Summary report, 17–21 May 2005

15th Meeting of the CITES Plants Committee, Joint Meeting of the Animals and Plants Committees, and 21st Meeting of the Animals Committee

The 15th meeting of the Plants Committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) convened from 17-21 May 2005, in Geneva, Switzerland. On 20-21 May a joint session was held with the Animals Committee, which opened its 21st meeting on 20 May and will continue until Wednesday, 25 May. The Plants Committee discussed 24 agenda items on a range of topics, including: the implementation of the Strategic Vision until 2007; the review the significant trade in Appendix II species; Appendix annotations to plants, medicinal plants and orchids; bigleaf mahogany; and Harpagophytum spp.

The joint session addressed issues of common interest to both committees, including: the Strategic Vision and Plan until 2013; the review of Scientific Committees and regional communication; the study of production systems for specimens of CITES-listed species; and the Addis Ababa Principles and Guidelines for the Sustainable Use of Biodiversity adopted by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Despite a heavy agenda, participants to both meetings managed to tackle some of the more pressing issues, in many cases exceeding their own expectations.


CITES 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, United States, on 3 March 1973, and entered into force on 1 July 1975. There are currently 167 Parties to the Convention.

The aim of CITES is to ensure that international trade of 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 endangered due to international trade. Trade in such species is permitted only in exceptional circumstances. Appendix II species are those that may become endangered if their trade is not regulated, thus they require controls aimed at preventing unsustainable use, maintaining ecosystems and preventing species from becoming eligible for Appendix I. Appendix III species are those subject to domestic regulation by a Party requesting the cooperation of other Parties to control international trade in that species. 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), with scientific and biological data on population and trade trends. The proposal must be adopted by a two-thirds majority of Parties present at a COP. As the trade impact on a species increases or decreases, the COP decides whether or not the species should be shifted between or removed from the Appendices. There are approximately 5,000 fauna species and 28,000 flora species protected under the three CITES Appendices.

Parties regulate international trade of CITES species through a system of permits and certificates that are required before specimens listed in its 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 these permits and certificates based on the advice of a Scientific Authority. These two national authorities also assist with CITES enforcement through cooperation with customs, police or other appropriate agencies. Parties maintain trade records that are annually forwarded to CITES, the sum of which enables 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 and the Scientific Committees: the Plants Committee (PC), the Animals Committee (AC) and the Nomenclature Committee. As scientific and technical support bodies, the role of both the PC and AC is to: undertake periodic reviews of species to ensure appropriate categorization in the CITES Appendices; undertake other tasks requested by COP; advise when certain species are subject to unsustainable trade and recommend action; and draft resolutions on animal and plant matters for consideration by the Parties.

AC and PC representatives are elected at COP meetings by their respective regional groups, and the number of representatives by region is allocated considering the number of Parties within each region and the distribution of biodiversity. The Chair and Vice-Chair are elected by the AC and PC members.

The current PC regional representatives are: David L.N. Hafashimana (Uganda-Africa), Beatrice Khayota (Kenya-Africa), Irawati (Indonesia-Asia), Wichar Thitiprasert (Vice-Chair, Thailand-Asia), Ftima Mereles (Paraguay-Central and South America and the Caribbean), Dora Ingrid Rivera (Costa Rica-Central and South America and the Caribbean), Margarita Clemente (Chair, Spain-Europe), Giuseppe Frenguelli (Italy-Europe), Robert Gabel (US-North America), and Greg Leach (Australia-Oceania).

The current AC regional representatives are: Edson Chidziya (Zimbabwe-Africa), Richard Kiome Bagine (Kenya-Africa), Mohammad Pourkazemi (Iran-Asia), Siti Nuramaliati Prijono (Indonesia-Asia), Mario R. Jolon Morales (Guatemala-Central and South America and the Caribbean), Peter Vogel (Jamaica-Central and South America and the Caribbean), Thomas Althaus (Chair, Switzerland-Europe), Katalin Rodics (Hungary-Europe), Rodrigo Medelln (Vice-Chair, Mexico-North America), and Rod Hay (New Zealand-Oceania).

THIRTEENTH MEETING OF THE PLANTS COMMITTEE: PC-13 met in Geneva, Switzerland, from 12-15 August 2003, to consider strategic planning, significant trade, and evaluation of the Review of Significant Trade. Delegates also followed-up on COP-12 decisions on Harpagophytum spp., Guaiacum spp. and Aquilaria spp., and agreed on the terms of reference and schedule for the review of criteria for amending Appendices I and II.

FOURTEENTH MEETING OF THE PLANTS COMMITTEE: The 14th meeting of the Plants Committee (PC-14) convened from 16-20 February 2004, in Windhoek, Namibia. Delegates discussed 25 agenda items on a range of topics, including the: review of resolutions on plants and plant trade; definition of technical terms used in the annotations for medicinal plants; significant trade in plants; review of the CITES appendices; follow-up of decisions from the 12th meeting of CITES Conference of the Parties (COP-12); and species proposals for COP-13.

CITES COP-13: COP-13 met in Bangkok, Thailand, from 2-14 October 2004. Delegates addressed a range of topics, including 50 proposals to amend the CITES Appendices, enforcement and administrative matters, and cooperation with the CBD and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Delegates decided to list ramin, agarwood, as well as the great white shark and the humphead wrasse, on Appendix II. The irrawaddy dolphin was up-listed from Appendix II to Appendix I. Regarding the African elephant, Namibias request for an annual ivory quota was rejected, but Namibia was allowed to proceed with a strictly controlled sale of traditional ivory carvings. Delegates also agreed to an action plan aiming to crack down on unregulated domestic ivory markets. Namibia and South Africa were allowed an annual quota of five black rhinos each for trophy hunting, and Swaziland was also allowed to open up strictly controlled hunting of white rhinos. Other decisions focused on synergies with the FAO and the CBD, while enforcement issues received considerable attention, resulting in the announcement of a Southeast Asian Regional Action Plan on Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora based on joint law enforcement. 


On Tuesday, 17 May, CITES Secretary-General Willem Wijnstekers welcomed delegates, highlighting the key role of the Plants Committee (PC), as well as the other Scientific Committees, in the promotion of CITES implementation. He emphasized the inclusion of best available science in the planning for the Committees Strategic Vision until 2013.

The PC re-elected Margarita Clemente (Spain) as Chair and Wichar Thitiprasert (Thailand) as Vice-Chair.

CITES PC Chair Clemente thanked the Secretariat for the preparation of documents and stressed the role of the Scientific Committees in promoting the conservation and sustainable use of species. She highlighted the value of scientific input to the evaluation of significant trade and non-detriment findings, and pointed to the relevance of this issue in the review of the work of the Scientific Committees.

The PC adopted the document on the admission of observers (PC15 Doc. 4), and the meetings agenda (PC15 Doc. 3.1 (Rev.2)) with the inclusion of Hoodia spp. (Carrion flower) under Any other business. The Rules of Procedure for the meeting were adopted (PC15 Doc. 2.1) and the proposed amendments to the Rules of Procedure (PC15 Doc. 2.2) were forwarded for consideration at the joint session of the AC and PC. The PC then adopted the working programme (PC15 Doc. 3.2) with minor amendments.

The PC met in plenary on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, and in seven working groups established to address specific agenda items, inter alia, the review of significant trade, cooperation between CITES and CBD, and annotations to CITES Appendices.

This summary covers the deliberations of the PC and the joint session of the PC and AC meetings.


STRATEGIC VISION AND ACTION PLAN AND PRIORITIES UNTIL 2007: On Tuesday, 17 May, the Secretariat introduced the implementation of the Strategic Vision and Action Plan until 2007 (PC15 Doc. 6.1), inviting the PC to: consider activities outlined in the document; determine progress achieved in implementing them; and evaluate outstanding goals to be accomplished in the remaining two and a half years.

Mexico stressed the need to, inter alia: develop a simple guide to the Review of Significant Trade (RST) and a manual specifying the obligations and procedures of the Scientific Authorities; develop practical guidance for making non-detriment findings; and promote active participation by the scientific community at CITES meetings. Africa emphasized the importance of national and regional training for Scientific Authorities and exchange of information and data. South Africa added that the role of the PC in the development of appropriate domestic legislation and policies should be promoted. A working group on strategic planning (WG1), chaired by Greg Leach (Oceania), was established.

On Wednesday, 18 May, WG1 discussed the progress achieved in the implementation of the Strategic Vision and Action Plan, existing gaps in implementation and ways of improving coordination between Decisions of the Conference of the Parties (COP) and strategic planning.

On Thursday, 19 May, WG1 Chair Leach presented the report of the groups work (PC15 WG1 Doc. 1). On evaluation of the existing Strategic Vision and Action Plan, he noted that WG1 compiled a list of activities towards the achievement of the Strategic Vision and the Action Plan. On priorities, he identified a number of action points that have not received sufficient attention and should be prioritized in the PC work programme. The PC agreed to invite comments from Parties on the report before its submission to the Standing Committee (SC) and nominated the PC Chair and Vice-Chair as candidates for membership on the strategic plan working group to be established by the SC.

COP RESOLUTIONS AND DECISIONS DIRECTED TO THE PC: On Tuesday, the Secretariat introduced a document listing all instructions directed to the PC in currently valid resolutions and decisions (PC15 Doc. 6.2). The document also invites the PC to include these activities in its working programme for 2005-2007, in order to determine priorities and to achieve their effective implementation.

Chair Clemente noted that Resolution 13.10 (Trade in invasive alien species) should be linked to the CBD. Chair Clemente suggested this topic be discussed in WG1.

On Thursday, WG1 Chair Leach presented the report of the WG on strategic planning (PC15 WG1 Doc. 1), informing that most resolutions and decisions have been completed or are nearing completion; some are being implemented by other CITES bodies or Parties themselves; and some require urgent attention. The PC adopted the working programme for the period until COP-14, based on valid resolutions and decisions directed or related to the PC, including a list of high priority issues, such as review of significant trade in specimens of Appendix II species, criteria for amendment of CITES Appendices, and review of scientific committees.


REPORT ON PROGRESS: Species-based review: On Tuesday, the Secretariat reported on the progress in the implementation of the Review of Significant Trade (RST) in Appendix II species. Chair Clemente highlighted information documents on the assessment of the conservation status, management and regulation of the trade in Pericopsis elata (PC15 Inf. 2), the use of and trade in agarwood in Japan (PC15 Inf. 6) and the trade of and use in agarwood in Taiwan, Province of China (PC15 Inf. 7). The Secretariat presented a document on species-based RST (PC15 Doc. 10.1.1), which makes recommendations on: cycads, Aquilaria malaccensis, Pericopsis and Aloe species from East Africa used as extracts; Prunus africana; and summarizes Parties replies on: Galanthus woronowii, Podophyllum hexandrum, Cyathea contaminans, Cibotium barometz, Dendrobium nobile and an orchid species from Belize. A working group on RST in specimens of Appendix II species (WG2), chaired by Noel McGough (UK), was established.

On Wednesday, WG2 reviewed the significant trade in various species and analyzed country replies to determine if they have complied with the provisions of the Conventions Article IV (Regulation of Trade in Specimens of Species Included in Appendix II) and whether the species will be eliminated or from the review.

On Thursday, WG2 Chair McGough summarized the recommendations of the group. On the analysis of country replies, he said the majority were eliminated from the next stage in the review, except for: Vietnam for Cibotium barometz and Dendrobium nobile; Indonesia for Cyathea contaminans; the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic for Dendrobium nobile; and Georgia for Galanthus woronowi. On Saturday, 21 May, the PC adopted these recommendations (PC15 WG2 Doc.1 Rev.1).

SPECIES TO BE REVIEWED AFTER COP-13: Selection of new species: On Tuesday, the Secretariat introduced a document on the selection of new species for review after COP-13 (PC15 Doc. 10.2.1 and Rev. 1.). The UK requested clarification on the methodology used for selecting new species, and the United Nations Environment Programme/World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) explained how the data were analyzed. Mexico noted his country would submit data on Euphorbia antisyphilitica, suggesting its exclusion from the review. North America said the purpose of the review was to determine if the management of species at national levels is appropriate. Chair Clemente referred this issue to WG2 on the RST.

On Wednesday, WG2 analyzed the selection of new species for trade reviews after COP-13, and the report on seven Asian medicinal plants.

On Thursday, WG2 Chair McGough presented the groups recommendation to exclude the majority of the species analyzed from the review because, in most cases, there is no significant trade in these species.

On Saturday, WG2 Chair McGough presented the report of the WG on RST in specimens of Appendix II species (PC15 WG2 Doc. 1 (Rev. 1)). WG2 assessed 76 species proposed for trade reviews, agreeing on the review of significant trade in the following species after COP-13: Pachypodium bispinosum; Pachypodium succulentum; Rauvolfia serpentina; Euphorbia candelabrum; Euphorbia stellata; Pterocarpus santalinus; Aloe ferox; Christensonia vietnamica; Myrmecophila tibicinis; Taxus wallichiana; and Nardostachys grandiflora. WG2 also proposed to consider the species from Madagascar at PC-16. The PC adopted the document with minor editorial amendments.

Seven Asian medicinal species: On Tuesday, Germany presented the main findings of a study on the status, use, trade and trade control of seven Asian medicinal species (PC15 Doc. 10.2.2), namely, Cistanche deserticola, Dioscorea deltoidea, Nardostachys grandiflora, Picrorhiza kurrooa, Pterocarpus santalinus, Rauvolfia serpentina, and Taxus wallichiana. Chair Clemente referred this issue to WG2 on RST.

On Thursday, Germany suggested, and the PC agreed, that the remaining recommendations on the document, which were not analyzed during this meeting, should be forwarded to PC-16.


On Tuesday, Chair Clemente opened discussions on the periodic review of plant species included in the CITES Appendices (PC15 Doc. 11), stressing the need to clean up the current list of some 28,000 species, including their de-listing and up-listing. The Secretariat introduced Annex 1 to the document, which contains a set of guidelines. He outlined the task before PC-15, that of developing a schedule and a list of species for the periodic review. Oceania requested extending the review to include species listed on Appendix III. Asia highlighted the challenge of de-listing large families of plant species. A working group on the periodic review of plant species included in the CITES Appendices (WG3), chaired by Jonas Luthy (Switzerland), was established.

On Wednesday, the working group went through the list of species proposed for the review, agreeing on a preliminary list of specific taxa for PC review.

On Thursday, WG3 Chair Luthy presented the list of potential species for review (PC15 WG3 Doc. 1); and the PC adopted the following list: Saussurea costus, Dioscorea deltoidea, Euphorbia antisiphilitica, Balmea stormiae, Platymiscium pleiostachyum, Podocarpus parlatorei, Agave arizonica, Agave parviflora, Agave victoriae-reginae, Nolina interrata, Tillandsia spp, Shortia galacifolia, Orothamnus zeyheri, Protea odorata, Welwitschia mirabilis, Hedychium philippinense, Pereskia spp., Pereskiopsis spp., Sclerocactus spp., Cycas beddomei, Didieraceae spp., all Appendix I species of Euphorbia spp., all Madagascan Appendix I species of Aloe spp., and Peristeria elata. The PC also agreed to establish an intersessional working group chaired by Switzerland to advance the review and report to PC-16.    


On Tuesday, Uwe Schippmann (Germany) presented the document on annotations for medicinal plants included in Appendix II (PC15 Doc. 17) prepared by the IUCN/Species Survival Commission (SSC) Medicinal Plant Specialist Group. He noted that the group analyzed problems posed by differences in annotations for medicinal plants, particularly in relation to major commodities and proposed using standard text referring to finished pharmaceutical products. Chair Clemente cautioned that some species like Swietenia have three different annotations, which cause implementation problems for customs authorities. The US suggested using another term, such as finished medicinal, products and several participants stressed the need to define pharmaceutical or finished medicinal products. A working group on annotations for medicinal plants (WG5), chaired by Uwe Schippmann, was established.

On Wednesday, the working group on medicinal plants considered each of the existing annotations to medicinal plants, agreeing on the use of new streamlined language in annotations to most medicinal plants in order to exclude finished pharmaceutical products from CITES control.

On Thursday, WG5 Chair Schippmann reported on the recommendations developed by the working group (PC15 WG5 Doc.1), which proposes the following revised annotations for medicinal plant species in Appendix II: Annotation #10 (Taxus chinensis, T. fuana, T. cuspidata, T. sumatrana, and T. wallichiana) should read designates all parts and derivatives except: a) seeds and pollen; and b) finished pharmaceutical products packaged and ready for retail trade; Annotation #3 (Panax ginseng and P. quinquefolius) should read designates whole and sliced roots and parts of roots to clarify what is included in CITES controls; and Annotation #7 (Pterocarpus santalinus) should read designates logs, wood-chips, powder and extracts in order to continue exempting from CITES control finished products such as furniture and musical instruments. The PC established an intersessional working group chaired by Germany to continue work on this matter.


On Tuesday, the US presented a document on annotations for plants listed in Appendices II and III (PC15 Doc. 18.1), drawing delegates attention to inconsistencies in interpretations on whether parts and derivatives of plants are included in or excluded from CITES control. Chair Clemente established a working group on annotations for plants listed in Appendices II and III (WG6), chaired by Robert Gabel (US) to address this issue.

On Wednesday, WG6 considered the inconsistencies in the interpretation of whether parts and derivatives of Appendix II and III-listed species are included under CITES control (when no specific annotation exists). Discussion focused on how to ensure that all parts and derivatives are included under CITES control, unless specifically excluded, and participants agreed to work on a proposal to be presented at the next COP.

On Thursday, WG6 Chair Gabel presented the recommendations of the working group (PC15 WG6 Doc.1), which include: amending Resolution Conf. 11.21 (Annotations) to indicate that the Secretariat should not make substantive amendments to the interpretation of the Appendices without a specific COP decision; and amending Resolution Conf. 9.24 (Rev. COP-13) thereby requiring Parties to specify which parts and derivatives are to be included when making proposals. The PC established an intersessional drafting group, chaired by the US, to work on the amendments.


On Tuesday, Switzerland introduced a document on the implementation of Appendix II orchid annotations (PC15 Doc. 19) and the definition of individual containers for shipments of artificially propagated orchid hybrids (PC15 Doc. 19 Addendum). He noted the preparation of a questionnaire (PC15 Doc. 19 Annex 1) by the CITES Management Authorities of Switzerland and Thailand to help monitor the implementation of the exemptions, which would be distributed to Parties prior to COP-14. Asia informed delegates that an illustrated guide to help customs officials recognize artificially propagated hybrids exempted by CITES would be ready in the coming months. Chair Clemente stressed the need to simplify the existing exemptions and established a working group (WG7), chaired by Wichar Thitiprasert (Thailand).

On Wednesday, the working group discussed how to monitor implementation of Appendix II orchid annotations. Participants suggested modifying a questionnaire to obtain more information on implementation of exemptions for certain artificially propagated orchid hybrids and simplifying the questions. Participants agreed to merge two exemptions for artificially propagated orchid hybrids (PC15 Doc. 19 Annex 2) as a means to streamline the exemption definition without expanding the scope.

Participants also agreed to the Swiss proposal to include individual shelves in CC containers (special shelved containers used to transport live flowers) as part of the definition of individual containers that exempts the shipment of certain orchid hybrids from CITES controls.

On Thursday, WG7 Chair Thitiprasert presented the groups recommendations: add the CC container to the annotation on individual containers; simplify the questionnaire; request that a group of countries work on the questionnaire intersessionally and report to PC-16; and adopt the proposal on merged annotations. The PC established an intersessional working group, chaired by Thailand, to work further on these recommendations.


AFRICA: On Thursday, Beatrice Khayota (Kenya) presented the report (PC15 Doc. 5.1) on activities in the African region, inter alia: the development of guidelines for Aloe species; a survey on Prunus Africana; a regional meeting on devils claw (Harpagophytum); a study on Hoodia spp.; a survey on illegal exploitation of the East African sandalwood (Osiris lanceolata); and an Eastern African regional project on a network on medicinal plants and traditional medicine.

ASIA: Irawati (Indonesia) and Z. Mukshar Md. Shaari (Malaysia) reported on regional activities since PC-14 (PC15 Doc. 5.2), noting that they received reports from five out of 32 CITES Parties in Asia. They highlighted, inter alia: the Indonesia-Singapore agarwood consultation meeting; a tri-national taskforce on ramin trade law enforcement comprising Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore; Myanmar-China cooperation on permit verification for Taxus; and the ASEAN Regional Action Plan for Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora for 2005-2010.

CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN: Ftima Mereles (Paraguay) and Dora Ingrid Rivera (Costa Rica) presented the report (PC15 Doc. 5.3), highlighting a series of CITES-related workshops held throughout the region, and the ongoing efforts to revitalize the Central American Central Council for Environment and Development.

EUROPE: Giuseppe Frenguelli (Italy) presented the report (PC15 Doc. 5.4), highlighting two regional meetings organized since PC-14. He said the 5th European Regional CITES Plants meeting held in Warsaw, Poland, produced a list of recommendations, including, inter alia, the need for closer cooperation between CITES Management and Scientific Authorities, enforcement authorities, timber traders and NGOs to exchange information on timber trade in Europe. He noted that participants to the workshop on Management and Enforcement of the CITES Timber Trade in the European Region, held in Perugia, Italy, recommended to the PC, inter alia: establishing a simple standard mechanism for measuring timber volume; standardizing annotations for CITES timber listings; and identifying best practice in non-detriment findings. Frenguelli also emphasized the importance of a Masters course at the University of Andaluca, Spain, to provide participants with the tools for understanding how CITES works, and noted a few obstacles associated with communication, particularly in Eastern Europe.

NORTH AMERICA: Robert Gabel (US) presented the North America regional report (PC15 Doc. 5.5), and highlighted the positive interaction within the region and the coordination meeting held in Queretaro, Mexico, prior to COP-13. He underscored the work undertaken by Canada and the US on issues related to mahogany trade, Mexicos study on Guaiacum, and Canada and Mexicos efforts on CITES enforcement. 

OCEANIA: Greg Leach (Australia) presented the report (PC15 Doc. 5.6.). He said that significant communication has been maintained in the region under the auspices of the second Oceania Capacity Building Workshop held in Brisbane, Australia, and thanks to the attendance of all Oceania Parties at COP-13. He noted that the workshops were attended by a number of non-Parties, engaged in significant international trade. Leach stressed that these events assisted in establishing communication networks within the region, and enhanced information flow and cooperation on CITES issues. He informed that since PC-14, two Oceania countries have signed the Convention, namely Palau and Samoa.


The Nomenclature Committee on flora (NC) convened on Wednesday, 18 May, and was co-chaired by Noel McGough (UK) and Ute Grimm (Germany). The NC addressed: official tasks and working practice of the Committee; the UNEP-WCMC checklist and updates on existing checklists; nomenclature issues following COP-13; and funding issues.

On Thursday, Co-Chair McGough presented the results of the NC meeting with a view to making recommendations to COP-14. On plant taxa for which there is no standard reference, he informed that Mexico and Germany are working on Guaiacum. On existing checklists, he informed that the checklist for orchids and the cactus lexicon are almost ready for publication. He said there are updates ready for the Aloe and Pachypodium checklist, which will be forwarded to COP-14. Austria informed that the orchids Bulbophyllum checklist is ready and that comments from experts and Parties should be sought prior to its publication. The PC agreed to carry this consultation out through the CITES internet site.


On Thursday, the Secretariat reported on the progress of the Export Quota Working Group (EQWG), explaining that Decision 12.72 (Rev. COP-13) (Management of annual export quotas) requests the Standing Committee (SC) to consider this issue and report to COP-14. He noted that COP Decision 13.66 (Management of annual export quotas) requires the SC to instruct its EQWG to elaborate guidelines for the Parties in order to establish, implement, monitor and report on national export quotas for CITES-listed species. The Secretariat informed that the EQWG is preparing a document including draft guidelines on the management of export quotas, which will be submitted to the AC and PC for comments in July 2005. He underscored that, taking into account the comments received from the AC and PC, the working group will prepare a draft resolution to be presented to the SC in 2006 and forwarded for consideration at COP-14.


GLOBAL STRATEGY FOR PLANT CONSERVATION: On Tuesday, Chair Clemente noted that COP Decision 13.8 (Global Strategy for Plant Conservation) establishes that the PC shall link its activities and collaborate with the CBD Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC), especially regarding target XI (No species of wild flora endangered by international trade), and on other CBD-related issues. Referring to CITES Notification to the Parties 2005/017, which includes a variety of potential actions to enhance synergies between CITES and the CBD, Austria suggested the PC elaborate a best practice guide on synergies between the two Conventions. Oceania noted that delegates should identify how the PC could contribute with the GSPC and to the CBD target to significantly reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010. Mexico noted the need to take concrete actions to enhance synergies between CITES and the CBD, and fulfill the Millennium Development Goals. A working group on synergies between CITES and the CBD (WG4), co-chaired by Michael Kiehn (Austria) and Hesiquio Benitez (Mexico), was established.

On Wednesday, WG4 considered different aspects of cooperation between these two Conventions focusing on ways to: provide input for the assessment of the GSPC targets; achieve synergies between CITES and the CBD; and use synergies to improve access to funding for conservation efforts.

On Thursday, WG4 Co-Chair Kiehn reported on the outcomes of the WG, and outlined the proposed activities to achieve greater synergies between the two Conventions, inter alia: improving communication; compiling best practice projects showcasing synergies; and offering CITES expertise to the CBD.

On Saturday, the PC adopted the report of WG4 (PC15 WG4 Doc. 1 and Addendum), which demonstrates the contribution of PC activities to the achievement of GSPC target XI and other targets, and seeks to develop the strategy for furthering CITES involvement in the CBD and GSPC. An intersessional WG, co-chaired by Canada and Mexico, was established to develop the strategy and to compile case studies on synergies between both Conventions. WG4 Co-Chair Kiehn stated that the document on contributions of CITES to the CBD and GSPC targets will be forwarded to the Standing Committee.


On Thursday, the Secretariat introduced trade in alien invasive species (AIS), reminding the PC that Resolution 13.10 (Trade in alien invasive species) instructs the CITES Secretariat, in conjunction with the AC and PC, to establish cooperation with the CBD Secretariat and the IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group in relation to AIS.

Chair Clemente suggested requesting the CBD Secretariat to convey its concerns with regard to potentially invasive species listed on CITES Appendices. Mexico, supported by Africa, Oceania and Austria, requested the CITES Secretariat to carry out an analysis of the CBD guidelines on AIS in order to identify CITES potential contribution to the work of the CBD and guide its activities. Switzerland cautioned against duplication of work between CITES and the CBD. Many delegates pointed to the need for more information-sharing initiatives.

The PC requested the Secretariat to prepare a document on the possibilities for CITES to contribute to the CBD AIS principles and to ask the CBD Secretariat for comments on the invasive potential of plant species included in the CITES Appendices.


On Thursday, Germany presented a report on the implementation of decisions on Harpagophytum spp. (devils claw) (PC15 Inf. 11), informing that its Scientific Authority has contacted German industries that import and process devils claw in order to identify companies that would: exclusively buy material collected using sustainable methods under a long-term contract; support local communities through mutually-agreed activities; and start a campaign in Germany for promoting sustainable collection of species from the wild. The Secretariat stressed that COP Decision 13.60 (Harpagophytum) asked the PC to decide what action was required for outstanding reports from the importing countries of this species. Chair Clemente then asked Germany to report at PC-16 on possible measures to shift consumers preference from cultivated material to sustainable collection from wild sources that benefit local communities. Germany underscored that it will continue its efforts to import devils claw from sustainable wild sources and asked Parties to assist it in identifying other importing countries that need to comply with COP Decision 13.60.

The PC recommended: the range States to submit a list of all importing countries of devils claw to the Secretariat; the Secretariat to request these countries to submit information on imports of devils claw; and Germany to provide an update on this issue to PC-16.


On Thursday, Switzerland presented a proposal to include a reference to cut leaves in Annotation #1 on artificially propagated plants that are excluded from CITES control (PC15 Doc. 18.2). He said including cut leaves would allow a more efficient implementation of this annotation, since cut flowers are already included, and would not affect conservation of wild populations. Oceania, North America, Africa and the UK expressed concern about the possibility for inspecting authorities to differentiate between cut leaves from artificially propagated plants and those from wild plants, especially with regard to medicinal plants. South Africa said this proposal would not have a negative impact on cycads. The PC invited Switzerland to amend the proposal taking into consideration the comments received and the work of the PC on plant annotations to be forwarded to PC-16.


On Thursday, the Secretariat reported on the effects of implementing the revised definition of artificially propagated, following COP Decision 13.72 (Artificially propagated plants) which revised Resolution 11.11 (Regulation of trade in plants). The Decision requests the PC to: monitor the effects of implementing the revised definition on the production of specimens of Appendix I species grown from wild-collected seeds and spores, particularly on any adverse effects on the conservation of Appendix I species that have been subject to this revised definition; and report their findings to COP-14.

The PC agreed to request the Secretariat to prepare a Notification to the Parties requesting information on the application of the revised definition.


On Thursday, Chair Clemente opened discussions on the Bigleaf Mahogany Working Group (PC15 Doc. 21; PC15 Inf. 1; PC15 Inf. 5; and PC15 Inf. 9), noting a growing concern over enforcement of Appendix II listing of bigleaf mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) in its main range states: Peru, Brazil and Bolivia. She also said bigleaf mahogany should be a showcase for sustainable trade in timber species under CITES.

The PC heard reports on the issue from South and Central America and the Caribbean, the US, the UK, and the Secretariat, and agreed to re-establish the Bigleaf Mahogany Working Group (BMWG), with the participation of Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Belize, the US, five PC members (two representatives from South and Central America and the Caribbean, two importing countries, and one CITES Secretariat representative), and NGOs. The PC nominated representatives of Peru and the US as BMWG Chair and Vice-Chair respectively, to be selected from three candidates in each country.

On Saturday, Peru reaffirmed its commitment to implementing the Appendix II listing of bigleaf mahogany, thanked PC-15 for nominating it as Chair of the BMWG, and noted that it has established an export quota for Swietenia macrophylla in 2005.

The PC agreed to re-establish the BMWG, which will work intersessionally with a mandate to: prepare and adopt regional action plans on bigleaf mahogany; undertake inventories, including its range, population size and conservation status; initiate capacity-building programmes; and present progress reports to PC-16 (PC15 Sum. 2). The PC also agreed to send a letter to all States involved in bigleaf mahogany trade conveying its serious concerns and, in case the progress achieved is deemed insufficient by PC-16, that bigleaf mahogany will be included in the RST.


On Thursday, the Netherlands updated delegates on Parties work regarding conservation and sustainable use of timber trees in international trade. He reported that workshops were held in Cambridge, UK, and in Managua, Nicaragua, to evaluate tree species using the new CITES-listing criteria, in accordance with COP Decision 13.54 (Tree species). The workshops participants concluded, inter alia, that the PC should review four species, namely, Balmea stormiae, Cedreal odorata, Dalbergia retusa, and Dalbergia stevensonii. He outlined some recommendations from the workshops to: develop action plans for CITES and non-CITES listed species, involving range States and other relevant stakeholders; implement such action plans; and hold regional workshops in Southeast Asia, temperate zone countries and West Africa to identify relevant species. The PC invited the Netherlands to inform regional representatives of further workshops and report to PC-16.


On Thursday, Mexico presented, and the PC took note of, a report on the study on abundance, distribution and conservation status of Guaiacum Sanctum L. in Mexico (PC 15 Doc.23 and Inf. 4), which demonstrates that the species has good regeneration potential, is not in danger of extinction, and should be kept in Appendix II. He informed that on the basis of this study Mexico will develop a sustainable management strategy for this species.


On Thursday, the Secretariat informed participants that there have been no additional activities on this issue since COP-13. He added that a great number of CITES-listed plants do not have identification sheets and that the Secretariat is working on making the existing sheets available on the CITES internet site. Chair Clemente encouraged Parties to provide identification sheets when making proposals for inclusion of species in the appendices.


Hoodia spp.: On Saturday, PC-15 discussed the implementation of the annotation on Hoodia spp., with Namibia reporting on an upcoming meeting on the topic among the main range States: South Africa, Botswana and Namibia. The US and UK updated delegates on the developments in their respective countries. The PC agreed to ask the range States and importers to present their experiences in implementing the annotation for consideration at PC-16, and also to share information intersessionally.


On Friday, the Animals Committee meeting was formally opened by its Chair Thomas Althaus (Switzerland) to allow for the joint session of the Plants Committee and Animals Committee to take place. Chairs Margarita Clemente (Spain, PC Chair) and Althaus welcomed participants to the joint session of both Committees, designed to address issues of common interest.


REPORT ON PROGRESS: Review of Significant Trade in Madagascar: On Friday, the Secretariat introduced the report on the Review of Significant Trade (RST) in Madagascar, stressing the pioneering nature of this project, which will set the standards for future country-wide reviews (PC15/AC21 Doc. 10.1.2). Noting both Madagascars commitment to the RST and challenges in accomplishing it, he highlighted the need for political leadership, continued financial support, and further capacity building in the implementation of the Action Plan for Madagascar.

Madagascar reported on the progress in the implementation of the RST in the following areas: legislation, policy development, law enforcement and capacity building. She highlighted, inter alia: development of national legislation in support of CITES; appointment of Scientific Authorities for both fauna and flora; and cooperation between Scientific and Management Authorities. She also noted that export quotas on several Appendix I species have been increased.

Many delegates urged transparency in Madagascars RST process. North America stressed that national activities should be targeted in the implementation of the Action Plan, and that the precautionary principle in setting export quotas should be respected. TRAFFIC said performance indicators should be incorporated into future reports alongside timeframes. Species Management Specialists highlighted the need to involve Madagascars trading partners in the RST process. Neil McGough (UK) said that the Plants Committee Working Group on RST identified several Madagascan plant species as high priority for the next species-based RST.


On Friday, the Secretariat introduced the proposed amendments to the Rules of Procedure (PC15/AC21 Doc. 2.2) for the Scientific Committees. He said that Res. Conf. 11.1 (Rev. CoP13) (Adoption of the Rules of Procedure) requires the Standing Committee (SC) Rules of Procedure to be followed, as far as practicable, by the AC and PC. Noting that the SC will be reviewing its own Rules of Procedure at SC-53, he suggested that the Chairs of the AC and PC participate in discussions during SC-53 in late June 2005.


On Friday, the Secretariat stressed the importance of ensuring adequate participation by members of the Scientific Committees in the SC working group on strategic planning (PC15/AC21 Doc. 6.4), in accordance with COP Resolution 13.1 (Strategic vision). Oceania underscored the need for the Scientific Committees to coordinate intersessional work on issues such as performance indicators and lessons learned. The PC and AC agreed that AC Chair Althaus and AC Vice-Chair Rodrigo Medelln (Mexico) will attend the SC working group on strategic planning.


On Friday, AC Vice-Chair Rodrigo Medelln (Mexico) said that COP Decision 13.09 (Review of the Scientific Committees) requires the AC, PC and Nomenclature Committee (NC) to draft the terms of reference (TORs) for a review, with the objective of improving and facilitating the performance of the Committees. He suggested establishing a working group to present its outcomes at AC-22 and PC-16 (PC15/AC21 Doc. 7). The Secretariat stressed that it is necessary for the working group to adapt document PC15/AC21 Doc. 7 to follow closely the instructions of COP Decisions 13.09 and 13.10 (Review of the Scientific Committees). The PC agreed on the establishment of a working group (WG1), chaired by Medelln (AC North America), to draft the TORs for the review of the Scientific Committees.

On Saturday, WG1 Chair Medelln said that the WG drafted the TORs (PC15/AC21 WG1 Doc.1) to be considered by the SC, and highlighted some of its elements, including: identifying the functions and tasks of the members of the AC, PC and NC; compiling relevant available procedures relating to the functioning of the Scientific Committees; and undertaking an assessment of the Committees duties. WG1 will continue its work intersessionally and will present the results at AC-22 and PC-16. The PC and AC adopted the report.


On Friday, AC Chair Althaus (Switzerland) reported on concerns about the challenges of adequate regional representation and communication (PC15/AC21 Doc. 8.1), proposing that a working group analyze any problems current representatives may face in carrying out their duties, and develop appropriate solutions. A working group (WG2), chaired by Althaus, was established.

On Saturday, WG2 Chair Althaus said that the Group identified five major challenges from which problems emerge (PC15/AC21 WG2 Doc. 1): lack of communication; strengthening of commitment; availability of funds; overlapping roles (Chair and national representative at the same time); and capacity to perform the duties. WG1 will continue its work intersessionally and present the result at AC-22 and PC-16. The PC and AC adopted the report.

On the manual for regional representatives, Carlos Ibero Solana (Spain) outlined its possible contents. Chairs Clemente and Althaus said the manual should include the basic duties to be performed by regional representatives, and an explanation of the working methodology of the Scientific Committees. A working group (WG3), co-chaired by Chris Schurmann (the Netherlands) and Ibero (Europe AC Alternate Representative), was established.

On Saturday, Ibero presented the WG3 report (PC15/AC21 WG3 Doc. 1), which contains the proposed membership of the working group on the manual for regional representatives as well as an outline of its content and format. The PC and AC adopted the report and established the intersessional working group.


On Friday, the Secretariat said that COP Decision 13.68 (Production systems for specimens of CITES-listed species) requires the Scientific Committees to establish an intersessional joint working group on production systems and their relationship to source codes on CITES permits, noting that the working group shall be composed of members and observer Parties with broad regional representation, and present its results to AC-22 and PC-16. A working group (WG4), chaired by Robert Gabel (US), was established.

WG4 participants agreed to Chair Gabels suggestion that the US develop a synthesis document summarizing existing papers on production systems to be available for comment by July 2005.

On Saturday, WG4 Chair Gabel presented the report of the working group (PC15/AC21 WG4 Doc. 1), noting that no consensus has been achieved on the issues of source codes and classification of production systems. He mentioned that various options developed by the intersessional working group may be presented directly to COP-14 for Parties consideration. The PC and AC then adopted the report of WG4, which contains an outline of the synthesis document and the proposed schedule for intersessional work.


ADDIS ABABA SUSTAINABLE USE PRINCIPLES: On Friday, Siti Nuramaliati Prijono (Indonesia) presented a document (PC15/AC21 Doc. 13.1) analyzing the relevance to CITES of the Addis Ababa Principles and Guidelines for the Sustainable Use of Biodiversity adopted within the framework of the CBD. She explained that such principles are compatible with the CITES non-detriment finding processes, and proposed grouping the principles under three titles, namely: policies, laws and regulations; adaptive management; and cooperation. The Secretariat suggested inviting Parties to provide case studies on the use of such principles in the management of Appendix II species, and invited participants to define the structure of these case studies.

Europe welcomed the document, in particular the idea of analyzing total national harvest levels in non-detriment findings rather than just export levels. Oceania cautioned that the case studies should be relevant to CITES, and the US said the meeting should concentrate on the relevance of these principles for non-detriment findings, leaving the broader analysis of their relevance to CITES to the SC. Noting that all principles are interrelated, Conservation Force, Species Management Specialists and the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation cautioned against the selection of specific principles. The PC and AC decided to constitute a working group (WG5) chaired by Prijono to define guidelines for Parties to prepare case studies.

WG5 agreed to: ask the Secretariat to send a notification to Parties requesting examples of application of the Addis Ababa Principles and Guidelines in non-detriment findings; prepare a checklist for the application of the Addis Ababa Principles and Guidelines; and analyze both successes and failures in their application.

On Saturday, WG5 Chair Prijono said WG-5 recommended a specific format that Parties should use for submitting case studies on the application of Addis Ababa Principles and Guidelines and linkages to exports of Appendix II specimens (PC14/AC21 WG5 Doc.1). The US suggested participants select appropriate species for case studies before asking Parties to volunteer for carrying out such case studies. Mexico recommended that case studies should be done on the species selected for periodic review. The PC and AC adopted the report and decided to request species-based case studies.


On Friday, the Secretariat explained that the next AC and PC meetings are to be held back-to-back in 2006 (AC 21 Doc. 21 Rev. 1; PC 14 Doc. 25), invited Parties to offer to host the meetings, and said that a notification on the selection process will be sent to Parties. Indonesia and Peru offered to host the meetings.


On Saturday morning, the PC adopted its report (PC15 Sum. 1 and 2). In the afternoon, the AC and PC adopted the executive summary of the joint session (PC15/AC21 Sum. 1). Chairs Clemente and Althaus congratulated the participants and the Secretariat on a successful completion of the meetings, wishing them a successful continuation of work at AC-21. Chair Clemente closed PC-15 at 4:40 pm.

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