Daily report for 12 December 2000

10th Meeting of the CITES Plants Committee and 16th Meeting of the Animals Committee

On Tuesday, both Committees met in plenary meetings. The Plants Committee discussed the follow up to COP11, COP12 proposals, significant trade, medicinal plants and the review of Appendices. The Animals Committee addressed hard corals, significant trade and transport of live animals. After plenary, the Animals Committee convened two closed working groups to discuss corals and transport of live animals.


FOLLOW UP OF COP11 DECISIONS: Regarding a review of Guaiacum sanctum (PC.10.7.3), Mexico and South America emphasized the need to clarify the taxonomy of the genus. Costa Rica, Mexico and the US agreed to collaborate, and Germany offered to initiate a separate project to distinguish between two Guaiacum species. The Netherlands offered "seed" money for Guaiacum research projects.

Asia and Oceania complimented TRAFFIC on their Aquilaria trade report (PC.10.7.4) and supported the idea of listing all species. Oceania noted regional progress on data collection and policy making but drew attention to significant illegal exports from Indonesia and an expanding market in Papua New Guinea.

COP12 SPECIES PROPOSALS: Chile expressed concern regarding a proposal to split-list Araucaria araucana, with the Chile and Argentina populations in Appendix I and populations "elsewhere" in Appendix II. On addressing enforcement and conservation problems, COP11 adopted the Committee’s proposal to place the whole population of Araucaria araucana on Appendix I. Participants discussed different interpretations of populations in terms of endemism or geographic location and whether the Criteria Working Group might address definitions of this type. The Committee decided that Europe, in collaboration with Chile, would draft a proposal on Araucaria araucana addressed to the Standing Committee.

SIGNIFICANT TRADE: The Secretariat suggested, and Oceania supported, prioritizing studies in 2001 on significant trade in Madagascan plants, cycads and Percopsis elata timber taken from the wild. Africa supported prioritizing cycads before adopting a regional approach. North America and Austria preferred prioritizing Madagascan plants. Mexico proposed consideration of illegal trading in cacti, while Central and South America and the Caribbean proposed consideration of medicinal plants. The Secretariat identified a data shortage on trade of medicinal plants.

Regarding pre-COP11 significant trade in medicinal plants and Chinese orchids, Germany presented on 16 medicinal plant species listed since COP9. Responding to a request for adoption by Oceania, the US and Europe, the Committee decided to reconsider adoption tomorrow and to include input from China. The UK and China presented on their collaborative scientific research assessing the trade and biological status of 300 Chinese orchid species, proposing a second stage of research. The Secretariat informed participants that Kew Gardens, London, will be developing an analysis manual to conduct non-detriment research on plant species. The US expressed concern over monitoring the sustainability of small-scale orchid nurseries in association with protected areas, which may "launder" wild orchids. The Committee agreed to further research in light of such concerns.

On trade controls for Nardostachys grandiflora and Picrorhiza kurrooa, TRAFFIC presented a finding that trade in both species is not well regulated (PC., and cited a treaty between Nepal and India, which does not require trade controls. The Committee discussed widespread problems in obtaining identification data to facilitate implementation.

MEDICINAL PLANTS: On trade in Prunus africana, Kenya reported that trade in Kenya is highly underestimated and unsustainable. France reported on a study by its scientific authority on the tree’s physiology and options for sustainable harvesting in Cameroon. Chair Clemente suggested that studies investigate all supply sources.

REVIEW OF THE APPENDICES: Chair Clemente said some species in the Appendices had not been listed according to scientific criteria. She acknowledged the technical and funding challenge of conducting scientific assessments. Regarding a review of orchid species (PC.10.12.1), the Secretariat noted the overwhelming task that lay ahead. The National Orchid Society suggested listing only traded species. Chair Clemente assigned a working group to discuss the matter and to bring proposals to the Committee tomorrow.

CHECKLISTS AND NOMENCLATURE: The UK presented a progress report on new plant checklists (PC.10.13.1) and requested further assistance from range State orchid experts to finalize the orchids checklist. Austria made a commitment to initiate a checklist on the orchid genus Bulbophyllum.


SIGNIFICANT TRADE REVIEW: The Secretariat introduced primary and secondary recommendations issued to Parties (AC.16.7.1) and said most Parties had not commented. The Secretariat noted that deadlines for complying with primary recommendations could not realistically be met by Parties and offered assistance to help Parties commit to necessary action. Asia said some Parties have not responded because the species is already protected by legislation. The Secretariat said parties should respond regardless of national measures. Bolivia called for information about imports of Pecari tajacu. The US highlighted the need to tackle the worldwide trade of Asian pangolins and Japan said that would entail persuading Laos into joining CITES.

On options concerning the further review of species, the Secretariat supported efforts toward enhanced conservation before ending trade. He highlighted that rapid turnover of staff hinders enforcement and suggested a significant trade review of some sturgeons, freshwater turtles and tortoises, hard corals and species used for medicinal purposes. North America suggested examining trade patterns and commodities and selecting species of different regions in the review process. Chile suggested tackling illegal trade by investigating illegal flows in South America. The Secretariat agreed that total trade bans lead to increased illegal trade and should be avoided.

Sturgeon: TRAFFIC introduced a document on Acipenseriformes (AC.16.7.2), which contains the review and proposed categorization of ten species of sturgeon. Category 1 includes species where international trade poses a threat, category 2 includes species with insufficient data to determine a threat from trade, and category 3 species are unaffected by international trade. Chair Hoogmoed added that the Committee should ultimately determine the categories applicable to each species and urged participants to draft recommendations by the end of the meeting. North America reminded participants that range States have an additional six weeks to review categories. Iran expressed concern about data reliability and proposed setting up a working group on categories. Species recommended for inclusion in category 1 include: Russian sturgeon (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii); Ship sturgeon (Acipenser nudiventris); Armur sturgeon (Acipenser schrencki); Stellage sturgeon (Acipenser stellatus); Kaluga (Huso dauricus); and Beluga (Huso huso). Species recommended for inclusion in category 2 include: Siberian sturgeon (Acipenser baerii); Lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens); Sterlet (Acipenser ruthenus); and American paddlefish (Polyodon spathula).

Delegates discussed the need for standardization of units, including a differentiation between live specimens and meat. The Secretariat confirmed the need to specify trade units, and with the setting of quotas, to ensure compatibility across countries and species. The US, supported by the Northeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, opposed the mandatory establishment of quotas. The US also noted that Kaluga and Beluga species should qualify for Appendix I listing. Iran, with Tsar Nicoulai Caviar, emphasized that classification should be based on geography and not species, and proposed convening a meeting of all range States to further discuss sturgeon conservation and fisheries management. IWMC stressed the need to include those directly involved in production, consumption and trade in caviar. The Secretariat and Germany announced funding for an IUCN specialist group on sturgeon to meet in Russia next year.

Cobras: UNEP-WCMC gave an overview of the re-classification of cobra species (Naja) (AC.16.7.3). In the past, Naja has been treated as one species under CITES, but recent research has identified 10 subspecies, which are proposed to be treated by CITES as independent species. In many cases, it is not known which species is involved in trade as they are often reported simply as Naja naja. Species recommended for inclusion in category 2 are siamensis and sumatrana, and in category 3, sagittifera. There were no species proposed for category 1. Sputatrix atra and kaouthia were proposed for category 1 or 2, and naja, oxiana, philippinensis for category 2 or 3. A newly named taxon from Myanmar (Naja mandalayensis) was described this year as a separate species and falls outside existing CITES controls for Naja, a point contested by Germany and the US. The Secretariat said trade in this species cannot be monitored until it is included on Appendix II.

Musk Deer: UNEP-WCMC, in cooperation with TRAFFIC and IUCN, introduced the review of Moschus species (AC.16.7.4). He recommended listing Black Musk Deer (M. fuscus) and Siberian Musk Deer (M. moshiferus) under category 1, and Forest Musk Deer (M. berezovskii) and Alpine Musk Deer (M. chrysogaster) under category 2. The Secretariat urged Parties to submit additional scientific data. India stressed musk trade has endangered the species. The US noted a lack of statistics and consensus on musk deer populations and said the species should be put on Appendix I. Korea underlined his government’s efforts toward species conservation and using synthetic substitutes.

TRANSPORT OF LIVE ANIMALS: Irina Sprotte (Germany), Chair of the transport working group, summarized the group’s report (AC.16.10.1), including an update on the transport mortality monitoring process and a review of implementation of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) live animals regulations. Switzerland noted increasing problems in transit, particularly a lack of accompanying documentation. Hoogmoed requested that the group prepare terms of reference (TOR) by the next Committee meeting. The US noted that CITES guidelines for transport of animals have not been updated since 1980 and should cover ground in addition to air transport.

TRADE IN HARD CORALS: Vin Fleming (UK), Chair of the working group on hard corals, presented the group’s TOR (AC.16.12.1), which the Committee adopted. On the mariculture and propagation of corals (AC.16.12.2), Fleming identified work ahead, including defining cultured coral and source codes related to coral propagation. Israel underlined a need to distinguish between cultured and wild-taken corals in trade. The Secretariat proposed that the TOR expand to establish an inventory of Parties that practice coral mariculture.


In both Committees, some participants noticed that hot topics were conveniently avoided. In the Plants Committee, attempts to sweep issues "under the rug" were only partially successful. In the Animals Committee, discussion of preparing and shipping live animals for transport was cut short when one NGO attempted to raise an unresolved working group issue from COP11, which was considered inadmissible because record of it was missing.


PLANTS COMMITTEE: The strategic plan working group will meet from 8:45 am to 10:15 am in the Gymnasium and report back to the Committee at 10:45 am. The working group on orchids is expected to report on its work to Plenary in the afternoon.

ANIMALS COMMITTEE: The Committee will meet at 9:00 am in the Entry Auditorium to discuss traditional medicines, review of animal taxa, seahorses and time-sensitive research samples. Working groups will convene in the afternoon on significant trade (sturgeon, cobras and musk deer), turtles and hard corals.

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