIUM reported back on CoP19 Com.II.4, prepared on the basis of CoP19 Doc.88 and information document CoP19 Inf.17 (Rev.1).

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP adopted the document.

Outcome: The CoP agreed to amendments in: Resolution Conf. 11.21 (Rev. CoP189) on use of annotations in Appendices I and II; and Resolution 4.25 (Rev. CoP189) on reservations.

Proposals to Amend the Appendices

Committee I considered proposals to amend the Appendices from Thursday, 17 November, through Wednesday, 23 November. The CoP took up these proposals on Thursday and Friday, 24-25 November.

Hippos (Hippopotamus amphibius): BENIN presented CoP19 Prop.1 on transfer of hippopotamus (H. amphibius) from Appendix II to Appendix I with a zero export quota annotation. This proposal was discussed Friday, 18 November, in Committee I.

On Thursday, 24 November, the CoP introduced CoP19 Prop.1 (Rev.1) to retain the hippo on Appendix II with a zero export quota. TOGO motioned to reopen the debate. BOTSWANA and TANZANIA opposed the motion. The motion was approved, with 44 in favor, 37 against, and 48 abstaining.

The EU agreed that improved conservation measures are needed, but that trade restrictions could have negative consequences for the conservation of the species. SOUTH AFRICA and DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO emphasized that their hippo populations are not impacted by trade. TOGO asked for a vote.

Outcome: The CoP rejected the proposal, with 53 in favor, 58 against, and 21 abstaining.

Southern White Rhinos (Ceratotherium simum simum): NAMIBIA introduced CoP19 Prop.2 to transfer the Namibian population of southern white rhinoceros (C. simum simum) from Appendix I to Appendix II, with an annotation to allow international trade exclusively in live animals for in-situ conservation and in hunting trophies. This proposal was discussed Monday, 21 November, in Committee I, where the EU supported allowing trade in live animals for in-situ conservation purposes, but only within the species’ natural and historical range in Africa, and did not support allowing international trade in hunting trophies. The proponents agreed to the EU’s amendments.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal with the EU’s suggested amendments.

Eswatini’s Southern White Rhinos (C. simum simum): ESWATINI presented the amended CoP19 Prop.3 to remove the existing annotation on the Appendix II listing of Eswatini’s southern white rhino, so as to enable Eswatini to realize full Appendix II status for its population. This proposal was discussed Monday, 21 November, in Committee I. Committee I rejected the proposal with 85 votes against, 15 for, and 26 abstentions.

Outcome: The CoP rejected the proposal.

African Elephants (Loxodonta Africana): ZIMBABWE introduced CoP19 Prop.4 to amend the annotation for the Appendix II listing of elephant populations (L. africana) in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. This proposal was discussed on Friday, 18 November, in Committee I.

On Friday, 25 November, the CoP resumed debate on a proposal by ZIMBABWE to change Annotation 2.e to allow Zimbabwe to resume trade in leather goods for commercial and noncommercial purposes.

ISRAEL, SENEGAL, TOGO, GABON, MALI, PANAMA, CONGO, and many other parties opposed the amended proposal. DEMOCRACTIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO, BOTSWANA, ZAMBIA, NAMIBIA, and SOUTH AFRICA supported it.

Outcome: The CoP rejected the proposal as amended by ZIMBABWE, with 53 for, 48 against, and 32 abstained, as the two-thirds majority was not achieved.

African Elephants (L. Africana): BURKINA FASO introduced CoP19 Prop.5 to include all populations of African elephants (L. africana) in Appendix I through the transfer from Appendix II to Appendix I of the populations of Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. This proposal was discussed on Friday, 18 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP rejected the proposal.

Mexican Prairie Dog (Cynomys mexicanus): MEXICO presented CoP19 Prop.6 for the transfer of Mexican prairie dog (C. mexicanus) from Appendix I to Appendix II, noting that the species has recovered. This proposal was discussed Monday, 21 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal.

Aleutian cackling goose (Branta canadensis leucopareia): The US introduced CoP19 Prop.7 to transfer the Aleutian cackling goose (B. canadensis leucopareia) from Appendix I to Appendix II following the Periodic Review process, highlighting its “remarkable recovery” after the imposition of extensive conservation measures. This proposal was discussed Monday, 21 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal.

White-rumped shama (Kittacincla malabarica): MALAYSIA and SINGAPORE introduced CoP19 Prop.8 (Rev.1) to include the white-rumped shama (K. malabarica) in Appendix II, highlighting the detrimental volume of international trafficking and illegal trade in this songbird. This proposal was discussed Monday, 21 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the amended proposal.

Straw-headed bulbul (Pycnonutus zeylanicus): SINGAPORE presented CoP19 Prop.9 (Rev.1) to transfer the straw-headed bulbul (P. zeylanicus) from Appendix II to Appendix I, highlighting that the species has experienced a rapid population decline across Southeast Asia. This proposal was discussed Monday, 21 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the amended proposal.

Short-tailed Albatross (Phoebastria albatrus): The US introduced CoP19 Prop.10 to transfer the short-tailed albatross (P. albatrus) from Appendix I to Appendix II. This proposal was discussed Monday, 21 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal.

Broad-snouted Caimans (Caiman latirostris): BRAZIL introduced CoP19 Prop.11 to downlist the broad-snouted caiman (C. latirostris) of Brazil from Appendix I to Appendix II, amended with an annotation establishing a zero annual export quota for wild specimens traded for commercial purposes. This proposal was discussed Monday, 21 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal.

Saltwater Crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus): The PHILIPPINES introduced CoP19 Prop.12 to transfer the Philippine population of Saltwater crocodiles (C. porosus) in Palawan Islands, Philippines, from Appendix I to Appendix II, amended with a zero annual export quota for wild specimens traded for commercial purposes. This proposal was discussed Monday, 21 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal.

Siamese crocodiles (C. siamensis): THAILAND introduced CoP19 Prop.13 to transfer the Thai population of the Siamese crocodile (C. siamensis) from Appendix I to Appendix II, amended with an annotation for a zero annual export quota for wild specimens traded for commercial purposes. This proposal was discussed Monday, 21 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal.

Indo-Chinese water dragon (Physignathus cocincinus): VIET NAM presented CoP19 Prop.14 to include the Indo-Chinese water dragon (P. cocincinus) in Appendix II. This proposal was discussed Monday, 21 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal.

Jeypore hill gecko (Cyrtodactylus jeyporensis): INDIA presented CoP19 Prop.15 to include Jeypore hill gecko (C. jeyporensis) in Appendix II, highlighting that demand for the species by reptile breeders outside India has increased and that the population is threatened due to habitat loss. This proposal was discussed Monday, 21 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal.

Helmethead Geckos (Tarentola chazaliae): Mauritania presented CoP19 Prop.16 (Rev.1) for the inclusion of helmethead gecko (T. chazaliae), in Appendix II. This proposal was discussed Tuesday, 22 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal.

Desert Horned Lizards (Phrynosoma platyrhinos): The US introduced CoP19 Prop.17 for the inclusion of desert horned lizard (P. platyrhinos) in Appendix II. This proposal was discussed Tuesday, 22 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal.

Horned Lizards (Phrynosoma spp.): MEXICO introduced CoP19 Prop.18 to include horned lizards (Phrynosoma spp.) in CITES Appendix II. This proposal was discussed Tuesday, 22 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal.

Pygmy blue-tongued lizard (Tiliqua adelaidensis): AUSTRALIA introduced CoP19 Prop.19 to include the pygmy blue-tongued lizard (T. adelaidensis) in Appendix I. This proposal was discussed Tuesday, 22 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal.

Puerto Rican boas (Epicrates inornatus): The US introduced CoP19 Prop.20 to transfer the Puerto Rican boa (E. inornatus) from Appendix I to Appendix II following a periodic review. This proposal was discussed Tuesday, 22 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal.

Timber rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus): The US introduced CoP19 Prop.21 to include the timber rattlesnake (C. horridus) in Appendix II. This proposal was discussed Tuesday, 22 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The proposal was withdrawn due to lack of support.

Matamata Turtles (Chelus fimbriata and C. orinocensis): PERU introduced CoP19 Prop.22 to include the Amazon matamata (C. fimbriata) and Orinoco matamata (C. orinocensis) turtles in Appendix II. This proposal was discussed Tuesday, 22 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal.

Snapping Turtles (Chelydridae spp.): The US introduced CoP19 Prop.23 to transfer the alligator snapping turtle (Macrochelys temminckii) and the common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) from Appendix III to Appendix II. This proposal was discussed Tuesday, 22 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal.

Broad-headed map turtles (Graptemys spp.): The US introduced CoP19 Prop.24 to transfer five species of broad-headed map turtles (G. barbouri, G. ernsti, G. gibbonsi, G. pearlensis, and G. pulchra) from Appendix III to Appendix II. This proposal was discussed Tuesday, 22 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal.

Red-crowned roofed turtles (Batagur kachuga): INDIA introduced CoP19 Prop.25 (Rev.1) to transfer the red-crowned roofed turtle (B. kachuga) from Appendix II to Appendix I. This proposal was discussed Tuesday, 22 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the revised proposal.

Box Turtles (Cuora galbinifrons): VIET NAM introduced CoP19 Prop.26 to transfer the Indochinese box turtle (C. galbinifrons) with two non-typical subspecies (C. g. bourreti and C. g. picturata) from Appendix II to Appendix I. This proposal was discussed Tuesday, 22 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal.

Wood Turtles (Rhinoclemmys spp.): On Tuesday, 22 November, COSTA RICA introduced CoP19 Prop.27 for the inclusion of wood turtles (Rhinoclemmys spp.) in Appendix II, highlighting the intrinsic vulnerability of the species in the genus due to slow growth, low reproductive rates and late sexual maturity.

ARGENTINA, BENIN, ECUADOR, GABON, GUATEMALA, NIGER, PERU, SENEGAL, TOGO and URUGUAY supported the proposal. The EU opposed the proposal. Supported by SWITZERLAND and the UK, it suggested that the proponents reduce the scope of the proposal to include the following species only: R. areolata, R. diademata, R. rubida, R. pulcherrima and R. punctularia.

On Wednesday, 23 November, the EU noted that, although it maintained the view that not all species in the genus met the criteria for inclusion in Appendix II, it did not wish to block consensus. Committee I agreed to the proposal.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal.

Narrow-bridged Musk Turtles (Claudius angustatus): MEXICO presented CoP19 Prop.28 for the inclusion of narrow-bridged musk turtle (C. angustatus) in Appendix II. This proposal was discussed Wednesday, 23 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal.

Mud Turtles (Kinosternon spp.): MEXICO introduced CoP19 Prop.29 to include twenty species of mud turtles (Kinosternon spp.) in Appendix II, and the K. cora and K. vogti in Appendix I. This proposal was discussed Wednesday, 23 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal.

Mexican giant musk turtles (Staurotypus triporcatus and S. salvinia): MEXICO introduced CoP19 Prop.30 to include the Mexican giant musk turtle (S. triporcatus) and the Chiapas giant musk turtle (S. salvinii) in Appendix II. This proposal was discussed Wednesday, 23 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal.

Musk Turtle (Sternotherus spp.): The US introduced CoP19 Prop.31 to include all species of musk turtles in the genus Sternotherus spp. in Appendix II. This proposal was discussed Wednesday, 23 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal.

American softshell turtles (Apalone spp.): The US introduced CoP19 Prop.32 to transfer Apalone spp. to Appendix II, with the exception of those subspecies already listed in Appendix I. This proposal was discussed Wednesday, 23 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal.

Leith’s softshell turtle (Nilssonia leithii): INDIA presented CoP19 Prop.33 on the transfer of Leith’s softshell turtle (N. leithii) from Appendix II to Appendix I. This proposal was discussed Wednesday, 23 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal.

Glass Frogs (Centrolenidae spp.): COSTA RICA presented CoP19 Prop.34 for the inclusion of 12 species of glass frogs from the family Centrolenidae in Appendix II. This proposal was discussed Tuesday, 22 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal.

Lemur Leaf Frogs (Agalychnis lemur): PANAMA introduced CoP19 Prop.35 to include the lemur leaf frog (A. lemur) in Appendix II with a zero annual export quota for wild-taken specimens traded for commercial purposes. This proposal was discussed Tuesday, 22 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal.

Laos Warty Newts (Laotriton laoensis): The EU introduced Prop.36 (Rev.1) to list the Laos warty newt (L. laoensis) in Appendix II with a zero export quota for wild-taken specimens traded for commercial purposes. This proposal was discussed on Tuesday, 22 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal.

Requiem Sharks (Carcharhinidae spp.): PANAMA introduced CoP19 Prop.37 to include the requiem shark family (Carcharhinidae spp.) in Appendix II, a total of 54 species, and said proponents had agreed to amend the proposal to allow a 12-month delay before it enters into force. This proposal was discussed Thursday, 17 November, in Committee I.

In plenary on Friday, 25 November, JAPAN expressed its deep concern on the inclusion of blue sharks as lookalike and called it unfair, noting that blue sharks are sustainably harvested, and such a decision impacts the food security of relevant communities. He called on the Secretariat to place his statement on the record.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal.

Hammerhead Sharks (Sphyrnidae spp.): The EU presented CoP19 Prop.38 to include hammerhead shark (Sphyrnidae spp.) in Appendix II. This proposal was discussed Thursday, 17 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal.

Freshwater stingrays (Potamotrygon wallacei and P. leopoldi): BRAZIL introduced CoP19 Prop.39, proposing the inclusion of freshwater stingrays (P. wallacei and P. leopoldi) in Appendix II. This proposal was discussed Friday, 18 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal.

Guitarfishes (Rhinobatidae spp.): ISRAEL introduced CoP19 Prop.40 to list guitarfishes (Rhinobatidae spp.) in Appendix II, noting that of five families of shark-like rays, four are already listed in CITES, but guitarfishes have been “overlooked” despite being vulnerable to over-exploitation. This proposal was discussed Friday, 18 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal.

Zebrafish (Hypancistrus zebra): BRAZIL introduced CoP19 Prop.41 to uplist zebrafish (H. zebra) from Appendix III to Appendix I, highlighting its “significant” decline in the wild as a result of international illegal trade as a coveted ornamental fish. This proposal was discussed on Friday, 18 November, in Committee I.

On Friday, 25 November, BRAZIL reopened the proposal, amended to transfer zebrafish from Appendix III to II. The EU supported by INDONESIA, SENEGAL ARGENTINA, MEXICO, and various other parties supported the amended proposal.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal as amended.

Sea Cucumber (Thelenota spp.): The EU presented amended CoP19 Prop.42 (Rev.1) to include all three species of Thelenota sea cucumber (T.ananas, T.Anax, and T. rubralineata) in Appendix II. This proposal was discussed Friday, 18 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the amended proposal.

Consideration of Proposal for Amendment of Appendices I and II: Canada introduced CoP19 Prop.43. This proposal was discussed Thursday, 17 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal.

Trumpet Trees (Handroanthus, Roseodendron, and Tabebuia spp.): Panama presented CoP19 Prop.44 recommending the inclusion of the three genera of trumpet trees (Handroanthus, Roseodendron, and Tabebuia) in CITES Appendix II. This proposal was discussed Thursday, 17 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal.

Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea and R. crenulate): The EU presented CoP19 Prop. 45 to include Rhodiola (R. rosea and R. crenulata) and all other species of the genus in CITES Appendix II. This proposal was discussed Tuesday, 22 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal.

Pod Mahoganies (Afzelia spp.): The EU introduced CoP19 Prop.46 for the inclusion of all African populations of pod mahoganies (Afzelia spp.) in Appendix II. This proposal was discussed Thursday, 17 November, in Committee I.

On Friday, 25 November, GABON, supported by CONGO, motioned to reopen debate on this proposal in order to remove one of the species that was approved. DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO did not support reopening debate. The CoP voted on reopening the debate; with 30 for, 71 against, and 38 abstained, the debate was not reopened.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal.

North India Rosewood (Dalbergia sissoo): INDIA introduced CoP19 Prop.47 on the deletion of North Indian rosewood (Dalbergia sissoo) from CITES Appendix II, highlighting its abundance and the negative impact of its listing on rural livelihoods. This proposal was discussed Thursday, 17 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP rejected the proposal.

Standard nomenclature for Cumaru (Dipteryx spp.): PANAMA introduced CoP19 Prop.48 to include Dipteryx spp. in Appendix II, noting that some species of this genus meet the listing criteria and the rest qualify for inclusion for reasons of resemblance. This proposal was discussed Wednesday 16 November, and Thursday, 17 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the amended proposal.

Brazilwood (Paubrasilia echinate): BRAZIL introduced CoP19 Prop.49 on the transfer of brazilwood (P. echinata) from Appendix II to I. This proposal was discussed Thursday, 17 November, in Committee I.

On Friday, 25 November, an amended proposal (CoP19 Com.I.6) was introduced to maintain P. echinata in Appendix II with the following annotation that would replace current Annotation #10: all parts, derivatives and finished products, except re-export of finished musical instruments, finished musical instrument accessories, and finished musical instrument parts.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal.

Padauk (Pterocarpus spp.): SENEGAL introduced CoP19 Prop.50 to include all African populations of Padauk (Pterocarpus erinaceus and Pterocarpus tinctorius) in Appendix II. This proposal was discussed Thursday, 17 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal.

African Mahoganies (Khaya spp.): The EU introduced CoP19 Prop.51 to list African mahoganies (Khaya spp.) in Appendix II. This proposal was discussed Thursday, 17 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal.

Orchids (Orchidaceae): Switzerland introduced CoP19 Prop.52 to amend annotation #4 for orchid species (Orchidaceae) in Appendix II. This proposal was discussed Tuesday, 22 November, in Committee I.

Outcome: The CoP adopted the amended proposal.

Closing Plenary

On Friday, 25 November, in their closing remarks, many praised the government of Panama for hosting the CoP, and congratulated the CITES Secretariat for successful CoP outcomes, especially for adopting strong resolutions on sharks. Some parties raised concerns about the number of listings and planned delays in their implementation. The CITES Secretariat invited parties to submit proposals for the hosting of CoP20.

SPECIES SURVIVAL NETWORK called CITES a “powerful and influential” forum that should protect species “beyond monetary gains.”

Janaina Tewaney Mencomo, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Panama, noted that more than 170 accredited journalists covered this gathering, meaning that “the world was here in Panama to support the work of CITES.” Noting her country’s name is an Indigenous word meaning “abundance,” she said it referred to nature in Panama.

Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, CEO, GEF, highlighted the importance of working in a more integrated way with other Conventions and informed the CoP about a new funding opportunity, “Wildlife for Development,” with USD 50 million in funding. He encouraged parties to access these resources through their national GEF coordinators.

UKRAINE thanked the government of Panama, congratulated CITES for the successful conference, and condemned the Russian Federation’s invasion of her country, which resulted in “serious damage” to Ukraine’s flora and fauna and many CITES-listed species. The EU, US, UK, and many other parties joined Ukraine in condemning the Russian invasion.

CHINA reiterated his country’s commitment to playing an effective role in the CITES community.

Milciades Concepción, Minister of Environment, Panama, and CoP Chair, thanked the Secretariat and called on all delegates to “roll up their sleeves” to bring sustainability into international trade.

CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero thanked delegates including the relevant authorities of the Government of Panama for their support to the CoP, and referred to CITES as a “convention that offers outcomes and responsibility.”

The CoP Chair thanked all participants for their passion and commitment, and gaveled the meeting to a close at 2:41 pm.

A Brief Analysis of CoP19

It was perhaps fitting that the 19th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) took place in one of the world’s most megadiverse countries. Panama is home to 10,444 different plant species, 255 species of mammals, and 972 indigenous bird species—most of them protected due to the country’s role as a shipping nexus—and a fitting reminder of the interrelation between humans and all other species.

The CoP was also an opportunity to take stock. CITES will commemorate its 50th anniversary in 2023, and the world has changed since the treaty was first adopted in 1973. This evolution was visible down to the delegate level: many parties sent new negotiators, with some unfamiliar with the Convention’s established procedures and traditions.

These changes, amid the pressure of a worldwide biodiversity crisis, raise questions about CITES’ role in the world as it is. What did CoP19 accomplish in terms of increasing protection for wild and plant life? What are some of the risks and challenges it still faces? And what “new” issues does CITES need to face in a world beset the “perma-crisis” of war, climate disaster, and unprecedented species loss?

One More on the List

First, the good news: the CoP adopted a whopping 46 of the 52 proposals put forward to include species under its protection in its Appendices. Parties also adopted a record 365 decisions, aiming to strike a balance between protecting threatened species, while at the same time allowing for international trade so long as it contributes to or at least doesn’t undermine conservation efforts. Many organizations in the conservation world have already hailed the CoP as a huge success.

During the first week of the conference, the excitement was palpable, especially from those observers pushing hard to include certain species on the CITES Appendices. It wasn’t uncommon to see participants walking to committee rooms holding stuffed sharks under their arms, or trading rumors of when there might be a hippo-plushie giveaway at a side event. One hundred species of sharks and rays, over 150 tree species, 160 amphibian species, 50 turtle and tortoise species, and several species of songbirds will now benefit from increased trade restrictions and conservation-oriented management.

More significantly, the scope of the species that now fall under Appendix II (species that may become endangered) has expanded. Many long-time delegates were pleasantly surprised to see marine species pass through Committee I’s deliberations with minimal difficulty. “In the past, we would have expected some pushback from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN’s fisheries experts, or from the Regional Fisheries Management Organizations” they said. “But this signals a new openness.” Several types of plants species, including Malagasy ebony and Brazilwood, have also been granted new protections, signaling parties’ recognition that many tree species are impacted by poorly regulated trade and illegal logging.

Part of this shift, some observers signaled, may be due to technological advancements. In the past, identifying a specimen being traded could be extremely difficult, and thus easy to counterfeit. But one observer delegation demonstrated a newly developed database for sharks that could identify a species in a few minutes with a single specimen swab. “I understand the reluctance to impose restrictions that couldn’t be followed in the first place,” a senior delegate explained. “But if we can truly ensure traceability, then it makes sense to expand protection.”

That said, others were quick to point out that listing a species under the Convention is a double-edged sword: it implies that the species is at risk enough to require protection. More listings do not suggest good news for species protection, or biodiversity, as one senior official pointed out that. “Going forward, the objective of CITES should be fewer listings, and more downlistings”—that is, moving species from higher to lower protection status. In that line of thinking, the downlisting of the Aleutian cackling goose and the Namibian population of the southern white rhinoceros were seen by many as good signals. “It should be a proud day for CITES when requests for downlists are adopted,” one observer group said.

Delay Means Damage

For all the victories achieved during this CoP, some observers pointed out worrying signals about the efficacy of the Convention. Long-standing delegates remarked that this CoP saw a significant increase in the use of delays of implementation periods. This means that, before a species is fully protected, parties can request additional time beyond the usual 90-day entry into force to allow their domestic industry to acclimate to new regulations.

Critics of delay provisions point out that waiting longer can drive ecosystem degradation. In listing the Dipteryx spp. tree family under Appendix II, for example, CoP 19 saw fit—at one party’s insistence—to implement an 18-month delay before restricting trade. The delay was put in place to allow local communities to be consulted, but several conservation advocates pointed out that the Indigenous Peoples who mostly harvest seeds of the trees would be excluded from the listing regardless via an annotation. “Between that and the fact that the International Wood Products Association was a strong proponent for the delay,” one observer mused, “I’d worry that some parties are using Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPLCs) as an excuse for extra time to stockpile specimens.”

National and international interests remained at odds on the plenary floor. Several countries were quick to remind participants that, while CITES concerns illegal trade of species, what happens within a country’s domestic boundaries is none of its business. Several parties made that point clear, whether discussing sharks or elephant ivory stockpiles—showing that, no matter what was decided at the CoP, domestic trade will continue if profit remains a motive.

Ultimately, these issues are a reminder that, even fifty years on, CITES’ promises are only as good as their implementation. Despite regulations, illegal trade continues to be a strong driver of biodiversity loss. If individual countries pick and choose which CoP decisions they implement, based on their domestic priorities, the integrity—and effectiveness—of the Convention can come into question.

The Forest’s Edge

Finally, the CoP revealed emerging questions that CITES will need to reckon with in the future—questions that CoP19 demonstrated are far from answered.

The invocation of IPLCs, as discussed above, brought the question of whether CITES should list impact on livelihoods as a criterion for species protection to the fore. Some proponents share the view that the implementation of CITES is better achieved with the engagement of IPLCs, especially those dependent on CITES-listed species. Others argue that including livelihoods goes far beyond the scope of the Convention, which is meant to consider biological and trade criteria. The document to propose reopening debate over listing criteria with an eye to including livelihoods failed dramatically; many parties agree the listing criteria are not the place to consider livelihoods so directly. “I’d watch out for it, though,” one delegate opined. “We haven’t seen the last of the livelihoods debate.”

The question of whether species CITES should consider only individual species or the relationships between them also came up when a document on CITES and forests was tabled, requesting that the Convention begin to consider how certain species are key to forest ecosystems. For some, this proposal is a natural evolution of the Convention: if species were key to the understanding of nature at CITES’ outset, science has now evolved and there is now an understanding that ecosystems are much more complex than a list of atomized genera. For other parties, considering ecosystem perspectives breach the mandate of the Convention.

Lastly, the cultural considerations that other Conventions have grappled with over the years seem to have reached CITES’ shores, albeit without a clear outcome. Both the Convention on Biological Diversity and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change now have gender action plans, and gender is recognized as a key lens through which to consider solutions to the “perma-crises” of the decade. Yet the invocation of such a plan for CITES raised the hackles of many parties who refused to consider gender “in all its diversity,” cleaving to a binary understanding of the concept. “How long can we stay out of current debates?” one observer complained. “CITES is about people, too. We’ll have to answer questions about people sooner or later.”

An Interdependent Future

As one party argued late in the second week, “CITES is not intended to address all threats facing a species […] [but] to take international trade out of the mix of existing and potential threats to species.” The Convention has its limits. But as nature itself teaches us, there are no true borders between one organism and another: looking closer, the entanglement is evident. How CITES considers this interdependence may well determine its fate—and ours.

The next intersessional period will bring about serious change in the global biodiversity agenda. Negotiations on the post-2020 biodiversity framework will continue later this year in Montreal, Canada. And an agreement on marine areas beyond national jurisdiction may yet come into the world in the coming months. Can CITES continue as it has done for the past fifty years, or will it need to adapt to the new murkiness and interrelation in the world? Whatever the future may bring to CITES, both the Convention and its parties will need to contend with the fact that they are not as atomized in their governance as they were when they started.

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