Report of main proceedings for 7 June 2007
14th Meeting of the CITES Conference of the Parties (CoP14)
The fourteenth Conference of the Parties (CoP14) to CITES convened in two committees throughout the day. Several drafting, and working groups also met. Committee I addressed, inter alia, the selection of species for periodic review, and listing proposals for timber species, with the EU withdrawing its proposals on cedar and rosewood. Committee II addressed, inter alia, CITES cooperation with ITTO and FAO, rejecting the establishment of a fishery working group.
PERIODIC REVIEW OF THE APPENDICES: AC Chair Althaus presented the proposal (CoP14 Doc.66). MEXICO proposed specifying selection criteria in the draft resolution, CANADA stressed that selection of species for periodic review should be based on a scientific decision-making process under CITES, and AUSTRALIA advocated a simplified and transparent process. The EU advocated the SC’s close involvement in the selection process, while the US said that existing confusion regarding the SC’s role causes significant delays. A working group was established to be chaired by the US.
LISTING PROPOSALS: Committee I accepted the US proposal on removing Shortia galacifolia (Oconee bells) from Appendix II (CoP14 Prop.28). SWITZERLAND withdrew its proposals on merging and amending annotations (CoP14 Prop.26), and on annotations for Euphorbia spp. included in Appendix II (CoP14 Prop.29), instead proposing draft decisions that refer these matters to the PC. Small drafting groups were established for each. A proposal to amend annotations for various taxa (CoP14 Prop.27), submitted by Switzerland as Depository Government, was approved by consensus with an amendment removing references to Appendix-III species.
Timber species: Hans Hoogeveen, Chair of the seventh session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF7) reported on the outcomes of UNFF7, held in April 2007 in New York, and called for continued CITES and UNFF cooperation towards achieving sustainable forest management.
Cedar: The EU introduced a proposal to list Cedrela odorata (cedar) in Appendix II (CoP14 Prop.33) with additional amendments: providing for an 18-month delay in implementation; restricting the listing to neo-tropical populations; and limiting application to annotation #5 (logs, sawn wood and veneer sheets). Describing cedar as site-sensitive, difficult to propagate, widespread but not common, and vulnerable to overexploitation, he said that the EU is prepared to provide support and capacity building to assist range states with implementation of the listing. NORWAY supported the proposal.
Opposing the proposal: GUYANA said that in his country, cedar exports are minimal and forests are sustainably managed; CUBA said cedar is widely-grown and not endangered; and PERU said the proposal was not based on sound science and did not include social considerations. BRAZIL and COLOMBIA highlighted information gaps and recommended that range states consider an Appendix-III listing. MEXICO, KENYA and CHINA said the proposal lacks range state support, with KENYA adding that cedar is an invasive species in Africa. CANADA stressed that the unique biology of the species should be the guiding criteria for the listing. ECUADOR and INDONESIA highlighted difficulties faced by range states in implementing CITES listings of timber species.
An EU motion to adjourn discussions on the proposal was defeated. The EU then withdrew its listing proposal, and delegates agreed that a working group would develop a draft decision mandating the PC to advance the issue before CoP15. MEXICO suggested that the working group also consider rosewood. ITTO urged parties to consult its experts when developing timber listing proposals.
Rosewood: The EU withdrew its proposals for listing rosewood (Dalbergia retusa and Dalbergia granadillo (CoP14 Prop.31) and Dalbergia stevensonii (CoP14 Prop.32)), on the condition that these species be considered by the working group addressing cedar. The Committee agreed.
Brazil wood: BRAZIL introduced its proposal to list Caesalpinia echinata (Brazil wood) in Appendix II (CoP14 Prop.30), with a new annotation that seeks to exempt finished products such as bows for stringed musical instruments. Several delegates supported the proposal, while the US said the annotation needs to conform to harmonized customs codes. A drafting group will finalize the proposal.
Japanese Yew: Delegates agreed to refer the US proposal to amend annotations for Taxus cuspidata (Japanese yew) (CoP14 Prop.36) to a drafting group.
Orchids: Switzerland’s proposal to amend the annotation to Orchidaceae spp. in Appendix II for the genera Miltonia, Odontoglossum and Oncidium (CoP14 Prop.34) was rejected, failing to achieve a two-thirds majority, with 45 votes in favor and 40 against. The Committee subsequently accepted by consensus two draft decisions on annotation for Orchidaceae spp. included in Appendix II, contained in the PC report (CoP14 Doc.8.3 (Rev.1)), reflecting the rejection of Switzerland’s listing proposal.
A proposal by Switzerland as Depository Government to amend the annotation to Orchidaceae spp. in Appendix II for hybrids of the genera Cymbidium, Dendrobium, Phalaenopsis and Vanda (CoP14 Prop.35) was adopted by consensus.
Slow lorises: CAMBODIA introduced a proposal to transfer the genus Nycticebus (slow lorises) from Appendix II to I (CoP14 Prop.1), saying that Appendix-I listing would significantly reduce illegal trade in this endangered species. Slow loris range states INDIA and INDONESIA supported the proposal. Discussion will continue on Friday.
COOPERATION BETWEEN CITES AND THE ITTO REGARDING TRADE IN TROPICAL TIMBER: The US introduced a draft decision (CoP14 Doc.18.2), highlighting ITTO funds available for capacity building for implementation of CITES listings of timber species. Many parties supported the draft decision, and GREENPEACE, on behalf of SSN and HSI, noted that cooperation should not be a substitute for addressing core issues within CITES itself. Several opposed the Secretariat’s recommendation to consolidate existing cooperation resolutions, and the US, JAPAN and MEXICO opposed the Secretariat’s recommendation for a memorandum of understanding with ITTO. Following informal consultations, the US presented a revised draft decision incorporating minor amendments, which will be considered on Friday.
COOPERATION WITH FAO: The Secretariat introduced the draft decision (CoP14 Doc.18.1), stressing the long history of successful cooperation with FAO, but highlighting a recent disagreement over the findings of the FAO Ad hoc Expert Advisory Panel for the Assessment of Proposals to Amend Appendices I and II regarding proposed listings of commercially-exploited aquatic species. FAO asserted that the CITES Secretariat had “bypassed” CITES criteria (Conf.9.24 (Rev.CoP13)) when evaluating species listing proposals.
CHINA, CHILE, JAPAN, ICELAND, ARGENTINA, the US, NORWAY, DOMINICA, BRAZIL and CANADA opposed the establishment of a fishery working group, with CHILE, supported by BRAZIL, saying that regional fisheries management organizations should address fisheries administration issues. The EU, JAMAICA and NEW ZEALAND supported the group’s establishment. The proposal to establish a fishery working group was rejected, failing to achieve a two-thirds majority, with 46 votes in favor and 34 against.
The US proposed an amendment deleting the reference to “formalizing” cooperation with FAO on forestry and non-timber forest products. CHINA opposed instructing the Secretariat to initiate discussions with FAO, saying that this is a matter for the CoP and SC. Following votes in which parties rejected China’s proposed amendments, the Committee approved the decision, with the US amendment, by 60 votes to 12.
Parties approved by consensus the draft decision instructing the Secretariat to report to CoP15 on progress.
TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR DIALOGUE MEETINGS: The Secretariat introduced this document as presented by the SC (CoP14 Doc.19.1). Delegates discussed the procedure for allowing the participation of observers, and then adopted the rules of procedure for dialogue meetings with several amendments including: approving participation of observers by consensus; having a quorum of two-thirds of range states present at the dialogue; and presenting conclusions to range states for agreement.
REVIEW OF RESOLUTIONS AND DECISIONS: Resolutions relating to Appendix-I species: The Secretariat introduced the proposal to consolidate existing resolutions and decisions relating to Appendix-I species (CoP14 Doc.20.1). Many opposed the proposed consolidation. The EU noted the sensitivity of resolutions relating to Appendix-I species. Parties agreed by consensus to reject the proposed consolidation.
General review of Resolutions: The Secretariat introduced the document (CoP14 Doc.20.2), and invited delegates to also consider transferring the remaining sections of Res. Conf.11.6 (Rev. CoP13 on vicuña) to Res. Conf.12.3 (Rev. CoP13 on permits and certificates). All proposals were adopted, some with minor amendments, including a draft decision directing the SC to review any Secretariat proposals to correct non-substantive errors in resolutions, and decide if they should be forwarded to the CoP.
Review of Decisions: The Secretariat introduced the document (CoP14 Doc.22). The EU proposed and delegates agreed by consensus, to retain Decision 10.2 (Rev. CoP11 on: conditions for elephant ivory stocks). Parties also rejected proposals to delete Decisions 12.90 to 12.93 (Capacity building for Appendix-II voluntary national export quotas), and Decisions 13.14 to 13.17 (Improving regional communication and representation). All other suggestions in the document were agreed.
RANCHING: AC Chair Althaus introduced the document (CoP14 Doc.21) and highlighted the AC’s recommendations to simplify reporting requirements for parties ranching species that have been transferred from Appendix I to II. The EU, with ARGENTINA, supported the proposal and the Secretariat’s suggestions with regard to further streamlining and clarifying the provisions of the resolution. The EU and the US voiced concern about the proposed change to the definition of ranching. The US objected to the AC’s proposal to make certain reporting requirements subject to the Secretariat’s request, noting that some of this information is needed on an annual basis to determine if parties are meeting their obligations. VENEZUELA stressed that the proposal should only apply to local populations, called for a more consistent approach to reporting and, supported by SSN, urged caution in broadening the proposal to other ranched species as it only reflects experience with crocodiles. A working group was established on the issue, to be chaired by the US.
COMPLIANCE AND ENFORCEMENT: National laws for CITES implementation: The Secretariat reported on parties’ progress in implementing national legislation on CITES (CoP14 Doc.24). Delegates will present their comments on Friday.
Strategic Vision Working Group: Chair Maltby (Canada) reported on progress, noting that a document incorporating parties’ comments is currently being considered.
Budget: Chair O’Criodain (Ireland) reported that presentations by the Secretariat on activities and costs were being considered and that the definition of relative priorities vis-à-vis the costed work programme would depend on further work on the strategic vision.
IN THE CORRIDORS
On Thursday, the smoky corridors were abuzz with delegates grappling with the practical challenges of balancing biodiversity conservation and livelihoods when implementing CITES, a debate that one delegate identified as central to CoP14’s biggest issues - the CITES strategic vision, the budget, and some key species listing proposals. One participant from the strategic vision working group was feeling the pressure, pointing out that the budget talks could not get seriously underway until strategic priorities were decided, saying “this places a lot on our shoulders, doesn’t it?”
Meanwhile, discussions on the proposed cedar and rosewood listings took a dramatic turn in Committee I, and clearly demonstrated the sensitivities of touching upon resources that are valuable for communities’ subsistence. The proposed red coral listing also prompted reflections on livelihoods, with one delegate saying that the proposal is provoking the ire of a group of Armani-clad families steeped in a long tradition of artisanal jewelry.