Summary report, 23–27 July 2012
62nd Meeting of the CITES Standing Committee
The sixty-second meeting of the Standing Committee (SC62) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) convened from 23-27 July 2012 in Geneva, Switzerland. The Committee addressed a particularly heavy agenda, including: financial matters; relationship with the UN Environment Programme, focusing on instances of non-compliance with its memorandum of understanding with CITES; cooperation with other organizations; livelihoods; compliance and enforcement; and species trade and conservation, with discussions focusing on elephants, rhinos and tigers, among others.
Approximately 350 participants from national governments, intergovernmental organizations, and non-governmental organizations attended the meeting. The Standing Committee made progress on a package of measures on elephant conservation, in an attempt to tackle the entire ivory trade chain and consider both short- and longer-term measures. The Committee also agreed on measures to address the rhino crisis and on reporting on captive breeding of tigers, and endorsed a draft recommendation on livelihoods and guidelines for cooperation with the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas. Delegates also made progress on introduction from the sea. Notwithstanding its hard work, the Committee left several items for consideration at SC63 that will meet for one day immediately prior to the Conference of the Parties meeting in March 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF CITES
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora was established as a response to growing concerns that over-exploitation of wildlife through international trade was contributing to the rapid decline of many species of plants and animals around the world. The Convention was signed by representatives from 80 countries in Washington, DC, US, on 3 March 1973, and entered into force on 1 July 1975. There are currently 175 parties to the Convention.
The aim of CITES is to ensure that international trade in wild animal and plant species does not threaten their survival. CITES parties regulate wildlife trade through controls and regulations on species listed in three appendices. Appendix I lists species threatened with extinction, and trade is permitted only in exceptional circumstances. Appendix II includes species that may become endangered if their trade is not regulated. International trade in specimens of Appendix II species may be authorized by the granting of an export permit, provided that trade is not detrimental to the survival of the species in the wild. Appendix III includes species at the request of a party that already regulates trade and needs the cooperation of other parties to prevent unsustainable or illegal exploitation.
In order to list a species in Appendix I or II, a party needs to submit a proposal for approval by the Conference of the Parties (CoP), supported by scientific and technical data on population and trade trends. The proposal must be adopted by a two-thirds majority of parties present and voting. As the trade impact on a species increases or decreases, the CoP decides whether or not the species should be transferred among or removed from the appendices. There are approximately 5,000 fauna species and 29,000 flora species protected under the three CITES appendices. Parties regulate the international trade of CITES species through a system of permits and certificates that are required before specimens listed in the Convention’s appendices are imported, exported or introduced from the sea. Each party is required to adopt national legislation and to designate two national authorities, namely a Management Authority responsible for issuing permits and certificates based on the advice of the second national body, the Scientific Authority. These two national authorities also assist with CITES enforcement through cooperation with customs, police and other appropriate agencies.
Parties maintain trade records that are forwarded annually to the CITES Secretariat, thus enabling the compilation of statistical information on the global volume of international trade in appendix-listed species. The operational bodies of CITES include the Standing Committee (SC) and two scientific committees: the Plants Committee (PC) and the Animals Committee (AC). The CoP meets every two to three years to, inter alia: review progress in the conservation of species included in the appendices; discuss and adopt proposals to amend the lists of species in Appendices I and II; consider recommendations and proposals from parties, the Secretariat, the SC and the scientific committees; and recommend measures to improve the effectiveness of the Convention and the functioning of the Secretariat.
CoP14: This meeting convened from 3-15 June 2007, in The Hague, the Netherlands, and considered 70 agenda items and 37 proposals to amend the CITES appendices. CoP14 adopted resolutions and decisions directed to parties, the Secretariat and the Convention’s committees, on a wide range of topics, including: the CITES Strategic Vision 2008-2013; a guide to compliance with the Convention; management of annual export quotas; and species trade and conservation issues, including Asian big cats, sharks and sturgeons. Regarding species listings, CoP14 decided to list: slenderhorned and Cuvier’s gazelles, slow loris, and six species of sawfish on Appendix I; and Brazil wood, freshwater sawfish and the European eel on Appendix II. It also amended the annotation on African elephants to allow a one-off sale of ivory from Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe with a nine-year resting period for further ivory trade.
CoP15: This meeting convened from 13-25 March 2010, in Doha, Qatar. CoP15 adopted resolutions and decisions on a wide range of topics including: electronic permitting; Asian big cats; rhinoceroses; bigleaf mahogany; and Madagascar plant species. Regarding species listings, CoP15 decided to list in appendices: Kaiser’s spotted newt, five species of tree frogs, the unicorn beetle, rosewood, holywood, and several Madagascar plant species, among others. Parties rejected proposals to list Bluefin tuna, shark species, polar bears and corals.
SC60: Held on 25 March 2010, immediately after CoP15, SC60 agreed to: recommend a suspension of trade with Madagascar of Nile crocodile specimens until 30 September 2010; and reconvene the Monitoring Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE)/Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) Subgroup with Botswana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Japan, Mali, Uganda, the US and the UK.
PC19: This meeting (18-21 April 2011, Geneva, Switzerland) adopted recommendations on the PC work plan, non-detriment findings (NDFs), the periodic review and amendments to the appendices and the Review of Significant Trade (RST); and established seven intersessional working groups, including on NDFs, the periodic review, annotations and climate change.
AC25: This meeting (18-22 July 2011, Geneva, Switzerland) adopted recommendations on: the Biodiversity Indicators Partnership; the periodic review; the RST; ranching; identification of CITES-listed corals in trade; progress on the Identification Manual; production systems; and species including sturgeons, sharks, snakes, turtles, tortoises, and sea cucumbers. The Committee agreed on twelve intersessional working groups, some jointly with the PC, including on sturgeons, sharks, sea cucumbers, and criteria for listing.
SC61: This meeting (15-19 August 2011, Geneva, Switzerland) agreed to a number of recommendations, including on: the Report on the working group on revising the agreement between the CITES SC and the Executive Director of UN Environment Programme (UNEP); conducting a study on the rationale and history of the rules applying to votes by secret ballot at the CoP; the adoption of national laws for the implementation of the Convention; RST; enforcement matters; elephant management and conservation; and Asian big cats. It also established several intersessional working groups, to report back to SC62.
AC26: The meeting (15-20 March 2012, Geneva, Switzerland) adopted recommendations on: RST in specimens of Appendix-II species; the periodic review of animal species included in the CITES appendices; reports from Caspian Sea range states on the evaluation of sturgeon stock assessment and Total Allowable Catch determination methodology; implementation of Resolution Conf. 12.6 (Rev. CoP15) on conservation and management of sharks; and the report of the working group on sea cucumbers.
JOINT MEETING OF THE AC AND PC: The meeting (22-24 March 2012, Dublin, Ireland) adopted recommendations on: the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES); the report of the joint working group on climate change; the Evaluation of RST; and NDFs, including draft guidance on the making of NDFs.
PC20: Held from 26-30 March 2012 also in Dublin, the meeting adopted recommendations on: the progress report on strategic planning; the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD); the review of Resolution 14.8 (Periodic Review of the Appendices); annotations; RST in seven species of medicinal and aromatic plants; timber issues; the periodic review of plant species included in the CITES appendices; bigleaf mahogany and other neotropical timber species; timber species, medicinal plants and agarwood-producing species; annotations; and proposals for possible consideration at CoP16.
UN CONFERENCE ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: This meeting, also referred to as Rio+20 (20-22 June 2012, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) recognized the important role of CITES as an international agreement that stands at the intersection between trade, environment and development; promotes the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity; should contribute to tangible benefits for local people; and ensures that no species entering into international trade is threatened with extinction. The meeting further recognized the economic, social and environmental impacts of illicit trafficking in wildlife where firm and strengthened action needs to be taken on both the supply and demand sides; emphasized the importance of effective international cooperation among relevant multilateral environmental agreements and international organizations; and stressed the importance of basing the listing of species on agreed criteria.
On Monday morning, 23 July 2012, SC Chair Øystein Størkersen (Norway) opened the meeting, emphasizing: the record number of international organization observers registered for the meeting; continued challenges concerning national legislation, enforcement and the dramatic increase in elephant and rhino poaching; and the need for innovative solutions in prioritizing tasks for the Secretariat and tackling its funding and staffing needs.
CITES Secretary-General John Scanlon highlighted intergovernmental support for CITES in 2012, including at Rio+20, and the need to scale up enforcement and financing. He also reported on the Secretariat’s generation over the past year of US$12 million for implementation activities, including the first Global Environment Facility (GEF)-funded project related to CITES implementation; and pointed to the agenda item on the possibility for the GEF to serve as the Convention’s financial mechanism.
Egypt drew attention to trends highlighted at Rio+20 and linkages to the CITES agenda, including the need for institutional reform, green economy and sustainable consumption and production; and noted that increasing awareness of the economics of wildlife could assist with law enforcement problems.
The Standing Committee then adopted the meeting’s agenda (SC62 Doc. 3). On the working programme (SC62 Doc. 4), the North America representative requested that the item on the relationship with UNEP be considered on Friday, due to late submission of the UNEP report (SC62 Doc. 8.1). The working programme was approved with this amendment. The SC then noted the document on admission of observers (SC62 Doc.7).
This report summarizes discussions on all the agenda items of SC62.
RULES OF PROCEDURE: On Monday, the Secretariat presented a suggested amendment to SC Rule 21 (SC62 Doc. 5) related to the provision of printed copies of meeting documents only to those SC members and alternate members who request them, which was accepted.
The Secretariat also requested confirmation that the current practice of allowing visitors is acceptable. The Oceania representative drew attention to the CoP Rules of Procedure providing that CoP meetings are open to the public. Japan expressed concern that unlimited access to visitors may cause confusion and security issues. The UK, for the European Union (EU) and its Member States, proposed differentiating between observers, who need accreditation and have participation rights, and visitors, such as local students, who usually do not have credentials and can be present but not engage in the meeting’s proceedings. The Secretariat explained that visitors have no right to speak according to the SC rules of procedure, and it was agreed that the practice may continue.
Outcome: The SC adopted the amendment to Rule 21 providing and distributing printed copies of meeting documents only to those SC members and alternate members who request them, following their placement on the website; and confirmed that visitors should continue to be allowed to attend SC meetings.
RELATIONSHIP WITH UNEP: UNEP report: On Friday morning, UNEP reported on collaboration with the CITES Secretariat (SC62 Doc. 8.1). The US called for a future report to address: UNEP’s use of the 33% of the funding it retains from CITES’ programme support costs; the relationship between UNEP and CITES, including financial transfers and allocation, and administrative challenges; legal and financial difficulties surrounding removal of the two translators’ posts; and regional activities. Japan stressed the need for a progress report on compliance regarding the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between UNEP and CITES.
South Africa, for the steering committee of the UNEP-administered African Elephant Fund, regretted UNEP’s response regarding lack of secretarial support, suggesting that UNEP consider utilizing the 7% of funding it retains for programme support to provide secretarial support. She said a job description will be submitted to the UNEP Executive Director, adding that in case of a negative response, options be explored to transfer the fund’s administration to the CITES Secretariat. UNEP confirmed that 7% of the programme support cost would be used for the fund management and said possible options will be explored within the limits of UN financial rules.
Secretary-General Scanlon acknowledged progress on the programmatic relationship with UNEP but personal disappointment with respect to the MoU implementation with regard to administration and issues relating to the African elephant fund.
Decisions of the UNEP Governing Council: On Friday morning, Secretary-General Scanlon presented the document (SC62 Doc. 8.2), highlighting UNEP Governing Council’s Decision SS.XII/3 (international environmental governance), including text on synergies. The EU said national biodiversity strategies and action plans (NBSAPs) provide a good mechanism to ensure synergies between biodiversity-related multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), stressing that the CoP should remain in full control of any synergy-related initiative. The SC noted the report.
Switzerland reported from the SC finance and budget subcommittee (SC62 Doc. 9.1 and FBSC/SC62 Doc. 1), highlighting a number of instances where UNEP failed to comply with the terms of the MoU and noting that the CITES Secretariat is entitled to accrued programme support costs funds dating back to 2001, which UNEP has refused to release.
Outcome: The SC expressed concern regarding implementation of the MoU, requesting the UNEP Executive Director to ensure that UNEP fully complies with it; expressed the firm opinion that the CITES Secretariat is entitled to accrued programme support costs funds; and tasked the SC Chair to request UNEP to allocate all programme support costs funds accrued from June 2001 to 31 August 2011 to the CITES Secretariat (FBSC/SC62 Doc. 1).
FINANCIAL MATTERS: On Friday morning, Secretary-General Scanlon called delegates’ attention to the budget position of the Secretariat in the 2014-2016 cycle, highlighting that five of the 19 core budget-funded staff members will retire between CoP16 and CoP17, but that no budget increase will be proposed due to the global economic climate, notwithstanding CITES increased membership, the transformation of the SC into “a mini-CoP” in terms of participation and media relevance, and the unique work of the Convention on compliance. The SC took note of the financial report for 2011 (SC62 Doc. 9.1) and the costed work programme for 2012-2013 (SC62 Doc. 9.2), noting, among other things, the Secretariat’s resource constraints in implementing the work programme.
The SC then considered the recommendations of the finance and budget subcommittee presented by Switzerland (FBSC/SC62 Doc. 1). With regard to the budgetary situation and the suggested preparation of a “zero real growth budget scenario” and a “zero nominal growth budget scenario” for CoP16 consideration, Japan and Mexico supported the latter.
The EU suggested differentiating between high, medium- and low-priority activities, with high-priority receiving core funding. He supported a minimum annual contribution and parties seconding staff to Secretariat posts. Mexico suggested an assessment of cost-effectiveness of external versus in-house translation, as well as minimum annual contributions by parties, and examination of Secretariat travel policies and consideration of a change of host country for the Secretariat.
Secretary-General Scanlon clarified that the core budget essentially covers salary costs, noting that “radical options” would need to be examined if the Secretariat is reduced to 14 members, such as merging with another MEA Secretariat.
Outcome: The SC endorsed the recommendations of the finance and budget subcommittee, including that the Secretariat: prepare for CoP16 a “zero real growth budget scenario” for the triennium 2014-2016 as well as a “zero nominal growth budget scenario,” and make an assessment of the consequences for the operation of the Secretariat; and undertake a comparative analysis on minimum annual contributions with other conventions and on observer fees. The SC also recommended that the finance and budget subcommittee become a permanent subcommittee (FBSC/SC62 Doc. 1).
Access to finance, including GEF funding: On this item, the EU highlighted the role of national authorities in prioritizing CITES in their NBSAPs.
Outcome: The SC took note of the document (SC62 Doc. 9.2), including the Secretariat’s intention to propose at CoP16 to request the GEF to serve as CITES’ financial mechanism and to enhance GEF biodiversity focal areas by including a species-specific component, and the Secretariat’s activities to explore innovative finance options for implementing CITES.
African Elephant Fund: On Tuesday, the Secretariat reported on the establishment of the African Elephant Fund and its steering committee (SC62 Doc. 9.5), noting that, following SC61, additional pledges included US$128,000 from the UK, US$25,000 from South Africa, and US$200,000 from China.
Uganda and several other African delegates drew attention to increasing poaching levels in Africa, acknowledging steps taken and urging further contributions. Cameroon described the major poaching incident involving the killing of close to 450 elephants in Bouba Ndjida National Park in the north of the country, as well as steps taken to: secure national parks; increase the capacity of guards through military training; and strengthen collaboration in the sub-region. India expressed hope that Asian range states consider a similar plan of action, and drew attention to their initiative aiming to bring together African and Asian elephant range states for a meeting to be held in 2013.
Kenya underscored the Fund’s first priority objective of reducing the level of illegal killings, with all approved projects focusing on law enforcement, and requested the Secretariat to liaise with UNEP to accelerate the signing of contracts for the projects to move forward. South Africa called on parties to consider seconding government officials to support the committee and secure funds for translation.
The Democratic Republic of Congo urged organizing a high-level conference in Central Africa. Germany lamented that elephant poaching levels have reached the highest level in a decade, mirroring increased sales of ivory in consumer states. Highlighting poaching by large, military armed groups, and the need for high-level commitment by range states and consumer and transit countries, she drew attention to a motion submitted by Germany and partners to the upcoming IUCN World Conservation Congress in September 2012 to organize a high-level meeting to forward recommendations to states and the CITES CoP.
Noting they are currently evaluating whether they can contribute to the fund, the US drew attention to their national conservation funds on African and Asian elephants. The World Bank’s Global Tiger Initiative presented experience of relevance to the African Elephant Fund. The SC noted the document.
COP MEETINGS: This item was discussed on Monday.
Structure and length of future meetings: The Secretariat introduced the document (SC62 Doc. 10.1), noting general support for reducing the overall length of CoP meetings by one day. He presented options for achieving this, including extending the length of the working day and increasing the amount of work done in working groups. The Central and South America and Caribbean representative and several African countries emphasized that increasing the number of working groups would put strain on developing countries with small delegations.
Outcome: The SC agreed to: propose that the second week of CoP16 be four days only, as a trial run; and review the operation of CoP16 at SC65, on the basis of a financial analysis by the Secretariat to determine any cost savings. The Committee also noted the view that the change of structure of CoPs should not result in more work being done in working groups, as this could disadvantage small delegations.
Arrangements for CoP16: Thailand presented a report on preparations for CoP16 (SC62 Doc. 10.2.1). The Secretariat introduced the first draft of the provisional agenda for CoP16 (SC62 Doc. 10.2.2) and the work programme (SC62 Doc. 10.2.3).
On the CoP Rules of Procedure (SC62 Doc. 10.2.4), the Secretariat highlighted a number of proposed amendments. The EU, the North America representative and Species Survival Network (SSN) supported the proposed amendments to Rules 20 and 21 (submission and procedure for deciding on draft resolutions and other documents), and with Kuwait, Rule 25 (methods of voting). Several participants expressed concern about the proposed amendments to Rule 23.6 (where two or more proposals relate to the same taxon, but are different in substance, the CoP shall first decide on the proposal that will have the least restrictive effect on the trade), with the US proposing instead considering first proposals with “the greatest scope of effect.” Canada opposed, urging a strict application of the criteria rather than a step-by-step process.
On Monday afternoon, delegates agreed to nominate: Carolina Caceres (Canada) as Chair of Committee I; Robert Gabel (US) as Chair of Committee II; and Zhou Zhihua (China) as Chair of the Credentials Committee. The Secretariat then reported on the sponsored delegates project (SC62 Doc. 10.2.6). Chair Størkersen encouraged parties to urgently increase donations to reach the target of US$1 million to ensure full party representation at CoP16. The Secretariat explained that the proposal aimed to harmonize the approach with the one on the provision of support for committee members. IUCN reported difficulties in fundraising for the detailed analysis usually undertaken by IUCN and TRAFFIC of proposals to amend appendices at the CoP.
Outcome: The SC approved without comment the draft provisional agenda and working programme for CoP16; supported amendments to Rules of Procedure 20, 21 and 25.1 (on displaying individual votes of all parties on a screen for all participants to see immediately after a vote, other than votes taken by secret ballot), as suggested by the Secretariat (SC62 Doc. 10.2.4), for CoP16 consideration; and requested the Secretariat to take into account interventions in preparing the document for CoP16 consideration.
Improving transparency of voting: The Secretariat introduced the relevant documentation (SC62 Doc. 10.3), including a review of the use of secret ballots since CoP10. The EU expressed the intention to make a proposal to CoP16 to review the way in which secret ballots are decided upon, stating that the current rule setting the threshold at 10 parties supporting a secret ballot is “wrong.” The North America representative proposed: following Rule 25.2 of the CoP Rules of Procedure so that the secret ballot will be used only exceptionally for substantive matters; supported by Switzerland, Kenya and Mexico, raising the threshold to one-third of the parties present at the CoP; and prohibiting the vote to take a secret ballot by secret ballot. Mexico, supported by Chile, Kenya and Canada, recommended tabling the proposal on amending the threshold for CoP16.
Colombia supported setting specific criteria to limit the use of secret ballot for administrative matters. India and Chile noted that the 10-party threshold does not fairly reflect the increased membership of the Convention. Mexico highlighted the heavy use of the secret ballot in relation to marine species and elephants. Kenya, supported by Canada, emphasized the need for transparency and science-based decision-making.
Botswana, on behalf of the African region, urged retaining parties’ right to engage in secret ballot, with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Japan and Kuwait underscoring its usefulness to guarantee that parties decide free from the pressure of the plenary. China preferred retaining the current system. The Central and South America and the Caribbean representative and the Oceania representative noted that their regions had not reached a consensus position on the issue and wished to continue discussions at CoP16. The SC noted the document and that EU Member States were considering the submission of a proposal to amend the CoP Rules of Procedure in relation to the use of secret ballots.
PROVISION OF SUPPORT FOR COMMITTEE MEMBERS: On Monday afternoon, the Secretariat introduced the document (SC62 Doc. 11) setting out different options for deciding which countries are developed. Argentina, with Indonesia, opposed recommending using the G-20 membership as a possible criterion. Switzerland, supported by Indonesia, cautioned against using the membership of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The Central African Republic preferred soliciting further comments from parties before taking a decision.
Outcome: The SC requested the Secretariat to use its discretion in deciding which members of the CITES permanent committees should be supported to participate in meetings using the CITES Trust Fund.
SCIENTIFIC COMMITTEE REPORTS: On Thursday, AC Chair Carlos Ibero Solana (Spain) orally reported on the outcomes of AC26 and the joint meeting of the AC/PC in Dublin, Ireland, in March 2012. He noted a subsequent meeting of a consultative working group on the evaluation of the RST, which identified a series of key areas including that the RST needs to be proportionate, transparent and simple, and build the capacity of scientific authorities to carry out NDFs. On wildlife trade and diseases, he proposed that the SC request that the AC be upgraded from “core affiliate” to “partner” status on the Scientific Task Force on Wildlife Diseases of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). PC Chair Margarita Clemente (Spain) presented her oral report, highlighting that the joint AC26/PC20 meeting adopted a draft resolution on NDFs, explaining the Secretariat is preparing a notification requesting parties to consider this document for tabling at CoP16. She outlined the outcomes of PC20, including debates on agarwood that resulted in a series of recommendations, with some consensus on plantations and adoption of a definition of artificial reproduction in the case of plantations, and an indication that some parties will put forward proposals on agarwood to CoP16.
On potential conflicts of interest of committee members, AC Chair Solana reported that specific allegations have been raised in relation to a member of the Animals Committee for the first time in CITES history. He called upon SC62 to report to CoP16 about recent events and propose a solution.
Outcome: The Committee endorsed the AC proposal that the Secretariat’s status in the CMS/FAO Task Force on Wildlife Diseases be changed to “observer” or “partner”; and agreed that the SC reconsider its implementation of Decision 15.9 at SC63 on conflict of interest in Scientific Committees on the basis of a document to be prepared by the Secretariat.
IMPLEMENTATION OF CITES VISION 2008-2013: On Monday, Secretary-General Scanlon drew attention to a draft revised strategic vision (SC62 Doc. 13), highlighting that the strategic vision was revised in line with the CBD Aichi Biodiversity Targets and its validity extended to 2020.
The SC expressed support for the draft and for extending the vision to 2020. The US expressed concern about extending the vision without first performing an implementation assessment. Israel and Mexico highlighted the need for extending the vision, but agreed that an assessment would be useful. Colombia called for increased links between the CITES strategic vision and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. Israel proposed deleting a reference to CITES’ contribution to “achieving globally agreed goals and targets” under the strategic vision’s goals. Secretary-General Scanlon proposed, and delegates agreed, to specify “relevant” goals and targets. The SC supported the revised and extended vision.
Outcome: The SC requested the Secretariat to revise for CoP16 consideration the draft revised strategic vision 2008-2020, which, inter alia, takes into account the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the promotion of the development of a green economy, and agreed to the recommendations of the working group on special reporting requirements that the biennial report format be rewritten to focus more closely on the strategic vision and data collection for its indicators.
COOPERATION WITH OTHER ORGANIZATIONS: On Monday afternoon, Secretary-General Scanlon introduced this agenda item, highlighting that the approach to cooperation focuses on advancing the CITES mandate.
CBD: On cooperation with the CBD (SC62 Doc. 14.2), the Secretariat urged parties to get involved in NBSAPs as one way of accessing GEF funds. The EU encouraged the Secretariat to consider the resolution adopted by CoP11 of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, recognizing the contribution of the Convention towards the achievements of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and adopting adjustments to the Ramsar Convention Strategic Plan 2009-2015 (CoP11 DR.3 Rev.1). Chair Størkersen confirmed the Secretariat is looking into this. Mexico noted that NBSAPs attract modest funds under the GEF and stressed integration projects between parties to access funds. Secretary-General Scanlon noted ongoing work with CMS on connecting species-based to ecosystem-based approaches and vice versa in the lead-up to CBD CoP11 in October 2012. The SC noted the report.
CMS: The Secretariat presented the document (SC62 Doc. 14.3), highlighted the CITES/CMS rolling joint programme of work and noted that the revised 2012-14 programme of work had been approved by the CMS SC. CMS reported on: CMS COP10 listing on CMS Appendix II of the CITES-listed saker falcon (excluding the Mongolian populations) and Argali sheep, and the CITES-CMS coordinated action plan on the saker falcon. She also noted that three CMS-listed shark species are listed on CITES Appendix II.
The EU underscored the need to keep the joint work programme under review, and suggested including by-catch in the areas for cooperation. Israel suggested including the MoU on raptors in the work plan. The North America representative cautioned that Secretariat efforts should be limited to CITES-related items.
Outcome: SC62 endorsed the CITES-CMS joint work programme 2012-2014, which includes: harmonization of taxonomy and nomenclature activities; joint actions for the conservation and sustainable use of shared species, including African elephant, sharks, Saiga antelope, marine turtles, snow leopard and gorillas among others; administrative and fund-raising cooperation; outreach and capacity building; and strengthening existing cooperation between the secretariats of biodiversity-related conventions.
FAO: Secretary-General Scanlon introduced the document (SC62 Doc. 14.4), expressing the hope that the SC would adopt the redrafted memorandum of cooperation in the areas of biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of relevance to food and agriculture, fisheries, forestry and wildlife contained in Annex I. The FAO welcomed broadening of the scope of cooperation with CITES.
The North America representative expressed concern that the memorandum goes beyond the CoP15 mandate, calling for a focus on forestry issues, recommending extensive redrafting and drawing attention to the draft memorandum submitted by the US. Israel supported extensive redrafting, cautioning against the reference to “socioeconomic and legal issues related to the listing of species” in Annex I. Canada favored consideration of the memorandum proposed by the US. The EU supported the revised memorandum contained in Annex I, suggesting that the concerns related to forestry be added. He also noted that, in due course, FAO and CITES should consider the issue of by-catch.
Outcome: The SC agreed to establish a working group to advance work on this issue and report to SC63.
IPBES: On Thursday afternoon, the Secretariat introduced the report on IPBES (SC62 Doc. 14.5). She informed that UNEP has sought CITES input, with deadlines of August and September 2012, and that a draft document is under preparation. Mexico, supported by Colombia and the EU, noted the need to determine the status of participation of UN bodies and intergovernmental organizations and proposed that the SC renew the mandate of the scientific committees and the Secretariat to contribute to the development of IPBES and ensure due representation of CITES in this process. The SC established a working group and on Friday, Mexico introduced draft conclusions.
Outcome: The SC endorsed the conclusions (SC62 Com. 6) and established an intersessional working group, including the AC and PC Chairs and the Secretariat, to prepare a draft resolution or decisions, as appropriate, for CoP16 consideration to:address the contribution that parties and Convention bodies could make to reinforcing linkages between CITES and IPBES;propose ways in which CITES may make requests to IPBES to prepare reports and for deciding CITES priorities in this regard;and review the agreed IPBES work programme following the IPBES plenary and make proposals to CoP16 for CITES engagement.
ICCAT: The SC addressed the draft guidelines for cooperation between the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) and CITES, already adopted by ICCAT (SC62 Doc. 14.6). Japan stressed ICCAT is the only intergovernmental organization with responsibility on tuna in the Atlantic.
Outcome: The SC endorsed the Guidelines for cooperation between ICCAT and CITES, which among others, encourage the ICCAT and CITES Secretariats to: invite each other to participate as observers in meetings of common interest; communicate and share information on issues and species of common interest; facilitate communication and collaboration among national representatives to ICCAT and national CITES authorities; and provide each other with information to improve parties’ understanding of their respective role and objectives.
International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime: On Monday afternoon, the Secretariat introduced the report (SC62 Doc. 14.7), drawing attention to the imminent launch, during SC62, of the Consortium’s Wildlife and Forest Crime Analytic Toolkit. India expressed concern about the toolkit’s enforcement indicators, noting that implementation should be left to countries’ discretion. The SC noted the report and supported use of the Toolkit.
WTO: The Secretariat reported on efforts to gain observer status to the World Trade Organization Committees on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures and Technical Barriers to Trade, noting that requests are still pending. The SC noted the oral report of the Secretariat.
COOPERATION BETWEEN PARTIES AND PROMOTION OF MULTILATERAL MEASURES: On Tuesday afternoon, South Africa introduced the report of the working group on multilateral measures (SC62 Doc. 15), calling attention to the proposed definition of “stricter domestic measures” and the creation of an inventory of current stricter domestic measures to inform national authorities and traders.
The Secretariat noted the possibility of using the CITES website to establish country pages on stricter national measures and updatable by parties. The US recommended that parties make information on stricter domestic measures available on a voluntary basis. Argentina and Mexico supported the establishment of an inventory. World Conservation Trust (IWMC) cautioned that an inventory would need constant updates and could possibly mislead traders.
Japan, Kuwait, the Oceania representative and Colombia supported the proposed definition of stricter domestic measures. Israel, the US and Humane Society International cautioned against limiting the Convention’s provision on stricter domestic measures through a definition.
Japan supported the continuation of the working group. The US and India preferred to discontinue it, with India questioning “the assessment of the scope of multilateral CITES processes that reduce the need by parties for recourse to stricter domestic measures.” Chair Størkersen noted that the working group was mandated by CoP15 to continue its work until CoP17.
Outcome: The SC accepted the terms of reference for a consultancy on multilateral measures, including to give examples of stricter domestic measures, which mean solely for the purposes of the consultancy, and not for the purpose of serving as a definition of measures provided under CITES Article XIV.1(a) (effect on domestic measures), domestic measures (legislation, regulation, decrees, policies, directives, notices, etc.) adopted by a party regarding conditions or restrictions of international trade, taking, possession or transport of specimens of species included in the appendices, or their complete prohibition, which extend over and above CITES requirements for that species. A footnote states that the definition is intended to encompass only those stricter measures with strong relevance to the conservation of the species through the mitigation of impacts of international trade. The SC agreed that it would be useful for the Secretariat to initiate a portal or web-based system for parties to provide information on their stricter domestic measures on a voluntary basis, and recommended that the working group be continued until CoP17.
CITES AND LIVELIHOODS: On Tuesday afternoon, Peru presented the report of the working group on CITES and livelihoods (SC62 Doc. 16), noting work on the toolkit for the rapid assessment at the national level of the positive and negative impacts of implementing CITES listing decisions on the livelihoods of the poor, and the voluntary guidelines for parties to address the negative impacts. On Friday afternoon, Peru reported that the working group meeting on the sidelines of SC62 agreed on a draft resolution, and requested an extension of its mandate to continue work on the guidelines and toolkit. Colombia recalled that the Rio+20 outcome document mentions CITES benefits to local communities.
Outcome: The SC extended the working group’s mandate to produce information documents for CoP16 consideration on the toolkit and guidelines, and endorsed the draft resolution (SC62 Com. 3) providing, inter alia, that the CoP consider the following principles when addressing livelihood issues:
On empowerment of poor rural communities,
• encourage parties to work with key stakeholder groups to design, implement and monitor effective strategies for CITES listings implementation, recognizing that, inter alia, community and traditional knowledge should be considered in CITES implementation;
• agree on measures to promote transparency in development and implementation of policies on poverty and use of natural resources;
• develop socially-responsible trade associations with clear obligations for benefit-sharing;
• recognize resource tenure and cultural and intellectual property rights for indigenous, tribal and poor rural communities; and
• adopt mitigation strategies, as appropriate, as implementation of some CITES listings may have short-term negative impacts on the poor rural communities.
On enabling policies,
• invite parties to initiate or strengthen collaborative partnerships among local, regional, national and international development and conservation agencies to enhance financial support for wildlife conservation and poor rural communities and the complementarity of their work and CITES implementation;
• recommend that parties explore registered marks of certification and origin for products obtained legally and sustainably by poor rural communities; and
• encourage international financial institutions and cooperation agencies to assist parties in developing supportive policies and institutions at the regional, national and local levels to address negative impacts of the implementation of listings on poor rural communities.
On compensatory mechanisms for the shift from in situ to ex situ production,
• agree that market-based incentives may be required to encourage benefit-sharing and remove barriers to the development of in situ production systems;
• recommend collaboration between consumer and producer countries to develop effective strategies to support positive impacts and minimize negative impacts of the implementation of CITES listings; and
• recommend that mitigation activities be based not on CITES-listed species only but on the whole ecosystem.
NATIONAL WILDLIFE TRADE POLICY REVIEWS: On Tuesday afternoon, the Secretariat reported that there are no new reviews, adding that the draft review framework offers a useful tool for self-assessment on CITES implementation at the national level. The SC took note of the oral report.
CLIMATE CHANGE: On Thursday afternoon, the US introduced the document (SC62 Doc. 18), noting that the joint AC/PC climate change working group completed its work.
Outcome: The Standing Committee supported the joint AC26/PC20 findings, and agreed to report them to CoP16.
CAPACITY BUILDING: On Tuesday afternoon, the Secretariat reported on its capacity-building activities during the intersessional period (SC62 Doc. 19). Many delegates expressed appreciation, highlighting the Virtual College.
Outcome: The SC noted the document; agreed to recommend that parties support the Virtual College; and urged the Secretariat to strengthen capacity building through regional cooperation activities so as to ensure coverage of all parties.
CITES LOGO: On Wednesday morning, the Secretariat introduced the document (SC62 Doc. 20), highlighting the proposal to widen the use of the CITES logo to certain operators or operations registered with the Convention, to raise the CITES profile.
Japan, the EU and Switzerland supported the proposal, with the EU suggesting a two-year review period. Egypt raised concerns about falsifying the logo and questioned potential benefits to the Convention. Opposing the proposal, Israel expressed concern about misuse and the US cautioned against misinterpretations by consumers and misrepresentations by operators that all specimens traded by an entity are CITES-compliant. The Oceania representative expressed similar reservations.
Noting potential benefits of extending the use of the logo to Vicuña wool products, the Central and South America and the Caribbean representative highlighted the need to set up criteria before the SC approves the proposal. Norway suggested a trial period. The SC established an intersessional working group to report to SC63.
REVIEW OF RESOLUTIONS
SUBSTANTIVE REVIEW: On Wednesday morning, the Secretariat introduced the document (SC62 Doc. 21). The US expressed concern about the proposed substantive review of: Resolution Conf. 9.6 (Rev.) (trade in readily recognizable parts and derivatives), noting failed past attempts to establish a de minimis exemption; and Resolution Conf. 12.3 (Rev. CoP15) (permits and certificates), questioning the need for an interpretation of “usual residence.” On the de minimis exemption, the Secretariat pointed to infinitesimally small derivatives from specimens such as caviar. Humane Society International noted that de minimis exemptions would be unworkable.
Mexico opposed the proposed substantive review of Resolutions Conf. 9.6 (Rev.) and 13.6 (pre-Convention specimens), and queried review of Resolutions Conf. 11.3 (Rev. CoP15) (compliance and enforcement) and Conf. 13.8 (observers’ participation at CoP meetings). The SC took note of the document and invited parties and organizations to join the Substantive Review of Resolutions Forum on the CITES website to address these issues.
RESOLUTIONS FOLLOWING DECISION 14.19: On Wednesday morning, the Secretariat reported on progress on review of resolutions regarding non-substantive errors (SC62 Doc. 22), noting the working group established on the issue needs volunteers to lead the reviews in French and Spanish. The SC took note of the report.
COMPLIANCE AND ENFORCEMENT
NATIONAL LAWS: On Wednesday morning, the Secretariat presented an update on legislative progress (SC62 Doc. 23), highlighting that: Nigeria, Malaysia, South Africa and the Isle of Man have entered into Category 1 (legislation believed to generally meet the requirements for CITES implementation); Pakistan has enacted legislation; Belize has begun its legal review process; the Seychelles has provided new information; Mauritania has not submitted information and remains under trade suspension; and Botswana and Kenya have provided information on legislative developments. She concluded that, with regard to priority countries, Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, Paraguay and Rwanda have not provided information.
Malaysia, Tanzania and Chile provided information on legislative developments. The North America representative, with the EU, supported the recommended trade suspensions for Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, Paraguay and Rwanda. Chair Størkersen said that a recommendation to suspend trade would have immediate effect after 30 days. The representative of Central and South America and the Caribbean, supported by the North America representative, suggested extending the deadline for providing information to 60 days.
Outcome: The SC agreed to recommend suspension of commercial trade in specimens of CITES-listed species with Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, Paraguay and Rwanda, effective from 1 October 2012, unless they submit updated information on progress made for the submission of legislation for parliamentary, cabinet or ministerial approval.
NATIONAL REPORTS: Late submission or non-submission of national reports: On Wednesday morning, the Secretariat introduced the document (SC62 Doc. 24.1), noting receipt of reports from Antigua and Barbuda, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Liberia, Papua New Guinea, Bolivia, Seychelles and Yemen. She listed countries that have not submitted their reports and could face trade suspensions including Guinea-Bissau, Nepal, Rwanda, Solomon Islands and Syria, adding that Solomon Islands and Syria have promised to send their reports.
Outcome: The SC agreed to recommend suspension of commercial trade with Guinea-Bissau, Nepal, Rwanda, Solomon Islands and Syria, unless they submit their missing annual reports by 1 October 2012.
Special reporting requirements: The UK reported for the working group on special reporting requirements (SC62 Doc. 24.2). He suggested the SC should consider online reporting, and instruct the working group to further work on this issue.
The EU cautioned that a finding on time-bound reporting requirements would increase the burden for parties, and proposed considering a time limit where appropriate. He further proposed that the working group prepare a test version of the online system for CoP16. Israel warned against relying solely on an online system.
On reporting on illegal trade, the UK drew attention to recommendations addressing: making illegal trade data a mandatory requirement of annual reporting; incorporating a new status code field into the annual report for effective record of captures and seizures; and increased use of e-permitting.
The EU drew attention to potential confusion between legal and illegal trade data, as well as to the sensitivities as to what should be in the public domain. Underscoring that for most parties, enforcement authorities, rather than CITES management authorities, are responsible for illegal trade issues, and pointing to the lengthy judicial processes such cases usually involve, China opposed making illegal trade data a mandatory annual reporting requirement.
With regard to the annual report guidelines, the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre reported on its review of the draft guidelines and the sample annual report format (SC62 Doc. 24.2 Annexes 4-5), noting that suggested changes aim to facilitate compilation of reports by parties, analysis of data and automatic uploading of reports to the CITES trade database.
Outcome: The Committee agreed to the recommendations of the working group, noting the need to avoid any unnecessary burden on parties and the Secretariat, including that: the Secretariat consolidate a list of valid reporting requirements after each CoP and advise the SC on options to meet the reporting requirements; and the working group undertake further work on online reporting.
On reporting illegal trade, the SC agreed to the working group’s recommendations, including: making illegal trade data a mandatory annual reporting requirement for all parties; and incorporating a new status code field in the annual report to ensure that captures and seizures are recorded effectively.
The SC invited parties to send comments to the Secretariat by 1 September 2012 on the draft guidelines for the preparation and submission of annual reports and on the draft sample report, and agreed that the working group should continue its work until CoP17.
Reporting on trade in artificially propagated plants: On Thursday afternoon, the Secretariat introduced the report (SC62 Doc. 24.3), noting delay in receiving funds for and carrying out a study to allow the PC to determine whether there is any taxa of Appendix-II artificially propagated plants for which detailed reporting is less valuable.
Outcome: The SC agreed that the SC Chair report progress at CoP16 and the item be placed on the SC65 agenda.
RANCHING OPERATIONS IN MADAGASCAR: On Wednesday morning, the Secretariat introduced the document (SC62 Doc. 25). On Friday afternoon, France reported for the working group (SC62 Doc. 25 and Com. 5), highlighting that information provided did not warrant the withdrawal of the recommended trade suspension. Japan and the EU expressed appreciation for Madagascar’s efforts, hoping the trade suspension will be lifted soon. Madagascar recognized that not all recommendations have been complied with, noting that it is a question of means rather than will, and calling for support for the suspension to be lifted. The Secretariat drew attention to ongoing projects to assist Madagascar in putting the necessary mechanisms in place. Chair Størkersen invited Madagascar to report at SC63, focusing in particular on regulation of re-export.
CAPTIVE-BRED AND RANCHED SPECIMENS: On Wednesday morning, the US reported on the working group on captive-bred and ranched specimens (SC62 Doc. 26). The US also noted the working group would take on board decisions arising from the snake trade working group. China urged information sharing and cooperation, and supported maintaining an updated checklist for species and operations that have a successful history.
Outcome: The SC directed the Secretariat, where reasonable, to investigate the cases identified as cause for concern, and approved draft decisions for CoP16 consideration, including that: SC65 consider an amended or new resolution to provide a process for reviewing CITES implementation for specific examples of trade in specimens that are claimed to be produced via captive breeding or ranching; and the Secretariat report to SC65 and SC66 on significant cases where it has taken initiatives or entered into a dialogue with parties on trade in specimens declared as bred in captivity or ranched where there is serious doubt about the identified source of the specimens in trade.
REVIEW OF SIGNIFICANT TRADE: This item was addressed on Thursday afternoon.
AC and PC Recommendations: The Secretariat introduced the document (SC62 Doc. 27.1 (Rev. 1)), noting that recent developments in Honduras related to Bigleaf mahogany led the Secretariat and the PC Chair to consider that the country has complied with the relevant recommendations.
Japan, supported by Kuwait, lamented that certain recommendations from the Scientific Committees are “almost impossible to implement,” noting the need for financial and other support to countries in situations of non-compliance. The Secretariat noted that CoP16 will consider the RST evaluation.
The North America representative supported the trade suspensions recommended by the Secretariat, suggesting consistency in the extension of deadlines for cases of urgent concern as opposed to possible concern. Israel supported all recommendations, but requested a trade suspension for Tajikistan concerning Horsfield’s tortoise. The Secretariat noted communication difficulties due to the fact that Tajikistan is not a party to CITES. Pro Wildlife stated that quotas related to flat-tailed geckos in Madagascar have been exceeded, recommending their reinsertion into the RST on a fast-track basis.
The EU enquired about progress on bottlenose dolphins in the Solomon Islands and, supported by the Natural Resource Defense Council, requested including it on the SC63 agenda. The Oceania representative reported that the Solomon Islands has banned the capture and export of live dolphins since 1 January 2012. The Secretariat noted that the deadline for submission of information from the Solomon Islands had not yet expired.
The Democratic Republic of Congo stressed that African teak is mostly found in a conflict zone, and compliance is beyond the reach of the environmental sector alone, with the Africa representative requesting an extension of the relevant deadlines. Botswana, for the Southern African region, requested a deferral of trade suspensions against Mozambique. Cameroon for hippopotamus and Madagascar for several species also requested extensions. The US opposed extending deadlines when countries did not respond to the Secretariat’s requests for information.
Outcome: The SC agreed, inter alia, that:
• all parties suspend trade in all specimens of hippopotamus from Cameroon and Mozambique if the AC recommendations are not implemented to the satisfaction of the AC Chair and Secretariat by 26 August 2012; and
• the deadline for submitting a report on African teak from the Democratic Republic of Congo to the Secretariat be extended to 31 May 2014, to allow the country to submit the final report of the project on NDFs, and an export quota of 25,000 cubic meters for 2012 and until the results of an ongoing International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO)-CITES project become available.
The SC also noted that the Secretariat and the PC Chair determined that the PC recommendations had been complied with by Honduras on Bigleaf mahogany; and requested the Secretariat to remind Solomon Islands about the need to report to the AC recommendations on bottlenose dolphins.
Recommendations to suspend trade issued more than two years ago: The Secretariat introduced the document (SC62 Doc. 27.2 (Rev. 1)) noting that, according to the SC61 decision, the recommendation to suspend trade in red sandalwood from India was withdrawn, following submission of all required information from India and the setting of a zero quota regarding wild specimens. He recommended that the trade suspension in cycads from Viet Nam be withdrawn, following the country’s compliance with all recommendations.
India reported on the process followed to comply with SC61 decision, including a one-time permit to export confiscated material. Tanzania noted that a moratorium on wild-caught pancake tortoise specimens is already in place, asking for the trade suspension to be withdrawn. Tanzania also drew attention to a long-standing trade suspension regarding Fishers’ lovebird, noting that the population has recovered and has become an agricultural pest, while funds are still being solicited to comply with recommendations, and appealed to the SC to withdraw the trade suspension.
The Democratic Republic of Congo drew attention to its implementation efforts regarding African cherry and to Secretariat and PC Chair’s recommendation to withdraw the trade suspension. The EU supported lifting the trade suspension with an annual quota of 72,000 tons.
Outcome: The SC agreed to:
• retain trade suspensions in pancake tortoises from Tanzania until SC63 to allow the submission of further information;
• withdraw the trade suspension in cycads from Viet Nam; and
• clarify that the annual export quota for African cherry from the Democratic Republic of Congo is 72,000 tons.
African grey parrot in Cameroon: Cameroon reported on the development of a population status study and management plan for the African grey parrot, and noted that the document was recently made available on the CITES website (SC62 Inf.14). He noted that this was the first such study and management plan in Africa and could be used as a model for the sub-region. He explained that the findings supported a quota of 4,000-6,000 parrots per year, but requested the SC to support a smaller quota of 3,000 parrots per year to re-launch the trade in Cameroon, pointing to the poverty alleviation benefits and fight against illegal trade. While commending Cameroon for its work, the US asked for an extension of the deadline, given that the complete report has not been reviewed by the Secretariat in consultation with the AC. Following AC Chair Solana’s endorsement of the report, no objection was raised.
The Secretariat congratulated Cameroon on the management plan, saying it could provide a model to fulfill SC obligations under Decisions 14.83 and 14.84 relating to regional management plans for Central and West Africa for grey parrots.
Outcome: The Committee agreed to an annual export quota of 3,000 live specimens of African grey parrot from Cameroon, with any increase of that export quota to be reviewed by the AC.
E-COMMERCE: On Wednesday morning, the UK introduced the document (SC62 Doc. 28), requesting that, as relevant work is underway by International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Interpol and the UK, the working group on e-commerce continue until SC63. Colombia suggested the group contribute to codes of conduct for e-commerce relating to CITES-listed species by the private sector. TRAFFIC commended China on the signing by approximately 15 leading Chinese e-commerce services of a declaration of zero tolerance towards their services being used for illegal e-commerce trading, resulting from a workshop on controlling online illegal wildlife trade, organized by TRAFFIC and the National Forest Police Bureau of the State Administration of China in June 2012. The SC noted the document and endorsed the continuation of the working group’s mandate to SC63.
ENFORCEMENT MATTERS: On Wednesday morning, the Secretariat reported on enforcement matters (SC62 Doc. 29), highlighting: enforcement issues in Guinea, with the Secretariat reading a letter from the Minister of Environment indicating limited progress in meeting the recommendations arising from a Secretariat mission to the country; and fraudulent permits allegedly from Cameroon.
Japan reported on successful collaboration with Cameroon in detecting and addressing fraudulent permits, calling for information sharing between management authorities and the Secretariat. Egypt questioned the appropriateness of a trade suspension against Cameroon, with the Africa representative stressing the need to identify first the source of fraudulent permits. Cameroon encouraged cooperation between national authorities about fraudulent permits.
Noting that Guinea had made some progress, China opposed recommending trade sanctions at this meeting. The US and EU expressed willingness to consider other options. The Democratic Republic of Congo proposed granting Guinea a grace period.
Outcome: The Committee instructed the Secretariat to issue a warning to Guinea to take urgent measures to implement the recommendations arising from the Secretariat’s mission, providing a clear set of minimum actions that should be undertaken and requesting a progress report by 31 December 2012, asking the Secretariat to analyze the report and make recommendations at SC63.
CENTRAL AFRICAN WILDLIFE TRADE LAW ENFORCEMENT INITIATIVE: On Wednesday afternoon, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo presented on this item (SC62 Doc. 30), on behalf of other Central African Forest Commission (COMIFAC) countries, highlighting that the initiative garnered ministerial endorsement and urging support to implement the subregional action plan. The SC took note of the report.
TRADE CONTROL AND MARKING
INTRODUCTION FROM THE SEA: On Wednesday afternoon, Brazil reported for the working group on introduction from the sea (SC62 Doc. 31), highlighting that consensus had been reached except on text on chartering, which had been included with the understanding that members needed more time to consider it, and recommended that the SC endorse the draft revised resolutions and decisions contained in the annexes for CoP16 consideration. He also reported that Argentina would only agree if the words “if applicable” were added after references to “relevant regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs),” and that the EU had indicated the need to consult.
Denmark, for the EU, supported by the North American representative, Brazil, Norway, Egypt, Kuwait and others, proposed the SC “accept,” rather than “endorse,” the proposals for CoP16 consideration. Argentina confirmed she could not join the consensus on chartering, noted discrepancies between the English and Spanish versions, and asked that the SC “take note” of the recommendation.
Japan stressed the need for all parties to have the opportunity to comment on the proposals. Brazil, supported by the Oceania representative, noted the importance of chartering for some developing countries. China noted many of the relevant CITES-listed species are acquired as by-catch; stated that RFMOs and fishery authorities are the most appropriate entities to manage the issue; and suggested the Secretariat ask parties that are flag or chartering states, as well as relevant management authorities for their input, and that the working group develop a manual or guidelines for SC63 or SC64 consideration.
Outcome: The SC agreed to transmit the results of the work on introduction from the sea to CoP16, recognizing the reservations expressed by certain parties in relation to language on chartering.
ELECTRONIC PERMITTING: On Wednesday afternoon, Switzerland reported for the working group on e-permitting (SC62 Doc. 32).
The Oceania representative underlined the potential of e-permitting to reduce reporting burdens, and China its potential to reduce fraudulent use of permits and contribute to harmonized documentation. The EU underscored the need to ensure that all relevant domestic officials have access to and control of information in e-permitting systems.
The Africa representative pointed to funding needs for developing countries. India suggested allowing participation of countries that may not have necessary technologies in the working group. Central African Republic recommended providing information to developing countries on equipment needed to introduce e-permitting. The SC supported the extension of the mandate of the working group.
PURPOSE OF TRANSACTION CODES: Canada reported for the purpose-of-transaction codes working group (SC62 Doc. 33), suggesting that the working group continue its discussions electronically to finalize a suite of purpose codes and guiding principles on the application of such codes for CoP16 consideration.
Japan and the EU supported continued work on streamlining and clarifying codes, with Japan stressing the need to minimize ambiguities and discrepancies in interpretation of codes used in importing and exporting states. The Oceania representative underscored the divergent interpretations of “purpose of export,” with some countries considering this to be the exporters’ purpose and others the end use. The EU supported development of guiding principles to assist with interpretation and implementation. The International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation noted that purpose codes are only required by the Convention with regard to import of Appendix-I specimens, questioning their expanded use. The US responded that parties recognized their value at CoP14.
The SC decided that the working group should continue its work, taking account of the comments made in the discussion, and prepare a document for the SC Chair to decide whether to forward this document to CoP16.
MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS: On Wednesday afternoon, the US introduced the document on a streamlined process for cross-border movement of musical instruments containing specimens of CITES-listed species (SC62 Doc. 34), including a proposed passport system for personally-owned musical instruments similar to the one for personally-owned live animals included in Resolution Conf. 10.20 (frequent cross-border movements of personally-owned live animals).
Many expressed support. Australia suggested extending the proposal to personally-owned pre-CITES instruments that include CITES specimens other than wood, and Canada added instruments owned by entities such as foundations. The EU noted the need for a mechanism to avoid abuse of the system.
Outcome: The SC noted the document and recommended that the US take into account parties’ suggestions and offers to cooperate on the preparation of a document for CoP16.
LEOPARD EXPORT QUOTAS: On Wednesday afternoon, the US reported for the working group on leopard export quotas (SC62 Doc. 35). He reported, and SC62 noted, that Botswana, Namibia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and the US agreed on a potential way forward in relation to trade in leopard trophies and will prepare a document for CoP16 consideration.
PHYSICAL INSPECTION OF TIMBER SHIPMENTS: On Wednesday afternoon, the US introduced the document (SC62 Doc. 36), inviting the SC to draft a recommendation for CoP16 directing the Secretariat’s capacity-building unit to make information on these tools accessible online to timber inspection authorities. The EU encouraged the development of a toolkit, and harmonization of guidelines for timber inspection.
Outcome: The SC agreed to direct the Secretariat to obtain information from parties on physical inspection of timber species to be compiled on the CITES website and incorporated into capacity-building activities.
USE OF TAXONOMIC SERIAL NUMBERS: On Wednesday afternoon, Canada reported for the working group on use of taxonomic serial numbers (TSN) (SC62 Doc. 37), highlighting that significant barriers currently exist to incorporating the TSN as an element of CITES data sets; and that a draft resolution on the adoption by CITES of TSN for CoP16 consideration is premature.
The US opposed expanding the working group’s terms of reference to consider the relevance and utility of including TSN in data sets of CITES and as a new field in CITES permits and certificates, suggesting to revisit the issue at a later stage. The EU emphasized that the application of TSN remains voluntary. Israel, supported by the North American representative, opposed considering the usefulness of IPBES as a focal point for the development of standard reference for biodiversity and broadly-shared taxonomic and nomenclatural understanding. Canada noted that the working group had concluded its work under its current ToR, but started discussions on data protocols and data exchange that would be useful to continue until CoP16.
Outcome: The SC directed the working group to continue its email discussions until CoP16 and adopted its recommendations about, inter alia, encouraging parties, particularly those engaged in the development of single-window systems, to consider the usefulness of incorporating TSN in their domestic data systems and alternative options they might use or may be using, and provide comments to the Secretariat.
IDENTIFICATION MANUAL: On Wednesday afternoon, the Secretariat presented the document (SC62 Doc. 38), highlighting lack of implementation of suggestions for improvement and enhancement of the manual due to lack of external funding, and efforts to establish partnerships to that end. The SC noted the document.
CRITERIA FOR THE INCLUSION OF SPECIES IN APPENDICES I AND II: On Thursday afternoon, AC Chair Solana reported on deliberations regarding guidance on the application of the criterion on ensuring that harvesting does not reduce the wild population to a survival-threatening level to commercially-exploited aquatic species proposed for inclusion on Appendix II (SC62 Doc. 39). He highlighted the complexity of determining whether a commercially-exploited aquatic species qualifies for Appendix-II listing when that species is found in multiple stocks or sub-populations with varying statuses, and underscored diverse approaches to the application of the criterion. He said the AC concluded it is not possible to provide guidance favoring one approach over another, and recommended that parties, when submitting amendment proposals, explain their approach to the criterion and how the taxon qualifies for the proposed amendment, and elucidate vulnerabilities and mitigating factors they have considered. He finally invited the SC to consider whether discussions on the item should continue.
The North America representative and the EU supported the compromise outcome, noting that there is no merit in continuing discussions. Japan underscored that reductions in fish populations should be addressed through fisheries management measures and not CITES listing, and suggested discussions on the issue discontinue.
On Friday morning, FAO drew attention to the upcoming invitation-only meeting of its expert advisory panel for the assessment of proposals to amend CITES appendices concerning commercially-exploited aquatic species, noting that, where appropriate, FAO will collaborate with CITES on the selection of experts and adding the panel depends on the availability of extra-budgetary funds. On the criterion application, she noted that the panel will be using a scientific approach based on quantitative and qualitative data for estimating the future decline of the species in question. She highlighted that FAO members underlined the importance of national-level coordination between fisheries authorities and CITES national authorities. Japan supported the statement. Noting the panel should be funded from the FAO regular budget, the US reiterated the recommendation of the FAO Committee on Fisheries requesting the panel to strengthen its consideration of technical issues, in consistency with its terms of reference, while underscoring its primary scientific role.
Outcome: The SC accepted the outcome of the AC deliberations, stressing the need for parties to clearly explain their rationale when referring to the criteria for proposals to amend the appendices, and called for discontinuing discussions on the item.
EXEMPTIONS AND SPECIAL TRADE PROVISIONS
PERSONAL AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS: On Thursday morning, China reported for the working group on personal and household effects (SC62 Doc. 40), noting work has not concluded. Japan drew attention to national legislative developments enabling an exemption for personal and household effects. The EU favored requiring export permits for hunting trophies and stressed the need for obtaining complete data from all parties. The SC agreed to allow the working group to continue its work, and produce a final document for CoP16 consideration.
REGISTRATION OF CAPTIVE-BREEDING OPERATIONS OF APPENDIX-I ANIMAL SPECIES FOR COMMERCIAL PURPOSES: On Thursday morning, the Secretariat introduced the document (SC62 Doc.41), noting that Indonesia objects to the registration applications from the Philippines relating to Birds International Inc. as a breeder of several cockatoospecies in the CITES register of captive-breeding operations of Appendix-I listed species for commercial purposes with: concerns about the legal origin of the birds’ parental stock; and non-implementation of a MoU between the Philippines and Indonesia on their conservation. He asked SC62 to consider whether to accept the registration in light of the AC and other comments. The Philippines welcomed the AC finding that it was likely that significant trade in these species had occurred before the listing of the species, asserting that an export permit was not required and that compliance with the MoU is voluntary and not a requirement for registration. Indonesia, supported by the US and Humane Society International, stressed that the legality of the parental stocks is “highly questionable,” and warned against setting a “dangerous precedent” by accepting the registration.
Kuwait, supported by Iran, China and Mexico, proposed postponing the decision until both parties reach agreement on the MoU, with the US and others saying this agreement was not relevant to the registration. AC Chair Solana emphasized that the AC neither supported nor opposed the applications, saying that it was “likely” that significant trade in the species had occurred before registration of Birds International Inc. China asserted that registration of captive-breeding operations for domestic trade should respect states’ sovereignty. The Philippines, opposed by Indonesia and the US, reiterated that the founding stock was acquired before the species was listed on Appendix I and therefore there was no requirement for documentation.
Outcome: The SC postponed a decision on the registration applications from the Philippines until SC63, to leave time to Indonesia and the Philippines to further their cooperation efforts; and encouraged cooperation between parties with ex situ breeding and those with in situ conservation programmes.
SPECIES TRADE AND CONSERVATION
GREAT APES: On Thursday morning, the Secretariat introduced the document (SC62 Doc. 42), noting that missions to gorilla range states would take place later in 2012. IUCN requested the missions include chimpanzees, given similar issues concerning their illegal trade. The Democratic Republic of Congo noted incidences of illegal export of 40 gorillas from Equatorial Guinea to China, considered to originate from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and requested the SC to ask Equatorial Guinea to cease this practice and China to take necessary steps to address this.
Outcome: The SC took note of the report and invited the Secretariat to report to CoP16 on the gorilla range state missions and other activities.
ASIAN BIG CATS: On Wednesday afternoon, the Secretariat introduced the document (SC62 Doc. 43). The Global Tiger Initiative reported on achievements in funding, and cross-country and regional cooperation, noting an alarming trend towards a “mushrooming” of tiger farms and identification of several markets selling tiger parts indicating lack of enforcement. He also highlighted: World Bank efforts to establish partnerships with industry; the need for intervention in hotspots; and concern regarding poaching of leopards around tiger areas. India highlighted efforts to protect tigers, and urged parties to declare stockpiles of tiger parts and share information on seizures and mortality.
China reported on national tiger conservation efforts. He urged using the wording of the Declaration on Tiger Conservation adopted in 2010 at the Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit, and endorsed by all tiger range states, with regard to the launch of a global programme to eliminate the “illicit” demand for tiger parts and derivatives. He questioned whether any evidence suggests that tiger-breeding facilities negatively affect wild tiger conservation, as well as the existence of illegal markets for tiger parts, adding that medicinal use of tiger bone has been prohibited in China for 19 years. The Global Tiger Initiative offered US$100,000 as a resource to develop a comprehensive study of commercial breeding in China.
The EU requested the Secretariat to report on the effectiveness of the various decisions and resolutions on the issue and urged range states to report on implementation as a matter of urgency, also calling for clarification on specific reporting obligations. He drew attention to lack of information regarding other Asian big cats, in particular snow leopards.
Israel, with SSN, noted lack of reporting on activities relating to Decision 14.69 (tiger captive-breeding operations), calling on the Secretariat to collect information from parties and report to SC63. TRAFFIC urged parties to use their recently developed demand-reduction strategy for consumption of tigers to help their own demand-reduction strategies and awareness-raising programmes.
On Friday morning, following informal consultations, the SC agreed on compromise text on issuing a notification.
Outcome: The SC agreed that the Secretariat issue a notification to parties reminding them of their reporting obligations, to enable a full assessment at CoP16, and stressing the need for information on all Asian big cats and not just tigers, and on compliance with Decision 14.69, by requesting all parties with intensive operations breeding tigers on a commercial scale to: fully implement the decision with respect to the number of breeding operations and also for the total number of tigers; and declare stockpiles of captive-bred or confiscated tiger body parts and derivatives along with actions proposed to deal with the stockpiles.
BUSHMEAT: On Thursday morning, the Democratic Republic of Congo orally reported for the Central African bushmeat working group. The SC requested the Secretariat to liaise with the working group for the preparation of a report for CoP16 submission.
TIBETAN ANTELOPE: On Thursday morning, the Secretariat introduced the document (SC62 Doc. 45), recalling that conservation of this species could be regarded as a CITES success but noting that China reported two wool seizures in 2011, accounting for approximately 1000 individual Tibetan antelopes killed in the wild. The EU and the US proposed to keep the item on the agenda, with China stating that illegal trade is still rampant. India asserted that media reports on cloning or breeding of Tibetan antelopes are ill-founded. IUCN emphasized that early interventions needed to prevent the potentially rapid decline of the species require continued reporting on the item. Chair Størkersen proposed to continue reporting to the SC, but not to the CoP.
Outcome: The SC endorsed the recommendation that the Secretariat propose at CoP16 that the requirement on reporting to the CoP be deleted from the text of the relevant resolution.
ELEPHANTS: This item was discussed on Tuesday and Friday.
Conservation, illegal killing and ivory trade: On Tuesday morning, the Secretariat introduced the document (SC62 Doc. 46.1 (Rev. 1)). IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Asian Elephant Specialist Group lamented the new “elephant crisis,” noting worrying indications of an increase in Asian elephant illegal killings, and called for concerted efforts to improve reporting to ETIS. He highlighted the significant deterioration in China’s domestic ivory trade control system.IUCN SSC African Elephant Specialist Group reported on the MIKE survey results, including indications that poisoning is becoming a common method of killing elephants. Calling for innovative and lasting solutions, she noted that, in spite of measures currently in force and improved monitoring, demand continues to grow.
South Africa, on behalf of the African elephant range states, reported on the African Elephant Action Plan. MIKE reported the highest levels of poaching since MIKE records began, pointing to linkages between poverty, weak governance, ivory demand and law enforcement capacity. He reported no evidence that the international “one-off” ivory sales conducted under CITES in 2008 caused poaching levels to increase or decrease. ETIS also noted an escalating pattern in illegal ivory trade, indicating that CITES measures and national-level actions are not working. He described the role of organized crime in the trade, in particular Asian syndicates operating in Africa, with 68% of the trade going through Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, mainly to China and Thailand.
The Secretariat reported on enforcement work and encouraged parties to use forensic techniques, including DNA testing. Israel pointed to the failure of the one-off legal ivory sale to decrease poaching and illegal trade; and, supported by India, recommended encouraging range states to take immediate action not only to prevent illegal ivory trade but also to “prevent illegal live elephant trade.”
The Africa representative emphasized traceability of ivory to ensure proper monitoring of ivory trade. India expressed concern at insufficient data on Asian ivory entering international trade, cautioning that even small quantities can endanger Asian elephant populations. Malaysia noted that action by transit countries will not suffice to solve the problem.
SSN urged CITES parties to stop “selling ivory, buying ivory and speculating on the resumption of legal ivory trade.” The Environmental Investigation Agency: asserted that legal ivory sales created confusion and opportunities for crime, and stimulated demand; highlighted the need for follow-up to arrests and seizures, communication and cooperation to dismantle the illegal ivory trade network; and urged the SC to avoid discussing future international ivory trade until an independent study of enforcement gaps and of the impacts of 2008 one-off ivory sale is concluded.
The Secretariat then proposed amending the recommendation to China on reporting on controls of trade in ivory, including measures to control domestic ivory trade before SC63, by expanding it to “parties identified in the ETIS analysis as being involved in substantial illegal ivory trade as a source, transit or destination country,” highlighting the need to cover the whole illegal trade chain.
Botswana, the North America representative and Kuwait supported the amendment. The EU proposed including a deadline for the submission of these reports, enquiring about consequences for lack of or inadequate reporting. China reported on its efforts to control illegal and domestic ivory trade, calling upon the international community to share reliable information on this. Kenya expressed concern about: de-emphasizing the need to address the demand side; China’s inability to control the domestic market despite its efforts; and lack of cooperation between range states and destination countries in determining the origin of seized ivory.
The Secretariat then proposed referring to the deadline for submission of documents to SC63 (December 2012); and clarified that the concerned countries are Viet Nam, Malaysia, Hong Kong and the Philippines as transit countries, and Thailand and China as destination markets, and that repercussions for lack of or inadequate reporting may include a recommendation on trade suspension.
On Friday afternoon, the UK presented compromise text. China noted no consumer state was included in the consultations and questioned the possibility of providing samples from the hundreds of ivory seizures each year. Later on Friday afternoon, the EU offered text agreed with Kenya and China, which the SC endorsed.
Recommendation: The SC adopted a recommendation providing, inter alia, that:
• all parties, especially those who have not reported, should report data on seizures of elephant specimens to ETIS by 1 September 2012;
• parties identified in the ETIS analysis as being involved in substantial illegal ivory trade as a source, transit or destination country are requested to submit a written report, by 1 January 2013, on their implementation of the provisions of Resolution Conf. 10.10 (Rev. CoP15) and Decision 13.26 (Rev CoP15) concerning their controls of ivory trade, including measures to control domestic ivory trade, and the Secretariat is directed to consider the resulting findings and recommendations by SC63;
• parties are encouraged to implement measures to ensure efficient controls over ivory stockpiles and promptly share information on thefts from ivory stockpiles at the national and international level;
• all parties should collaborate with other biodiversity-related conventions, UN bodies, intergovernmental organizations, NGOs and the private sector in awareness-raising and consumer education on the escalating elephant poaching crisis;
• parties in East Africa are encouraged to increase their national and regional enforcement activities to detect and prevent illegal ivory trade;
• destination and transit country parties are encouraged to collaborate closely with the parties from where confiscated ivory from large-scale ivory seizures was exported or re-exported by providing samples of seized ivory to assist with DNA profiling and other forensic techniques to determine their origin and facilitate their effective investigation and prosecution, and share the results of these investigations among relevant parties;
• transit countries are also encouraged to collaborate with the countries of origin and destination in order to enhance law enforcement effectiveness at ports of entry and exit;
• all parties and the donor community are urged to assist elephant range states to improve their capacity to manage and conserve their elephant populations and to provide funding for, inter alia, the African elephant action plan, MIKE and ETIS;
• elephant range states are urged to: take immediate action to protect their elephant populations through improved monitoring and effective enforcement and report their actions through MIKE, and ensure all elephant poaching incidents are promptly reported to national law enforcement authorities and shared at the international level;
• Central African elephant range states are encouraged to hold a regional conference on elephants to bring together national ministers responsible for environment, defense, customs and police; and
• in the revision of Resolution Conf. 10.10 (Rev. CoP15), the SC will consider including a system for regular reporting on and monitoring of elephant ivory stockpiles, and provisions for the collection of ivory samples from large-scale seizures for DNA, isotopic and other forensic analyses.
Ivory trade control in Thailand: On Tuesday morning, Thailand presented the report requested by SC61 on progress in regulating internal trade and combating illegal trade in ivory (SC62 Doc. 46.2). Egypt noted the need for feedback on the proposed measures’ implementation, highlighting that the hosting of CoP16 by Thailand will serve as a deadline. The Secretariat added that Thailand will need to provide an additional report to SC63. Urging Thailand to provide a specific timetable, including deadlines, and to convene a multi-stakeholder process on the necessary laws, TRAFFIC underscored that: allowing possession of, and trade in ivory from, domesticated elephants leaves open an avenue for abuse of the law that needs to be addressed; legislative progress has been slow; and a discrepancy in the number of tusks seized by Thai authorities seems to indicate that some tusks have gone missing. WWF further stressed that exemptions applying to domestic elephants and their ivory led to laundering of illegal ivory.
Outcome: The SC noted the: invitation by Thailand for the Secretariat to undertake a mission to the country before SC63; and the written and oral reports by Thailand, noting that the recommendation to submit a written report on domestic trade in ivory and elephant protection for SC63 consideration still applies. The SC also instructed the Secretary-General to continue collaborating with Thailand on ivory trade controls.
MIKE-ETIS Subgroup: On Friday afternoon, Uganda reported for the MIKE-ETIS Subgroup, including the review of the sections of Resolution Conf. 10.10 (Rev. CoP15) that concern MIKE and ETIS (SC62 Doc. 46.5.2) and progress of implementation on MIKE and ETIS. The SC took note of the report, noting the final text will be considered by CoP16.
Decision-making mechanism for authorizing ivory trade:On Tuesday afternoon, the Secretariat introduced relevant documentation (SC62 Doc. 46.4), noting the draft recommendation that the annexed consultancy study constitute a basis for formulating a proposal to CoP16 on a decision-making mechanism and necessary conditions for a process of trade in ivory under the CoP auspices. Rowan Martin, consultant, presented the study, stating that the reason for the current system failure is the disconnect between the global and local levels, highlighting the need to recognize the role of local peoples and provide incentives to landowners, and the relevance of the CBD Addis Ababa Principles and Guidelines on Sustainable Use. He pointed to a possible system comprising: a single central selling outlet for all raw ivory exported from Africa, the prohibition of intra-Africa trade, and stringent conditions for range states to qualify as sellers and as buyers (with the latter modeled on the diamond trade), on the basis of cooperation between buyers and sellers.
Japan questioned the validity of comparing the ivory to the diamond trade, and asked whether the decision-making process could be linked to possible downlisting of elephants. Botswana, on behalf of Southern African states, opined that the report contains many elements for the decision-making mechanism and reminded the SC that the decision to develop the mechanism (together with the African Elephant Action Plan and African Elephant Fund) were the outcome of intensive negotiations at CoP14.
Israel urged SC62 not to accept the study, arguing, with the UK and WWF, that it does not meet the terms of reference under Decision 14.77 (decision-making mechanism for ivory trade). Kenya said it is too early to implement the mechanism given the African Elephant Action Plan is only just being implemented, and cautioned against limiting the authority of the CoP.
India expressed concern that any regular ivory trade would adversely affect elephant conservation. The Central African Republic, on behalf of French-speaking African countries, supported by Israel, Kenya and others, lamented the lack of translation of the consultant’s draft report, urging proper inclusion of the 16 French-speaking elephant range states in future consultations.
Stressing that legally acquired ivory could be used for people’s benefit, Zimbabwe and China asserted that the ban has been a failure and an alternative strategy must be sought, adding the study is a good starting point. WWF said the study “reads like a manifesto” for trade proponents. Noting that legal activities are the best guarantee of protection against illegal ones, IWMC highlighted examples where CITES-allowed international trade has assisted in saving a species.
Secretary-General Scanlon explained that the CoP directed the SC to propose a decision-making mechanism to CoP16, but it was the SC’s decision to commission an independent study and the SC can now decide whether to use it or not, and determine the way forward. He added that translation of the draft into French did not proceed due to lack of funds, but that the final study is now available in the three working languages.
Chair Størkersen remarked that the SC needs to establish a process to take the issue forward and present a result to CoP16. Denmark, on behalf of the EU, found that the report does not provide the criteria and conditions for the mechanism and, supported by Congo, proposed establishing an intersessional working group to report to the Secretariat by the end of December 2012 if progress was not made by the end of SC62. Noting divergent expectations on the study, the UK suggested, and the SC agreed, to conduct informal consultations on the way forward.
On Friday afternoon, Botswana presented compromise text clarifying steps for further work. Kenya underscored the need for translation to ensure involvement of all African elephant range states and Secretary-General Scanlon called for extra-budgetary resources to that end.
Outcome: The SC agreed on the following steps: submission of further comments on the study by the stakeholders identified by SC61, by 31 August 2012; review of information by the Secretariat and preparation of a document for further review by the stakeholders and the SC Chair; preparation of a revised document by the Secretariat for CoP16 consideration, together with stakeholders’ responses, following approval by the SC Chair and with the note that it is not endorsed by the SC; and updates by the Secretariat to the SC on progress achieved through electronic means.
Review of Resolution Conf. 10.10 (Rev. CoP15): On Tuesday afternoon, India presented the report of the working group to revise parts of Resolution 10.10 (Rev CoP15) on trade in elephant specimens (SC62 Doc. 46.5.1). Uganda reported on the MIKE Subgroup’s work on the sections of the resolution concerning MIKE and ETIS (SC62 Doc. 46.5.2). The SC established a joint working group co-chaired by India and Uganda to revise a Chair’s text based on the reports of the two groups. On Friday afternoon, Uganda reported that the review has not concluded and, following submission of further comments, a revised document would be submitted by Chair Størkersen to CoP16.
RHINOS: On Thursday, the UK reported for the working group on rhinos (SC62 Doc. 47.1 and Inf. 13), noting that: the working group wishes to continue work on ideas for a demand-reduction strategy; parties should consider opportunities to raise awareness of the rhino crisis at the highest possible level; and information should be sought by all countries, in particular Viet Nam. The Secretariat presented on activities undertaken, including collaboration between South Africa and Viet Nam to address illegal trade in rhino horn, and an assessment of rhino horn use as a traditional medicine carried out by TRAFFIC (SC62 Doc. 47.2).
Many supported that the working group continue its work. Botswana reported on work in southern Africa to address increasing poaching incidents, and South Africa on legislative developments regarding permits for trophy hunting purposes, aiming to strengthen the fight against illegal hunting and killing of rhinos. Zimbabwe reported on national-level efforts regarding enforcement, training and public awareness. India underscored an increase in the country’s rhino populations.
Bulgaria, on behalf of the EU, urged consumer states to adopt a highly precautionary approach as a measure against increased poaching and encouraged: cooperative enforcement action between all parties and international enforcement bodies; and, with Kenya, measures to address the demand side. The Democratic Republic of Congo urged increased collaboration among neighboring countries. Tanzania stressed the need for urgent short-term measures to reduce illegal trade levels.
On Friday, China lamented insufficient time for the working group on rhino, noted the need for a neutral report on the medicinal properties of rhino horn, and limited party participation in the discussions on organized crime and rhino poaching. Indonesia recalled that range states had launched the international year of the rhino in 2012. The EU suggested that the study on medicinal properties be removed from the CITES website to avoid stimulating interest in rhino horn; and noted that the SC had also agreed to support the recommendations included in SC62 Inf.13.
Outcome: The SC endorsed the recommendations of the working group, including:
• extending the working group’s mandate in light of increasingly high levels of rhino poaching, and the continuing need to identify urgent short-term measures to reduce the illegal trade in rhinos and their parts and derivatives, with a view to making rapid progress towards making recommendations;
• requesting Viet Nam to submit a written report to the Secretariat for consideration by the working group, and encourage Viet Nam to urgently conclude the stock check of rhino hunting trophies to verify their use at the national level, fully investigate incidents where results of such verifications indicate that individuals are no longer in possession of horns they imported as trophies, and share the results with countries where the trophies originated from;
• encouraging all parties to ensure that they have adequate legislation and enforcement controls in place to prevent horns that are part of legally exported trophies from entering the illegal market;
• considering new ideas for a demand-reduction strategy based on current understanding of the evidence of traditional cultural practices and beliefs about the medicinal and beneficial properties of rhino horn, and other modern uses; and
• encouraging parties to consider taking opportunities to raise awareness of the rhino crisis at the highest possible level.
SNAKE TRADE: On Friday morning, Switzerland reported for the snakes working group (SC62 Doc. 48 and Com. 2). Indonesia suggested the chapeau to the recommendations call for a notification to the parties regarding “the possibility of” illegal trade in snakes in Asia, which was accepted, with China noting that trade in snakes is a global phenomenon. Chair Størkersen highlighted snake management as one of the most successful CITES stories.
Outcome: The SC endorsed the recommendations of the working group, including directing parties to take steps to eliminate the large quantity of unreported and unpermitted trade in live specimens, their parts and derivatives from CITES-listed snake species, and instructed the Secretariat to issue a notification to the parties regarding the possibility of illegal trade in snakes in Asia, using any relevant information before the end of the year.
TORTOISES AND FRESHWATER TURTLES: On Friday morning, the US reported for the working group on tortoises and freshwater turtles (SC62 Doc. 49 (Rev. 1)). Iran recommended mentioning illegal trade in tortoise species not only in South-East Asia, but also in Western and Central Asia.
Outcome: The SC endorsed the working group’s recommendations, including draft decisions for CoP16 consideration to, inter alia, encourage parties to increase enforcement activities to deter, detect and address illegal and undocumented trade in CITES-listed live tortoises and freshwater turtles, their parts and derivatives.
STURGEONS: On Friday morning, the Secretariat introduced documentation on the caviar trade database (SC62 Doc. 50.1), noting that several range states are failing to submit copies of their export permits to the Secretariat. Argentina reported on registering a sturgeon farm for caviar production.
AC Chair Solana provided an oral report on monitoring progress in sturgeon conservation, lamenting limited progress in the application of the recommendations contained in SC61 Doc. 48.2 and suggesting considering limitations in parties’ sturgeon management capacity in a future mandate to the AC on this matter. The US expressed concern at the conservation status of Caspian Sea sturgeon, urging the setting of deadlines for complying with SC61 recommendations and offering financial assistance if clear timelines for demonstrable progress are established. Iran considered it premature to set timeframes and requested support from the Secretariat to ensure compliance.
The SC noted the document and oral report, and the fact that the Secretariat will submit a document for consideration at CoP16 proposing a revision of Resolution Conf. 12.7 (Rev. CoP14) (conservation of and trade in sturgeons and paddlefish).
HUMPHEAD WRASSE: On Friday morning, China reported for the working group that met on the sidelines of SC62 (SC62 Doc. 51), noting the need to continue its work and an offer by IUCN to assist in holding a workshop in September 2012. The SC agreed to continue the working group to prepare a document for CoP16 consideration.
BIGLEAF MAHOGANY: Progress report of Peru: On Friday afternoon, Peru reported on strengthening its national forest and wildlife information system to facilitate control of mahogany and other species in the country (SC62 Doc. 52.1). The SC debated whether Peru should continue reporting. Colombia, Dominica, Kuwait and Costa Rica supported recognizing Peru’s good work, noting there is no need for further reports. Calling for clarification on quota establishment and other matters, and noting the need for updates on establishment of the tracking system, the US and the EU suggested that reporting continue. Peru pointed out such data is not foreseen in the SC61 recommendation. Egypt suggested that Peru be encouraged to include such information in its national report.
The Environmental Investigation Agency reported on a high level of illegalities in the forest sector in Peru, encouraging the SC to continue monitoring Peru and the US to investigate the matter. The US highlighted Peru’s responsiveness to provide additional information to clarify the situation under the US-Peru bilateral trade promotion agreement. Peru stated that the Environmental Investigation Agency report did not cover recent developments.
Outcome: The SC agreed to abolish the reporting requirement and encourage Peru to include additional information in its national report.
Recommendations arising from the report of the Working Group on the Bigleaf Mahogany and Other Neotropical Timber Species: On Friday afternoon, PC Chair Clemente introduced the document (SC62 Doc. 52.2), noting concern about the high volume of Bigleaf mahoganyimports from Fiji reported by the Dominican Republic and a recommendation for the Secretariat to carry out a mission to the Dominican Republic in this regard.
The Oceania representative noted that Fiji has provided information to the Secretariat on export data, and that it has plantations of mahogany as an exotic species, suggesting that a possible mission to Fiji be considered only after the mission to the Dominican Republic.
Outcome: The SC agreed that the Secretariat carry out a mission to the Dominican Republic and, in light of its results, consider the need for a mission to Fiji.
PERIODIC REVIEW: Species selected for review between CoP15 and CoP17: On Friday afternoon, AC Chair Solana presented an oral report on this item. The EU enquired about the status of the African lion review, suggesting an update at SC63. The Democratic Republic of Congo pointed to a possible uplisting of African lion to Appendix I. The SC took note of the oral report and agreed to place the periodic review of the listing of the African lion on the SC63 agenda. Following a question by AC Chair Solana, Kenya and Namibia offered to prepare a briefing on the African lion for SC63.
Revision of Resolution Conf. 14.8: On Friday afternoon, PC Chair Clemente reported on the proposed amendments to the Resolution Conf. 14.8 (SC62 Doc. 53.2) on the process of the periodic review of the appendices. Emphasizing the importance of the periodic review to reflect correctly the protection needs of CITES species, Mexico provided an overview of the proposed amendments to the resolution, highlighting a new preamble and the enlarged scope of collaboration with the international academic and expert community.
Japan proposed that the Scientific Committees conduct or organize the periodic review “responsibly,” and that “species for which it is clear that there has been no change in the state, range or trade, and there is no possibility to amend the appendices” be excluded from the periodic review. The North America representative supported the amendments submitted by the Scientific Committees, noting that further discussions on wording can be entertained at CoP16.
Outcome: The SC endorsed the proposal to revise Resolution Conf. 14.8, inserting Japan’s suggestions in brackets, for CoP16 consideration.
ANNOTATIONS: On Friday afternoon, the North America representative introduced relevant documents (SC62 Doc. 54.1 and 54.2), suggesting that work continues until CoP16. PC Chair Clemente stressed the importance of annotations to facilitate compliance and avoid paralyzing trade. The SC agreed to extend the mandate of the working group to allow preparation of a document for CoP16 consideration.
The Secretariat announced that SC63 will be held on the day before the start of CoP16 and SC64 on the last day of CoP16. IWMC lamented the lack of discussion of market-oriented solutions to conservation problems and the “invasion of cultural elements” in the debate. SSN underscored the biological, technical and financial challenges faced by the Convention and urged cooperation for the shared goal of the long-term survival of species. Following expressions of gratitude to the Secretariat by all delegations, Chair Størkersen drew the meeting to a close at 5:58 pm.
A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF THE MEETING
“We recognize the important role of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, an international agreement that stands at the intersection between trade, the environment and development, promotes the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, should contribute to tangible benefits for local people, and ensures that no species entering into international trade is threatened with extinction. We recognize the economic, social and environmental impacts of illicit trafficking in wildlife, where firm and strengthened action needs to be taken on both the supply and demand sides. In this regard, we emphasize the importance of effective international cooperation among relevant multilateral environmental agreements and international organizations. We further stress the importance of basing the listing of species on agreed criteria.” (Rio+20 Outcome Document)
As Olympic torchbearers ran the final leg of their marathon for the start of the Olympics in London, the 62nd meeting of the Standing Committee (SC62) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) tackled its own marathon—addressing an agenda packed with 58 items comprising urgent financial matters, complex interpretation issues and assessment of national-level implementation, as well as multiple species crises. CITES Secretary-General John Scanlon perhaps quite justifiably called the meeting a “mini-CoP.” Many of the necessary elements were there: passionate debates on elephants and rhinos, difficult technical assessments and complex administrative questions—all amidst record numbers of observers and media attention.
As highlighted in opening remarks and throughout the meeting, the recognition by the international community of the Convention’s role at the intersection between trade, the environment and development by the June 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20), set the tone for this week’s discussions. In light of this highest-level political commitment and the objective difficulty in navigating the burgeoning agenda of the meeting, this brief analysis will focus on selected issues in the SC62 negotiations within the framework of the three pillars of sustainable development as outlined in the Rio+20 outcome document, with the agreed “package on elephants” cutting across the three pillars.
“…an international agreement that…ensures no species that enters into international trade is threatened with extinction…”
SC62 convened against a background of alarming news regarding poaching of Appendix I-listed elephants and rhinos, and large seizures of ivory and rhino horn, showing the dramatically negative impacts on species conservation of unregulated trade, estimated to be worth billions of dollars annually.
Experts were unanimous that we are in an “elephant crisis,” illustrated most recently by a major poaching incident earlier in 2012 involving the killing of close to 450 elephants in Bouba Ndjida National Park in northern Cameroon, and reports indicating that 2011 saw the highest levels of poaching in a decade. A number of new factors were highlighted as reasons behind the spike in poaching levels in many of the African range states, such as the increased involvement of militia-style organized-crime syndicates and the uncanny correlation between poaching incidents and increasing disposable income in Asian consumer countries revealed by a recent study. Combined with lack of data on Asian elephants and evidence of poor trade controls in Thailand and China, SC delegates agreed to address these unprecedented challenges through a comprehensive “package on elephants.” This gave many a sense of hope of making progress between now and CoP16 notwithstanding the pachydermal proportions of the issues at hand. The package includes wide-ranging urgent measures on elephant conservation, building on the success of the African Elephant Action Plan and Fund, and aiming ultimately to update the CITES long-standing resolution on elephants.
The environmental dimension of the continuing and escalating rhino crisis seems to be even more complex, with poachers killing 448 rhinos in South Africa alone in 2011. Demand has been fueled, according to a report commissioned by the CITES Secretariat, by rumors of rhino horn being a cure for cancer, in addition to its use as a recreational drug. A great deal of work has been carried out by the Secretariat in particular, including the launch of the film “Rhino under threat” during Rio+20 and an innovative GEF-funded project to strengthen law enforcement capacity in South Africa through forensic-based technologies. However, poaching levels indicate that much more needs to be done to effectively address the root causes of the crisis. SC62 thus agreed that the working group on rhinos continue its work up to CoP16, focusing on urgent short-term measures to reduce illegal trade, including the sharing of investigation results with countries of origin, high-level awareness raising, as well as adequate legislation and enforcement controls.
Furthermore, tigers continued to be on the Committee’s agenda at SC62. While international tiger conservation and collaboration efforts such as the Global Tiger Recovery Programme, as well as the World Bank Global Tiger Initiative (GTI), were considered success stories and possibly a business model that could be taken into account also in the context of the African Elephant Fund, reports of “mushrooming” captive breeding operations rang alarm bells about possible negative environmental implications due to lack of or poor enforcement. The Chinese delegation argued that this is a domestic issue and that there is no evidence that tiger-breeding facilities negatively affect wild tiger conservation, or even of the existence of illegal markets for tiger parts, adding that medicinal use of tiger bone has been prohibited in China for 19 years. Insufficient data and reporting on tiger farms thus took center-stage, with SC62 promptly requesting information for CoP16 on the extent of breeding operations, number of tigers involved and seized derivatives, with the GTI offering US$100,000 to develop a comprehensive study of commercial tiger breeding in China.
“We recognize the economic…impacts of illicit trafficking in wildlife, where firm and strengthened action needs to be taken on both the supply and demand sides.”
In coming to grips with well-documented and potential environmental crises, SC62 acutely felt the need to tackle the entire trade chain. This was notable in the elephant conservation discussions, which resulted in detailed requests for collaboration on enforcement between range states, transit and consumer countries. Relying on CITES unique compliance mechanisms, these recommendations provide a much-needed push in the lead-up to CoP16. For example, the SC put pressure on Thailand—an emerging destination market and CoP16 host—to show prompt progress on ivory trade controls or be sanctioned with a suspension that could block its lucrative orchid exports. Along similar lines, the need for demand-reduction strategies was emphasized with regard both to tiger parts and rhino horn.
At the same time, certain SC participants wondered whether range states are able to reap potential environmental benefits of the economics of international wildlife trade. This was the underlying theme in the controversial discussions on a decision-making mechanism on possible future ivory sales, which was entertained against the background of the CITES ban on ivory trade in force since 1990 and the two exceptional sales held in 1999 and 2008. Those opposing ivory trade argue that any legal sale opens up all (and therefore illegal) trade and encourages poaching. MIKE, however, indicated that there is no evidence either way that the international “one-off” ivory sales conducted under CITES in 2008 caused poaching levels to increase or decrease, adding that, without further data, it is not possible to assess the impact of the one-off sale. Proponents for a legal trade, conversely, argue that sales would yield conservation funding and reduce demand for illegal ivory. The consultancy report examining a possible mechanism for a future legal international trade in ivory proposed the creation of an ivory sales body, the “central ivory selling organization,” modeled after the De Beers diamond cartel, as a means to ensure the “value of this ivory [is] re-invested in the areas where it originated.” In initial discussions during SC62, many were very concerned that this report would revive a long-standing and divisive debate, which had been settled during CoP14 following an impasse some compared to the International Whaling Commission. In the end, however, these fears proved unfounded as the collegial spirit of deliberations, African elephant range state commitment, and a shared sense of urgency yielded a satisfactory outcome. Delegates agreed to “save” same of the innovative ideas of the consultancy report and invite comments from a variety of stakeholders, so that a broader and more balanced base for discussions is ready for CoP16 on the potential options for and benefits of an economics-savvy approach to the elephant crisis.
“…an international agreement that… should contribute to tangible benefits for local people…”
Proposed changes to the CITES Strategic Vision require CITES to contribute to a variety of globally agreed goals and targets—some with significant social dimensions—such as: the UN Millennium Development Goals; the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its CITES-relevant Aichi Targets adopted under the Convention on Biological Diversity; and the Rio+20 outcome to promote the development of a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication. While this is in line with sought-after synergies across the biodiversity cluster and the updated global agenda on sustainable development, some were concerned that this could lead to a shift in priorities and funding away from CITES “core” activities.
Several social elements, however, are inevitably linked with CITES’ environmental tasks and the Rio+20 outcome is uncharacteristically “demanding” in linking the Convention with local people. In effect, as noted by one expert, many habitats for endangered species are also pockets of poverty. Lack of land tenure and benefit-sharing may drive poor rural communities towards short-termism, contributing to the depletion of a species population despite the benefits of a more long-term perspective. And while media attention is focused on large-scale criminal operations, small-scale but continuous illegal trade may equally have decimating effects on endangered species, as noted by one elephant expert in the corridors. In light of the “astronomical” costs of protecting high-valued species, ensuring benefits for local people may be not only a cost-effective but also a socially just way to improve enforcement and conservation: as the consultant for the possible ivory trade decision-making mechanism asserted, “incentives are the fulcrum of regulation.”
While the SC62 plenary did not have an opportunity to debate these issues at length, the working group on livelihoods made progress on the sidelines, with the Committee granting a brisk endorsement to a new draft resolution on the livelihoods of poor rural communities for CoP16, including notable references to tenure rights, traditional knowledge, community engagement and benefit-sharing. The SC62 outcome and the expectations recently raised by Rio+20 suggest progress on the matter. Since these discussions have been long-standing under the Convention because of concerns about including social elements in science-based listing decisions, it remains to be seen whether CoP16 will achieve consensus in the face of mounting species crises.
COUNTDOWN TO COP16
While the “important role” of CITES in the international sustainable development landscape is clearly recognized, it may turn out that the Convention’s administration is “unsustainable.” SC62 significantly augmented the already enormous workload of preparations for CoP16, and did very little to help an increasingly over-burdened but widely-appreciated Secretariat with one of the smallest budgets among the biodiversity-related conventions and the most complex compliance processes. The lack of a budget increase on the horizon, due to the dire global economic situation, and the strongly criticized retention of funds by UNEP, cast a shadow over the path to CoP16 and beyond.
Nevertheless, the Secretariat appears committed to explore all possible avenues. Gratis-staff and innovative private funding for CITES-related technology development were mentioned in that regard, while at the same time CoP16 is expected to decide on whether to take the long and unpredictable road of inviting the Global Environment Facility to serve as the Convention’s financial mechanism. Still, delegates left Geneva quite satisfied about the steps taken towards the protection of flagship and other species. When they next come together in Thailand in March 2013, CoP16 will provide better indication as to whether the Rio+20 endorsement of CITES will lead to long-lasting fruits for international wildlife trade and its contribution to conservation and sustainable development.
IUCN World Conservation Congress 2012: The Congress theme will be Nature+, a slogan that captures the fundamental importance of nature and its inherent link to every aspect of people’s lives. The Congress will explore pressing environmental and development challenges and how strong and resilient nature is intricately linked to solving these issues, including Nature+climate, nature+livelihoods, nature+energy and nature+economics. dates: 6-15 September 2012 location: Jeju, Republic of Korea contact: IUCN Congress Secretariat phone: +41-22-999-0336 fax: +41-22-999-0002 email:[email protected] www: http://www.iucnworldconservationcongress.org/
2nd Meeting of Signatory States to the CMS Sharks MOU: This meeting is expected to produce an action plan for sharks. dates: 24-28 September 2012 location: Bonn, Germany contact: Melanie Virtue, CMS Secretariat phone: +49-228-815- 2426 fax: + 49-228-815-2449 email: [email protected] www: http://www.cms.int/species/sharks/MOS_Mtgs/mos1_docs_overview.htm
COFO 21: The 21st session of the Committee on Forestry of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) will coincide with World Forest Week 3 and the release of the 2012 State of the World’s Forests report. dates: 24-28 September 2012 location: Rome, Italy contact: Peter Csoka, FAO, Forestry Department phone: +39-06-5705-3925 fax: +39-06-5705-3152 email: [email protected] www: http://www.fao.org/forestry/cofo/en/
CBD COP 11: The agenda for the next meeting of the CBD COP includes consideration of, inter alia: the status of the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits arising from their Utilization; implementation of the Strategic Plan 2011-2020 and progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets; issues related to financial resources and the financial mechanism; and biodiversity and climate change. This meeting will be preceded by the sixth meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. dates: 8-19 October 2012 location: Hyderabad, India contact: CBD Secretariat phone: +1-514-288-2220 fax: +1-514-288-6588 email: [email protected] www: http://www.cbd.int/cop11/
ITTC-48: The 48th Session of the International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC) will coincide with sessions of the four Committees (Finance and Administration, Economic Information and Market Intelligence, Forest Industry, and Reforestation and Forest Management). dates: 5-10 November 2012 location: Yokohama, Japan contact: ITTO Secretariat phone: +81-45-223-1110 fax: +81-45-223-1111 email: [email protected] www: http://www.itto.int
Meeting to Negotiate the Institutional and Legal Framework for the Central Asian Flyway: Organized under the auspices of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), this meeting, held back-to-back with the first meeting of signatories to the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia (Raptors MoU), will consider options for a legal and institutional framework for the Central Asian Flyway (CAF). dates: 12-13 December 2012 location: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates contact: UNEP/CMS Secretariat phone: +49-228-815-2426 fax:+49-228-815-2449 email: [email protected] www: http://www.cms.int/species/CAF/ngs_meetings.htm
CITES COP 16: The opening of the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora will coincide with the 40th anniversary of the conclusion of the text of the Convention. It will be preceded and followed by two one-day meetings of the Standing Committee. dates: 3-14 March 2013 location: Bangkok, Thailand contact: CITES Secretariat phone: +41-22-917-81-39/40 fax: +41-22-797-3417 email: [email protected] www: http://www.cites.org/