Highlights and images of main proceedings for 21 August 2019

Switzerland

Summary

Highlights for Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Delegates from Ghana speak informally at the start of the day.

In the morning, Committee I of CITES CoP18 began consideration of listing proposals. The first item discussed was the Mulanje cedar, proposed to be listed in Appendix II, given its critically endangered status. The Committee agreed.A proposal to remove North Indian rosewood from Appendix II was opposed because of the look-alike issues that arise in identifying the species of traded wood products.Canada and the EU introduced a proposal on Rosewoods, Palisanders and Bubingas, with the EU explaining that the proposal maintains an exemption for small finished products, while addressing the implementation challenge associated with differentiating commercial and non-commercial exports, and applies the maximum weight of wood for small finished products to single items rather than to shipments.Senegal, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Russian Federation, Tanzania, Republic of Korea, and Indonesia supported the revisions. Several countries expressed concern about the introduction of an exemption for finished products to a maximum weight of 500g per item.Committee I established a drafting group to develop further revisions.The agenda of Committee II was, in the words of Chair Craig Hoover, a “big gray day” as delegates considered agenda items on elephant and rhino.Many expressed confidence in the Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) process, though Burkina Faso and Kenya, supported by several African countries and Israel, expressed concern about the independence and transparency of the analysis, calling for an open and transparent peer-review of MIKE’s methodology.Similarly, several transit countries, such as Singapore and UAE, and others questioned the transparency of the Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) methodology and categorization process, while China and DRC lamented the report’s neglect of their domestic efforts to combat the illegal trade in ivory.Kenya then presented the document concerning proposed amendments to resolution Conference 10.10 (Rev. CoP17) on the closure of domestic ivory markets, with a view to closing all remaining legal domestic ivory markets.Gabon, Burkina Faso, and other member states of the African Elephant Coalition, with Israel, supported the proposal and emphasized that legal domestic ivory markets drive demand, complicate enforcement efforts and are linked to poaching and the illegal ivory trade.
Namibia, eSwatini, and other southern African countries expressed strong opposition, stressing that there was no evidence of a link between legal domestic markets and poaching. They questioned the value of re-opening the issue of domestic markets given the extensive debates and compromise achieved at CoP17. Thailand supported the view that closure of all domestic markets was unnecessary, citing, as an example, its own successful implementation of a National Ivory Action Plan (NIAP).Chile, EU and Japan and several others noted that this proposal falls outside the scope of the Convention and might pave the way for similar restrictive measures to be adopted for the legal domestic markets of other CITES-listed species.The US also opposed the proposed amendments, underscoring that focus should remain on assisting parties in effectively implementing Resolution Conference 10.10 in its current form, but acknowledged the importance of monitoring the impact of these markets.Delegates in Committee II then began a lengthy debate on rhino issues before calling it a day, and moving on to Bureau and working group meetings with their colleagues from Committee I.

IISD Reporting Services, through its ENB Meeting Coverage, provided daily web coverage and a summary and analysis report from CITES CoP18.

Photos by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth

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Committee I: Species-Specific Matters
View of the plenary from the dais.
Ngawang Gyeltshen, Bhutan
Mauro Gongora, Belize
Duangduen Sripotar, Thailand
Manal Bihery, Sudan
Naing Zaw Htun, Myanmar
Clement Chilima, Malawi
Josef Schmuck, Document Center for Species Protection
Margarita Clemente, International University of Andalusia (UNIA) Masters
Delegates vote on whether to delist North Indian rosewood.
The proposal to delist North Indian rosewood fails, as two thirds of parties vote no.
David Newton, TRAFFIC
Colman O'Criodain, WWF
Gopal Prakash Bhattarai, Nepal
Cindy Squires, International Wood Product Association
Committee II: Interpretation and Implementation Matters
Plenary is full as delegates begin discussions on the implementation of elephant-related provisions.
Benoit Doamba, Burkina Faso
Kailash Chandra, India
Sonja Meintjes, South Africa
Bill Clark, Israel
CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero thanks Tom Milliken, TRAFFIC, for his nearly 40 years of committment to the protection of species.
Seyni Abdoul-Aziz, Niger
Patrick Omondi, Kenya
Pamela Scruggs, US
Mick Reilly, eSwatini
Tamar Ron, Angola
Jorge Rodríguez Romero, EU
Cyril Taolo, Botswana
Chheang Dany, Cambodia
Interpreters during the session.
Third Global Meeting of the Wildlife Enforcement Networks
Marcia Bernicat, US Department of State, and CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero open the third global meeting of the Wildlife Enforcement Networks.
Delegates gather for the first day of the two-day meeting. The meeting included discussions on enhancing guidelines for establishing and strengthening wildlife enforcement networks, and self-assessment tools.
CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero
Marcia Bernicat, US Department of State
Around the Venue
Delegates arrive at the meeting.
Delegates speak informally between sessions.
D.J. Schubert, Animal Welfare Institute, speaks with Mark Simmonds, Humane Society International.
Luisa Corbetta and Federico Castrogiovanni, Italy
Delegates from the Namibia Nature Foundation.
Delegates from Zimbabwe.

Participants

Negotiating blocs
European Union