Daily report for 13 April 2000
11th Meeting of the CITES Conference of the Parties (COP11)
Delegates met in a morning Plenary to complete their work on strategic and administrative matters. Committees I and II reconvened in the afternoon. Extensive time was spent in both Committees revising draft minutes.
Credentials Committee Chair Owen (New Zealand) reported that Malawi, Uruguay and Swaziland have submitted credentials, bringing to 118 the total number of voting countries.
Committee I Chair Clemente (Spain) announced that budgetary aspects of the Nomenclature Committee’s recommendations (Doc. 188.8.131.52) had been forwarded to the Budget Committee and that working groups had been established on, inter alia, tigers, rhinoceroses, mahogany, hard coral and turtles and tortoises. Chair Asadi noted the Bureau’s decision to transfer consideration of the African Elephant to Committee I.
Committee II Chair Koester (Denmark) said the group completed the work assigned to it except on TORs of Permanent Committees. He noted that discussion on the IWC is temporarily closed and encouraged informal consultations.
EVOLUTION OF THE CONVENTION: The Secretariat said the submission (Doc. 11.12.1) was based on COP-10 decision 10.111 that assigned 34 decisions for action by the Secretariat, Parties, CITES Committees and UNEP. The recommendation to delete these decisions from the list of current COP decisions was adopted.
STRATEGIC PLAN: Standing Committee working group Chair Kenneth Stensall (US) introduced, and many delegates endorsed, the Convention’s Strategic Plan (Doc. 11.12.2), which focuses on a number of priority implementation goals and objectives. He proposed that COP-11 maintain the working group to monitor the action plan and recommend updates. SWITZERLAND and the WORLD CONSERVATION TRUST expressed concern over the increased workload and its financial implications. NORWAY, along with SOUTH AFRICA, underlined the importance of strengthening CITES scientific basis, and noted the need to cooperate with other conventions. MEXICO suggested giving more attention to plant issues. CANADA asked for performance measures to be developed by the working group. The Strategic Plan was adopted.
COOPERATION WITH OTHER BIODIVERSITY-RELATED AGREEMENTS: Secretary-General Wijnstekers introduced the Standing Committee-endorsed report (Doc. 11.12.3) and drew attention to policy areas, including , inter alia, training, capacity building, compliance control, and the organizations with which CITES could achieve synergy. Hamdallah Zedan, Secretary-General of the CBD provided an update on activities including the recently ratified Biosafety Protocol. He highlighted two important areas for potential cooperation between CITES and the CBD to be considered at CBD COP-5 to be held 15 – 27 May 2000. He said new national reporting guidelines and the Strategic Plan, which includes consideration of joint programming, would be important areas of cooperation between CBD and CITES. He welcomed CITES input to these discussions. Arnulf Müller-Helmbrecht, Secretary-General of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), noted that the CMS provides the legal and programmatic basis to conserve migratory species. He suggested that joint programming should be explored and implemented for species listed by both CITES and CMS. He announced that CITES and CMS will enter into consultation to establish a MOU. The US cautioned that any process for cooperation with other conventions should not erode trade rules established by CITES. BENIN requested that CMS be added to the list of organizations. KENYA requested clarification on the development of modalities to enhance synergies with CBD.
The CENTRE FOR INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW called for clarification of a State’s jurisdiction over the marine environment as it affects the types of permits issued and the ability of CITES to enforce species listed under Appendix II. The GLOBAL TIGER FORUM noted its need for synergy with CITES and called for CITES’ cooperation in the development of protocols to protect tigers in transboundary areas, and the disposal of tiger stockpiles by January 2001.
Responding to delegates’ concerns, the Secretariat noted ongoing work with the Small Island Developing States’ Secretariat on implementation and enforcement issues urged for synergies between national bodies, and elaborated on coordination initiatives with the WTO’s Committee on Trade and the Environment and other MEAs.
The UK, on behalf of the EU, and supported by the US, called to withdraw minutes of Committees’ I and II proceedings, citing serious factual errors including misreporting of the EU position on relations with IWC.
FINANCING CONSERVATION OF WILD FAUNA AND FLORA: FRANCE introduced a proposal for improving the effectiveness of financing CITES implementation (Doc. 11.12.4). She suggested creating a Standing Committee working group on a funding mechanism for specific fauna and flora conservation and added that the Secretariat should cooperate with GEF when considering requests for financing. BOTSWANA, CAMEROON and others supported the document. JAPAN noted that this new financial mechanism should be voluntary. Chair Asadi established an informal working group to further discuss the issue.
The Committee heard reports from the chairs of the working groups on the progress of their work.
RHINOCEROS: The US highlighted substantial changes in the draft document, including inserting a requirement for Parties to report on rhinoceros conservation efforts and to implement national legislation, and requesting the Secretariat to compile and evaluate the reports.
FRESHWATER TURTLES AND TORTOISES: GERMANY announced the group succeeded in finalizing a draft resolution urging, inter alia, Parties to increase enforcement efforts; develop programmes to monitor trade impact; and increase public awareness of threats to wild populations. An annex to the resolution requests the Secretariat to convene a technical workshop establishing conservation priorities and encouraging Parties and NGOs to assist range States in capacity building.
SEAHORSES: AUSTRALIA reported that the group is opposed to CITES engaging in the conservation of species not yet listed in the Appendices, but noted agreement on a resolution to hold a technical workshop to identify priority actions. He said the Animals Committee would review those actions and report to COP-12 and requested the Secretariat to coordinate funding by interested Parties. CHINA, supported by JAPAN, opposed a resolution on seahorses and suggested instead a workshop on Syngnathidae data collection.
HARD CORAL: The UK introduced a draft resolution allowing a lower threshold for including gravel which excludes sand. The resolution establishes an ecosystem impact criteria for import and export of rocks and identifies coral at species level for trade purposes and at genus level for taxonomy purposes.
SIGNIFICANT TRADE IN APPENDIX II SPECIES: The RUSSIAN FEDERATION circulated a proposal stating that starting January 1, 2001, States should keep records of trade in species covered by resolution 8.9. The Secretariat should prepare a report based on these records for submission to the 18th meeting of the Animals Committee.
BIGLEAF MAHOGANY: The US introduced TORs for a mahogany working group, providing for, inter alia: reviewing of Appendix III species effectiveness; assessing information management; and studying measures to widen the scope of Appendix III listings. COLOMBIA and ECUADOR called for R&D on forest resources. The NETHERLANDS suggested the working group consider Appendix II.
WORKING GROUP ON TIGERS: The group, chaired by Rosemarie Gnam (US), debated ways to redraft the recommendation on trade and financial sanctions against India (Doc. 11.30). Some delegates agreed that although sanctions might be inappropriate, some form of pressure should be exercised to compel India to improve its tiger conservation. One delegate feared sanctions might establish a dangerous precedent and called for financial support to reinforce national enforcement-capacity. Most delegates agreed to reinstate financial incentives, but agreed that spending should be monitored. It was agreed to redraft the recommendation.
PERMANENT COMMITTEES TORs: Chair Koester noted one outstanding issue regarding TORs. NEW ZEALAND requested that the Budget Committee approve the proposed regional representation of the Standing Committee. The TORs (Doc. 11.13) were accepted in principle pending Budget Committee approval.
INTRODUCTION FROM THE SEA: Reporting on the results of the working group, AUSTRALIA said they were unable to reach consensus. He noted the divergence in philosophical views and requested Chair Koester to provide guidance. Chair Koester said the working group's mandate is to revise the draft resolution, accommodating the opposing views. JAPAN, supported by NORWAY and ICELAND, said the issue should be addressed by the FAO and regional organizations. The US and the EU requested the working group reconvene. AUSTRALIA, supported by CANADA, said it would revise the draft resolution prior to reconvening the working group.
ANNOTATIONS IN THE APPENDICIES: SWITZERLAND outlined textual amendments to the document previously approved by the Standing Committee (Doc. 11.24). He noted that the resolution resulted from COP-10 decision 10.70 requesting clarification of legal implementation issues related to Appendix annotations. CAMEROON and PAKISTAN expressed concern that a provision recommending Parties avoid making annotations including wild animals and trophies that could negatively impact their sporting or local community interests. The draft resolution was adopted.
APPROPRIATE AND ACCEPTABLE DESTINATIONS: KENYA introduced a draft resolution on the definition of "appropriate and acceptable destinations" for transport of live animals (Doc. 11.26). The resolution aims to eliminate incidents such as that of the "Tuli elephants," where 30 elephant calves exported to South Africa were mistreated. JAPAN, SWITZERLAND, the US, SOUTH AFRICA and others preferred regulation through a binding amendment of relevant annotations in the Appendices, as in the Swiss proposal on annotations. The FUND FOR ANIMALS INCORPORATED said the absence of a definition creates a loophole for mistreating animals, and, with the BORN FREE FOUNDATION, the INTERNATIONAL WILDLIFE COALITION and the ANIMAL WELFARE INSTITUTE, supported the resolution. Chair Koester invited Kenya to withdraw the resolution. This will be revisited.
RISKS AND BENEFITS OF TRADE IN WILDLIFE: KENYA introduced a draft resolution on the impact of unsustainable trade on wildlife conservation (Doc. 11.27). SOUTH AFRICA opposed, citing national sovereignty over resources. ISRAEL, JAMAICA and BRAZIL supported the resolution and the INTERNATIONAL WILDLIFE COALITION stressed that it aims to address unsustainable trade, but not all trade. The EU, JAPAN, CANADA, CUBA, COLOMBIA and MADAGASCAR opposed the need for such a resolution. Chair Koester invited Kenya to consider withdrawing the resolution. This will be revisited.
IN THE BREEZEWAYS
Central to the debate on ivory trade is whether the 1997 decision allowing Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe a one-off sale to Japan has caused resurgence in elephant poaching. Many delegates are stunned by the low number of poaching incidents reported to the Secretariat since 1997. The figure of 235 contrasts sharply with independent studies conducted that reveal figures closer to 30,000. Some delegates intimate foul play and underestimation by countries who wish to color statistics in support of continuing the ivory trade. Others speculate that reports to the Secretariat were limited due to countries withholding information out of fear of making waves. Several African countries assert that the 1997 decision has resulted in increased poaching and are concerned that the Secretariat's skewed figure will be used to advocate continued ivory trade which could increase international demand for ivory, lead to more poaching and future pressure for ivory trade in range States.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
COMMITTEES: Committee I will reconvene throughout the day and in an evening session in Conference Room 2 and will consider proposals by the Plants and Animals Committees to Appendices I and II. Delegates will continue discussion of working group reports. Committee II will reconvene throughout the day in Conference Room 1 to consider trade in bear specimens. The Budget Committee is expected to meet in the morning in the ICAO room.