Report of main proceedings for 4 October 2004
13th Meeting of the CITES Conference of the Parties (COP13)
Delegates to COP-13 met in committees throughout the day. Committee I considered Appendix I species subject to export quotas, transport of live specimens and rhinoceros conservation and trade. Committee II addressed finance and budgetary matters, and the review of permanent committees.
APPENDIX I SPECIES QUOTAS: Leopard: NAMIBIA presented its proposal to increase its annual export quota from 100 to 250 specimens for leopard hunting trophies and skins (Doc.19.1). He emphasized that the proposal is scientifically based and would benefit local communities. The EU, the US, QATAR, BOTSWANA, SOUTH AFRICA, UGANDA, JAPAN, IWMC-WORLD CONSERVATION TRUST and others supported the proposal, while INDIA opposed the proposal, stressing the need for a precautionary approach and better international trade regulations. FUND FOR ANIMALS opposed the proposal, noting its failure to include the number of specimens shot as a result of conflicts with human activity or by illegal hunting. The proposal was approved.
SOUTH AFRICA introduced its proposal to increase the export quota for leopard from 75 to 150 specimens (Doc.19.2), noting that habitat and populations have increased. INDIA opposed, while the US, the EU, ERITREA, CHILE, MALAYSIA, NIGERIA and others supported the proposal. CAMEROON recommended collaborating with Namibia to improve monitoring. BORN FREE FOUNDATION and FUND FOR ANIMALS opposed the proposal, noting unsustainability and lack of adequate scientific data. TRAFFIC supported the proposal, but suggested South Africa reevaluate its internal tracking system. The proposal was approved.
Black rhinoceros: NAMIBIA presented its proposal to grant an export quota of black rhinoceros hunting trophies (Doc.19.3 and Doc.19.3 Addendum), noting an increase in black rhinoceros populations in Namibia. The EU said the capture should be restricted to five adult males and that trophies should be marked. BENIN, SOUTH AFRICA, JAPAN, ZIMBABWE, TANZANIA, CAMEROON and others supported the proposal, while KENYA, INDIA and SAVE FOUNDATION OF AUSTRALIA opposed. CHAD, NEPAL, NIGERIA, the CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC, PAKISTAN and BORN FREE FOUNDATION expressed reservations, and recommended more time to set up monitoring systems. The proposal was approved with the recommended amendments.
SOUTH AFRICA presented its proposal for a hunting quota of five adult male black rhinoceroses (Doc.19.4). CHINA, the EU, QATAR, JAPAN, SWAZILAND, MALI, ZAMBIA and others supported the proposal, while INDIA and KENYA opposed. MALI, NIGERIA and the CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC proposed to South Africa to translocate the designated five black rhinos to former range States. Questioning how future revenues will benefit conservation and local communities, the WORLD WIDE FUND FOR NATURE (WWF) and TRAFFIC called for reconsidering the proposal at COP-14. BORN FREE FOUNDATION questioned whether trophy hunting is the only way to raise revenue. SAVE FOUNDATION OF AUSTRALIA said allowing for hunting quotas could increase poaching. The proposal was approved with the recommended amendments.
Transport of live specimens: The Secretariat introduced draft decisions on transport of live specimens (Doc.21). He said that: CITES Guidelines for Transport and Preparation for Shipment of Live Wild Animals and Plants are outdated; transport by road, rail and ship needs to be addressed; and that the most recent International Air Transport Association (IATA) Live Animals Regulations might be applicable.
Regarding a proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between CITES, IATA and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), the Secretariat expressed regret that IATA did not endorse the MOU. He said mortality rates during transport are low and that Parties had not submitted mortality data. He suggested a review of Resolution Conf. 10.21 to consider replacing CITES Guidelines with IATA regulations. Peter Linhart (Austria), Chair of the intersessional transport working group, noted that an informal group would convene to discuss consolidating guidelines for transport of live animals and plants.
QATAR, the RUSSIAN FEDERATION, the EU, SENEGAL, MALAYSIA, MALAWI and others supported the draft decisions. Noting mortality rates at the national level, ISRAEL suggested including reference to domestic transport, but SURINAME and TANZANIA opposed. NIGERIA expressed concern regarding effective compliance without an MOU with IATA. Delegates approved the decisions, with an amendment by Jamaica on developing recommendations regarding “preparation” of live animals.
Conservation of and trade in rhinoceroses: The Secretariat presented the document on the conservation of and trade in rhinoceroses (Doc.30 (Rev.1) and Inf.21, 22, 23 and 27), recommending the repeal or amendment of Res. Conf. 9.14 (Rev.). ITALY drew attention to its funding of rhinoceros conservation projects in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). NAMIBIA said available information, including from the IUCN African Rhino Specialist Group, should be used in reporting. MALAYSIA, SWAZILAND and VIETNAM, opposed by the EU, the US, INDIA, MEXICO, SOUTH AFRICA, NEPAL and FUND FOR ANIMALS, supported repealing the resolution to alleviate the reporting burden. Committee I Chair Dublin proposed formulating a draft decision to encourage collaboration between the Secretariat and IUCN on rhinoceros conservation and trade reporting.
Committee II Chair Martin Brasher (UK) informed delegates that discussion on the conservation of and trade in sturgeons and paddlefish had been added to the COP agenda.
FINANCING AND BUDGETING: Financial reports: The Secretariat presented the financial report for 2002-2003 (Doc.8.1 (Rev.1)), noting that outstanding arrears had been substantially reduced. MEXICO said some UN standards regarding assessment of contributions and personnel costs may not be appropriate for CITES, while ARGENTINA said the UN scale of contribution does not reflect its economic realities. The US welcomed the 98% execution of the budget, but said this may cause some constraints. AUSTRALIA noted that this had prevented the Secretariat from hiring staff for some critical areas. Delegates approved the report.
Estimated expenditures: The Secretariat introduced a document on estimated expenditures for 2004-2005 (Doc.8.2 (Rev.1)). The US, supported by MEXICO and AUSTRALIA, said that since funding for intersessional activities had drawn the available reserve in the Trust Fund close to its required minimum, future flexibility may be impaired. FRANCE and SAINT LUCIA cautioned against reducing the budget available for translation. The Secretariat clarified that the savings achieved in 2004 did not compromise translation requirements, and that these savings were reflected in the proposed reduced expenditures for translation. AUSTRALIA expressed concern regarding increases in staff and rent costs. Delegates approved the document.
External funding: The Secretariat introduced a document on external funding (Doc.8.4). CITES Executive Secretary Wijnstekers highlighted difficulties in obtaining external funding, the need to ensure full participation of developing countries and economies in transition, and the exhaustion of funding for the Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) programme. The BAHAMAS, SAINT LUCIA, CHILE, MAURITIUS and UGANDA stressed the need to secure funding for participation of at least two delegates from developing countries at COP meetings. IWMC urged all NGOs to provide unconditional funding for such participation. The US suggested departing from a strict project-based approach and using external funding for CITES’ core work. ARGENTINA expressed concern regarding the decrease in external donors in 2003 and, with CÔTE D’IVOIRE, underscored the importance of financial support to implement the Convention.
Budget for 2006-2008: The Secretariat introduced the Budget for 2006-2008 (Doc.8.3 (Rev.1)). CITES Secretary General Wijnstekers stressed that the proposed 10.3% budget increase to US$15,368,079 does not provide for safeguards and that a zero growth in Party contributions will require cuts in programmes and activities. Delegates established a working group, chaired by Kenneth Stansell (US), to address the budget. ECUADOR and ARGENTINA said the working group should be open ended.
REVIEW OF PERMANENT COMMITTEES: Review of the scientific committees: Australia introduced its proposal to review the scientific committees (Doc.11.1 and Inf.48), stressing the need for cost-efficiency. AC Chair Althaus, PC Chair Clemente and NC Vice-Chair McGough explained that the committees’ costs are relatively low considering their output, and that outsourcing scientific advice may be more expensive. All delegates acknowledged the committees’ significant contribution to CITES’ work, and most opposed their amalgamation. Most delegates supported streamlining the functioning of the committees and evaluating their work. CUBA noted that the committees’ operations are not among the greatest costs, and stressed the need not to affect the quality of the scientific support provided. The US suggested including the NC in the evaluation, and said the overriding principle of the review should be to ensure scientific quality.
INDONESIA stressed difficulties in identifying and funding qualified regional representatives. HUMANE SOCIETY INTERNATIONAL cautioned against confining the committees’ work to purely scientific work. AUSTRALIA clarified that its proposal did not intend to merge the committees. Delegates mandated a working group to prepare terms of reference for the SC to carry out the evaluation and report to COP-14.
Regional communication: PC Chair Clemente introduced proposed amendments to Resolution Conf. 11.1 (Rev.COP 12) (Doc.11.2.) on regional communication and representation in the AC and PC, noting the need to address members’ ability to participate in their meetings and deliver their tasks.
Delegates opposed an amendment noting that the rules of procedure adopted by the SC should be taken into account by the other committees when adopting their rules of procedure. Delegates agreed to address the following issues in the working group established to evaluate the scientific committees: payment of expenses of the SC, AC and PC Chairs, in particular for representatives from developing countries; the need for formal commitments from governments and institutions to secure the necessary means to enable their representatives to undertake their activities; the need for a formal commitment from regional representatives to fulfill their duties; and authorizing the committees to discuss and manage their budgets.
Regarding draft decisions, PC Chair Clemente clarified that the AC and PC should not review the scientific capacity of members to carry out their tasks, but should ensure that they have the necessary financial and technical support to perform their duties. She stressed the need for a formalized process to replace members and alternate members, while the Secretariat noted that such a procedure already exists. Delegates agreed to refer the draft decisions to the working group on scientific committees.
Nomenclature Committee operation: Mexico presented its proposal to revise Resolution Conf. 11.1 and 12.11 on standard nomenclature and the operation of the NC (Doc.11.3). Delegates decided to refer the proposal on Resolution Conf. 11.1 to the working group on the scientific committees.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Delegates wasted no time in tackling the Convention’s precarious financial situation. While many acknowledged CITES’ tight budget and limited external funding, several feared that any increased funding for the 2006-2008 budget would be absorbed predominantly by administrative costs. Some see a Secretariat relocation to a lower cost center as a possible cost-saving measure, but others believe that such a move would not go far enough in loosening up the funds needed for a growing number of Convention activities.