Daily report for 11 April 2000
11th Meeting of the CITES Conference of the Parties (COP11)
Delegates met in a morning Plenary to further address strategic and administrative matters and to hear committee reports. During the afternoon, Committees I and II convened to begin their respective work. The Budget Committee met in an evening session.
CITES Deputy Secretary-General Armstrong introduced, and delegates apporved, the Report of the Secretariat (Doc. 11.9.1). Secretary-General Wijnekes presented the Secretariat report on staffing (Doc. 11.9.2). The Plenary agreed to a UK suggestion to endorse the report after discussion in the Budget Committee. ICELAND announced its recent accession to CITES and voiced reservations on the Convention’s consistency of Appendix inclusions. He emphasized that cetaceans species listings must be based on scientific knowledge, not on moral or emotional reasons.
COMMITTEE REPORTS: Standing Committee: Chair Robert Hepworth (United Kingdom) presented the Chair’s Report (Doc. 11.8). He identified challenges including: reforming the Secretariat; implementing the 1997 "Harare Compromise" on ivory trade; addressing escalating tiger poaching and smuggling; developing the Strategic Plan; and addressing non-compliance of seven Parties. On elephants, he highlighted successes, including: cooperative work with IUCN and TRAFFIC; the creation of the MIKE, ETIS and interim monitoring systems; consensus on conducting ivory auctions; and smooth conduct of trade in Africa and Japan. He said technical and high-level tiger missions had pinpointed reasons for smuggling tigers. Several delegations commented on the report. On one-off sales of ivory to Japan and the Committee's agreement to return elephants to Appendix I in the event of non-compliance or an escalation in illegal hunting and/or trade, ISRAEL asked for clarification of "escalation." On a draft consolidated resolution on cetaceans, JAPAN, supported by NORWAY, rejected a statement reflecting that the Committeepassed this draft fully reflecting existing resolutions on cetaceans. The US said the language, including a reservation by Asia (Japan), is accurate. The report was approved.
Animals Committee: Chair Robert Jenkins (Australia) presented the Committee’s report (Doc. 11.11.1). He underlined its COP-11 recommendation repealing a resolution concerning swiftlets as the scientific research for its implementation is complete and the recommendation repealing a resolution regarding the international trade in sharks. He also noted the difficulties in compiling a specimens list of animals bred in captivity for commercial purposes and recommended listing species of critical conservation concern. JAPAN noted consultative work between the Committee and FAO on the international plan of action for the conservation and management of sharks.
Plants Committee: Chair Margarita Clemente (Spain) presented the Committee’s report outlining activities since COP-10 (Doc. 11.11.2). She drew attention to increased observer participation during their eighth and ninth meetings. She highlighted the preparation of standardized regional reporting formats and the identification of problems encountered by regional representatives. Since many of the 25,000 Appendix II species were listed in 1970s, the committee introduced an ongoing systematic review of the Appendix. She noted that an identification manual and slides had been sent to Parties to assist them in identifying CITES species. Regarding the work programme through COP-12, she highlighted, inter alia, the need to implement the action plan; continue the review of Appendix II; and improve regional directories. The report was adopted.
Identification Manual Committee: Chair Ruth Landolt (Switzerland) presented the Committee’s report (Doc. 11.11.13). She noted that since COP-10 only Switzerland had expressed interest in and appointed members to the Committee, and that input had been received from only six countries submitting fauna data. The report was adopted.
Nomenclature Committee: Vice-Chair Marinus Hoogmoed identified the role of the Committee, including: responding to enquiries on taxa nomenclature, designating appropriate taxonomic authorities; reviewing the nomenclature with the Secretariat and reviewing the nomenclature of species proposed for listing. He said the Fauna Subcommittee had reached consensus on the spider genus. The Flora Subcommittee established checklists for Parties, such as the second cactaceae checklist published last year. SWITZERLAND expressed concern that the change in nomenclature of the Tupinambis (Doc. 220.127.116.11) would create confusion with previous terminology. Delegates adopted the report of the Nomenclature Committee (Doc. 18.104.22.168).
Robert Jenkins (Australia), on behalf of the Animals and Plants Committees, presented the terms of reference (TORs) for the review of the criteria for amendment of Appendices I and II (Doc.11.25). The review includes, inter alia, taxa selection based on the review of Appendices and the creation of a criteria working group of 12 experts. He called for synergies with FAO and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO). Supporting FAO participation, JAPAN hoped it would bring valuable marine wildlife expertise. MALAYSIA suggested the working group remain open to observers. SAINT LUCIA recommended, and many supported Jenkins serve as criteria working group chair. FAO said its fisheries department is currently reviewing CITES criteria for aquatic populations, especially marine populations undergoing commercial exploitation.
Recommendations for quotas of the Appendix I-listed Leopard (Doc. 11.28.1.rev.1) were introduced by the Secretariat. Parties were invited to suggest recommendations on the current reporting system, as the reports submitted do not adequately reflect the level of quota management in some exporting countries. On recommendations for quotas for the Appendix I-listed Markhor (Doc. 11.28.2), he noted that due to the high burden of surveying Pakistan’s population annually, less frequent reporting would be acceptable. PAKISTAN emphasized the importance of involving the local community in Markhor conservation. ISRAEL suggested surveying Markhor populations during a time of climate stress. The Committee adopted the document.
On tiger conservation, John Sellar, CITES Enforcement Officer, introduced the report of the CITES Tiger Mission Technical Team and Political Mission to India, Japan and China (Doc. 11.30). INDIA disagreed with the report’s partiality and called for a working group to re-examine recommendations of trade sanctions issued against India.
Secretary-General Wijnstekers noted future assistance to India would be "in kind." The US opposed the use of trade sanctions and suggested an ongoing dialogue with range states to assess progress and report to COP-12. INDIA lamented the lack of financial resources for wildlife conservation from developed countries. ISRAEL noted trade sanctions had never been used in this context. The RANTHAMBHORE FOUNDATION called for participation of a higher level of expertise in the CITES enforcement review process. Chair Clemente suggested the US chair a working group to discuss this issue together with India, Canada, China and Israel.
Chair Veit Koester (Denmark) appealed for disciplined input and said he would use an open and transparent approach. The Secretariat introduced proposals to change the TORs of CITES’ Committees (Doc. 11.13) mandated by the Standing Committee, taking into account all discussions held since COP-6 in 1987.
The proposals harmonize differences in the Plants and Animals Committees’ TORs, translate the TORs into draft decisions (Annex III) and recommend removing the Identification Manual Committee. Delegates adopted most of the changes.
The Committee: adopted open-ended observer representation in the Plants and Animals Committees; permitted Chairs to invite observers; and granted three and four regional representatives for regions with a membership of 35-45 countries and over 45 countries respectively. A working group was established to deal with outstanding issues, including whether to eliminate the Nomenclature Committee and the need for guidelines on a code of conduct addressing conflicts of interest involving persons serving on CITES bodies.
On the relationship between CITES and the International Whaling Commission (IWC), NORWAY and JAPAN introduced a resolution (Doc 11. 15.1) that: resolves amendment to Appendices should be based on CITES' criteria; urges Parties to apply CITES' provisions for international trade; and requests cooperation with the IWC's Scientific Committee. Recalling the IWC was established in 1946 to ensure development of the whaling industry, he said it currently violates its original legal framework. The US introduced a resolution endorsing synergy between CITES and the IWC (Doc. 11.15.2).
The IWC said a management scheme for sustainable commercial whaling is under way. Regarding proposals to downlist Gray and Minke Whales, he said such action could negatively impact whale conservation. ANTIGUA and BARBUDA urged CITES to divorce itself from the IWC. ICELAND opposed giving authority to the IWC. SAINT LUCIA requested the IWC to lower its membership fees.
Several delegations, including the EU, NEW ZEALAND, GERMANY, BRAZIL and MEXICO, underscored the IWC's primacy. AUSTRALIA and the INTERNATIONAL WILDLIFE COALITION recalled CITES’ obligation to cooperate with other international bodies. The US offered to withdraw its proposal provided Norway and Japan would also withdraw. NORWAY opposed and the resolution remains under consideration.
The US introduced a document on synergy with the FAO (Doc. 11.14), and highlighted the FAO’s Plan of Action on sharks. Some delegates and international organizations welcomed the cooperation, while others, including Japan, Argentina and Olde Pesca, opposed it, claiming duplication with the International Law of the Sea and limited expertise within FAO on some issues. Chair Koester requested the US to provide a proposal on the way forward, possibly recognizing the report.
The Budget Committee, attended by one developing country, discussed the 2001-2002 budget (Doc. 11.10.3.rev.1). Chair Kenneth Stansell (United States) explained the budget is 13% higher than the estimates agreed upon at COP-10 due to increased Secretariat activities. Deputy Secretary-General Armstrong said the increase is due to new staff posts approved by the SC, which will be funded from the CITES Trust Fund and not require additional contributions from the Parties during this period.
The Secretariat indicated that projections for the next triennium budget 2003-2005 would result in a 56% increase in Party contributions. Delegates expressed concern over the Secretariatï¿½s proposals, in particular the decrease in reserves while the budget increases. To facilitate discussions of the next Budget Committee meeting on Friday morning, delegates requested the Secretariat to: identify priority programme areas for 2001-2002; prepare a document that lists all information generated from COP-11 proposals; isolate project-type programmes that can be funded independently; and explore a 6% annual increase.
IN THE BREEZEWAYS
The polarized discussion on CITES relationship with the IWC may have set the stage for acrimonious whale debates to come. Some delegates intimate that efforts to weaken the relationship between the organizations are designed to cajole CITES into weakening its stance on whales and at intimidating the IWC into doing likewise. Some suggest the IWC whale monitoring system under development could possibly bridge pro- and anti-whaling positions. Others worry that oversights within such a system and any allowance of commercial whaling could encourage poaching and result in the demise of currently healthy populations. Iceland's announcement of its stance against "emotional and moral factors" playing into CITES left many surprised, given its domestic whaling moratorium and their bourgeoning whale watching industry. Some speculate that the downlisting battle could go either way at this point, with "negotiation fatigue" taking a toll.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
COMMITTEES: Committee I will meet in Conference Room II to consider issues including trade in rhinoceros, freshwater turtles and tortoises, and coral. Committee II will convene in Conference Room I to discuss topics including enforcement, observers contribution, and national implementation laws. The report from the informal working group and the US proposal on synergy with FAO are expected.