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Daily report for 12 April 2000

11th Meeting of the CITES Conference of the Parties (COP11)

Delegates met throughout the day in Committees I and II. Both Committees reviewed issues relating to interpretation and implementation of the Convention. Contentious issues were deferred to informal working groups.


RHINOCEROS: The Secretariat introduced a recommendation repealing a rhinoceros resolution adopted at COP-9 (Doc. 11.32). He noted that the resolution’s implementation status is difficult to evaluate and provides no reporting mechanism. The EU and the US supported amending the resolution and suggested setting up a working group. KENYA and ZIMBABWE expressed concern over the sovereignty of their rhinoceros data and suggested African range States meet to discuss the proposal.

FRESHWATER TURTLES AND TORTOISES IN SOUTHEAST ASIA: GERMANY introduced a discussion paper addressing conservation impacts of the increasing turtle trade (Doc. 11.35). The Secretariat said it would be difficult to support recommendations of a non-listed species. Many delegates, including the US, INDONESIA, AUSTRALIA, CHINA, CAMBODIA, the NETHERLANDS and JAPAN supported further discussion in a working group.

SEAHORSES: The US introduced a discussion paper recommending dialogue between Parties and continued species data collection (Doc. 11.36). BELGIUM, NEW ZEALAND, the EU, the REPUBLIC OF KOREA, JAMAICA and others, supported establishing a working group. JAPAN and CHINA noted that CITES should not concentrate on non-listed species, but agreed to participate in the working group. The Secretariat added that significant funding from Parties would be required to work on non-CITES listed species. The INTERNATIONAL FUND FOR ANIMAL WELFARE offered funding assistance.

HARD CORAL: The UK presented a previous working group’s results on identification and reporting requirements for trade in hard coral (Doc. 11.37). He noted consensus on: ways to report trade in specimens of hard coral; the importance of defining and recognizing coral; and reporting to generic versus specie level. He suggested CITES is not applicable to non-recognizable species of coral. The Secretariat proposed creating a working group chaired by the UK, said it was premature to wave reporting requirements and suggested that reporting the names of species traded as live specimens would inspire international cooperation. INDONESIA noted that applicability of Article IV to sand coral and live rock would go beyond CITES’ conservation focus.

BIGLEAF MAHOGANY: Reporting on Bigleaf Mahogany (Doc. 11.38.2), BRAZIL noted inter alia: inclusion in Appendix III is expected to increase international cooperation; access to markets and fair valuation is needed to attract funds for sustainable conservation; technology transfer is essential to enhance forest value; and range States must cooperate by including their population census in Appendix III. NICARAGUA noted sub-regional initiatives require technical and financial assistance from importing countries. He suggested, and many supported, the creation of a working group on Mahogany associated with the Plants Committee. The US offered funding for such a group. The Secretariat suggested instead, in view of budget constraints, that a draft project be submitted to range States. BRAZIL said the creation of a group would be counterproductive.

ASSISTANCE TO SCIENTIFIC AUTHORITIES: The Secretariat introduced a document (Doc. 11.40) on the need to develop workshops to improve CITES implementation by Scientific Authorities and to further develop, in cooperation with IUCN, a draft manual on making non-detriment findings (Inf. 11.3). JAPAN, the NETHERLANDS, MAURITIUS, MEXICO, the EU, the US and others, supported the Secretariat initiative. COSTA RICA expressed interest in participating in future workshops. EL SALVADOR suggested the importance of Scientific Authority regional meetings. VANUATU highlighted the need to include Pacific island countries. INDIA noted it had started Scientific Authority capacity-building programmes. The document was adopted, with the exception of a budget item deferred to the Budget Committee.

ANIMAL HYBRIDS: Animal Committee Chair Jenkins introduced, and delegates adopted, an amendment clarifying the terms "recent lineage" contained in resolution 10.17 on animal hybrids (Doc. 11.49).

TRANSPORT OF LIVE ANIMALS: The Secretariat reported on the implementation of resolution 10.21 urging parties importing live animals to maintain records of live specimens and casualties per shipment (Doc. 11.54). He said that a lack of response from Parties to requests for information would compel COP-12 to amend or repeal the resolution. The EU, the US and COSTA RICA supported upholding and enforcing the resolution. GERMANY called for data on casualties during illegal shipments and suggested the export country attach the questionnaire to the export document. AUSTRALIA suggested the absence of records might signify the absence of mortalities. Delegates agreed to maintain the resolution pending re-assessment of its effectiveness at COP-12.

APPENDIX II SPECIES SUBJECT TO ANNUAL EXPORT QUOTAS: The Secretariat reported on the use of export quotas granted to Ecuador and Tanzania for certain Appendix species (Doc. 11.42) and noted the source and type of exports were not adequately reflected.

SIGNIFICANT TRADE IN APPENDIX II SPECIES: The Secretariat introduced the document (Doc. 11.41.1), which provides information on the basis for the continuing review of significant trade in Appendix II species. Several Parties sought clarification on nomenclature and the status of implementation on individual species within their country. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION, with support from IRAN, the US and SWITZERLAND, submitted a draft resolution for Secretariat consideration on sturgeon to be distributed at the next session.


Chair Koester summarized Tuesday’s agreements on the Permanent Committees’ Terms of Reference (TORs). The Committee decided to recognize the information paper on synergy between CITES and FAO (Doc. 11.14), and to invite FAO to join CITES’ criteria working group.

PERMANENT COMMITTEES TORs: Thomas Althaus (Switzerland), Permanent Committees working group Chair, reported that the group had agreed to, inter alia: amend text to allow Parties to be "consulted" rather than "informed" on the need for periodic review of animal species; and nominate two COP-appointed nomenclature experts, including a zoologist to address animal taxa and a botanist to address plant taxa. ARGENTINA called to delete text enabling Plant and Animal Committee Chairs and concerned range States to withdraw a proposal. No consensus was reached.

SPECIES INTRODUCED FROM THE SEA: AUSTRALIA introduced its resolution (Doc. 11.18) aiming to: interpret and implement aspects of CITES Articles III, IV and XIV; reach agreement on the meaning of "introduction from the sea" and "not under the jurisdiction of any State"; achieve synergy with other intergovernmental bodies regulating marine stocks; and facilitate commerce of marine species under threat by unregulated and illegal fishing. He outlined potential problems such as confusion of differentiating territorial waters from Exclusive Economic Zones, philosophical opposition on the part of some Parties, and highlighted the certificate reporting requirements contained in the resolution. The US, CANADA, GERMANY, BRAZIL, the EU, TRAFFIC and the CENTRE FOR INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW, welcomed the resolution and said some technical matters should be addressed. JAPAN and the INTERNATIONAL COOALITION FOR FISHERIES ASSOCIATIONS suggested the resolution was an effort to resurrect the COP-10 marine species working group and opposed the resolution along with ICELAND, NORWAY and CUBA. A working group was established.

NATIONAL REPORTS: Discussion focused on draft decisions contained in Annex I (Doc. 11.19), which delegates adopted following a brief discussion on the need for the Secretariat to assist some Parties to develop national legislation and prepare annual reports. BELGIUM, supported by TRAFFIC, underscored the need to distinguish between countries not submitting annual reports in the last three years and late submissions.

ENFORCEMENT: The Secretariat introduced a review of alleged infractions and other implementation problems (Doc. 11.20.1). He highlighted collaboration with ICPO-Interpol and World Customs Organization (WCO), a new computerized data system to curb illicit trade and guidelines for permits and certificates. TRAFFIC suggested compiling information on infraction trends. Regarding DNA analysis, BELGIUM noted not all countries have this capacity. The EU, the US, ANTIGUA and BARBUDA and others expressed support for the guidelines. SPAIN requested guidelines on identifying false certificates.

IMPLEMENTING RESOLUTIONS: The Secretariat introduced, and delegates adopted, a draft decision postponing discussion on implementing resolutions to the next Standing Committee meeting (Doc. 11.20.2).

NATIONAL LEGISLATION: Regarding the draft decision on the national legislation project (Doc. 11.21.1), ARGENTINA proposed text on the need for technical resources for implementation. ZAMBIA, LIBERIA and TURKEY requested assistance for capacity building. The EU urged for sanctions when necessary. ICELAND requested assistance in developing national legislation, and CUBA requested specific assistance for small island States. ZIMBABWE asked when a workshop on harmonizing national legislation at the sub-regional level would take place. WWF called for funding for regional workshops.

NATIONAL LAWS FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF CITES: Delegates noted the efficiency of using limited trade sanctions to stimulate the development of national legislation (Doc. 11.21.2). A contact group comprising Australia, Germany, the David Shepard Conservation Foundation and the Secretariat was requested to harmonize a draft decision favoring trade with non-CITES Parties with COP-10 resolutions 10.19 and 10.20.

REPORTING SEIZURES: ISRAEL withdrew its proposal on reporting seizures (Doc. 11.22) to accommodate many delegates� concern that it would be redundant with resolution 9.9, duplicate efforts and possibly create information leakage.

PERSISTENT OFFENDERS: ISRAEL introduced a draft resolution on persistent offenders of CITES (Doc. 11.23) recommending that the Secretariat circulate a list of offenders charged with at least three civil convictions or one criminal conviction and that Management Authorities withhold CITES permits from persistent offenders. Several delegations, including the CZECH REPUBLIC, JAPAN, IRAN, MEXICO, AUSTRALIA, SAUDI ARABIA, the EU, ANTIGUA and BARBUDA, the WCO and ICPO-INTERPOL, opposed the resolution, noting, inter alia, such a list would contradict national legislation and infringe on sovereignty and individuals rights. The US supported measures against issuing permits to persistent offenders. DEFENDERS OF WILDLIFE supported the resolution and ISRAEL invited interested Parties to cooperate on a revised draft.


The Working Group, chaired by Hank Jenkins (Australia), on the Australian-proposed draft resolution to establish a practical basis for implementing CITES provisions relating to "introduction from the sea" (species taken from the high seas), debated the mandate Committee II had intended for it. Several delegations agreed the group's mandate was to refine the resolution, while others countered that consensus to proceed in such a manner had not been achieved. This division lead to a vote that demonstrated a lack of consensus on the group's mandate. The group decided to adjourn until seeking further clarification from Committee II.


The controversial suggestion to place trade sanctions on India to spur its tiger conservation efforts, has left delegates speculating as to whether this is serious, and, if so, if the logic isn't just a bit off. Some question whether the sanction wouldn't be counterproductive, punishing India instead of providing much needed financial assistance to address poachers. There is also a sentiment that punishing the consumers of tiger products would be more appropriate, but many speculate that power politics prohibit such action. Some developing countries have hinted that application of trade sanctions in response to a lack of capacity could isolate such Parties and encourage them to abandon CITES.


PLENARY: Plenary will convene at 10:00 am in Conference Room 2 to complete strategic and administrative matters.

COMMITTEES: Committee I will reconvene at 2:00 pm in Conference Room 2 to hear reports from working groups on tigers, rhinoceroses, freshwater turtles and tortoises, seahorses and coral species. The Russian Federation is expected to submit text on sturgeons. Committee II will meet at 2:00 pm in Conference Room 1 to finalize Permanent Committee TORs, and address risks and benefits of trade in wildlife and bear specimens. The agenda item on conservation of and trade in elephants may be transferred to Committee I. Documents on decisions agreed to on Tuesday will be circulated.

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