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Daily report for 2 October 2016

17th Meeting of the CITES Conference of the Parties (COP17)

After a two-day break, during which several working groups met to come to a consensus on documents, CITES CoP17 Committees reconvened.


PROPOSALS TO AMEND APPENDICES I AND II: African Grey Parrot: Gabon introduced CoP17 Prop.19 to transfer the African grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus) from Appendix II to Appendix I.

Claiming the inaccuracies and unpredictability of data presented, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO questioned whether all African grey parrot populations are threatened, particularly those in his country. The EU, with the US, UGANDA, the REPUBLIC OF CONGO and other Parties, supported its uplisting.

In a secret ballot, the proposal obtained a two-thirds majority, with 95 in favor, 35 opposed and 5 abstentions.

The Committee accepted the proposal.

Norfolk Island boobook owl: Australia presented CoP17 Prop.20 to transfer Norfolk Island boobook owl (Ninox novaeseelandiae undulata) from Appendix I to Appendix II, explaining there has been no evidence of trade since 1977.

The Committee adopted the proposal.

American crocodile: Colombia presented CoP17 Prop.21 to transfer American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) from Appendix I to Appendix II, with annotations.

BRAZIL, with JAMAICA, PERU, PANAMA, the US, SOUTH AFRICA, the EU, CUBA, CHINA and others, expressed support, calling the programme a model to support alternative livelihoods.

The Committee adopted the proposal.

Morelet’s crocodile: Mexico presented CoP17 Prop.22 to delete Morelet’s crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii) from Appendix II, noting the “zero quota for wild specimens traded for commercial purposes.”

The EU, COLOMBIA, PERU, SWITZERLAND and others expressed support.

The Committee adopted the proposal.

Nile crocodile: Madagascar withdrew CoP17 Prop.23 on Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus), agreeing with the EU and the US to work intersessionally to bring the proposal to CoP18.

Salt-water crocodile: Malaysia introduced CoP17 Prop.24 regarding the transfer of the salt-water crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) from Appendix I to Appendix II with a zero quota for Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia.

CAMBODIA, QATAR, the PHILIPPINES, PAKISTAN, the EU and the IUCN expressed support. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA opposed the proposal based on the lack of data supporting a stable population.

The Committee adopted the proposal without amendments.

Lizards: Guatemala introduced CoP17 Prop.25 to introduce 5 Abronia species to Appendix II and 5 species to Appendix I. Mexico introduced CoP17 Prop.26 to include the entire genus Abronia in Appendix II, while accepting to exclude the 10 Abronia species proposed in Proposal 25.

The Committee adopted both proposals.

Algerian fir: Algeria presented CoP17 Prop.59 to include Algerian fir (Abies numidica) in Appendix I, further proposing deferring the proposal to CoP18. Chair Gaynor noted the removal of the proposal from the CoP17 agenda.

African lion: The EU presented revised draft decisions (CoP17 Com.I.29) He summarized amendments to CoP17 Prop.4 to retain the lion in Appendix II with annotations: zero quota of bones, similar parts and derivatives taken from the wild and traded for commercial purposes; and annual export quotas on lion bones specimens derived from captive breeding operations and traded for commercial purposes in South Africa. GABON and BORN FREE expressed concerns.

The Committee adopted the document.

Other proposals: The Committee adopted proposals to include: Pygmy chameleons in Appendix II (CoP17 Prop.27), thereby making CoP17 Prop.28 unnecessary; Psychedelic rock gecko in Appendix I (CoP17 Prop.29); Turquoise dwarf gecko in Appendix I (CoP17 Prop.30); and Masobe gecko in Appendix II (CoP17 Prop.31).

The Committee also agreed to amend CoP17 Prop.32 on Earless monitor lizards to include in Appendix II and to transfer Chinese crocodile lizard from Appendix I to Appendix II (CoP17 Prop.33).

DRAFT RESOLUTIONS AND DECISIONS: The Secretariat introduced CoP17 Com.I.5 on draft decisions on bushmeat.

The Committee adopted the draft decisions.

HELMETED HORNBILL: Indonesia introduced CoP17 Com.I.6 on helmeted hornbill, highlighting a draft decision on enforcement controls and penalties.

The Committee adopted the draft decisions.

VICUÑA: Peru introduced CoP17 Com.I.7 on vicuña, focusing on an annotation to allow for the international trade of wool from vicuñas, only if wool comes from the shearing of live vicuñas.

ARGENTINA, supported by CHILE, BRAZIL, ECUADOR, COLOMBIA and others, supported Peru’s amendments. The Committee adopted the draft document.

SANDALWOOD: Kenya introduced CoP17 Com.I.8 on sandalwood.

The Committee adopted the draft decisions.


The Committee adopted the decisions.

CACTACEAE CHECKLIST (3RD EDITION): Plant nomenclature specialist presented CoP17 Com.I.18.

The Committee adopted the draft decisions.

ROSEWOOD: The Secretariat introduced CoP17 Com.I.23 on trade of rosewood species.

The Committee agreed to the decision.

AFRICAN WILD DOG: Burkina Faso, Chair of drafting group, presented CoP17 Com.I.28 on Wild Dog, summarizing draft decisions.

The Committee adopted draft decisions. 


REVIEW OF REPORTING REQUIREMENTS: Report of the Standing Committee: The UK introduced CoP Doc. 35.1 on special reporting requirements.

The Committee adopted the document.

Report of the Secretariat: The Secretariat introduced CoP17 Doc.35.2.

The Committee agreed to the document’s recommendations and draft decisions.

PURPOSE CODES ON CITES PERMITS AND CERTIFICATES: Canada introduced CoP17 Doc.37, directing the SC to reinstate the intersessional working group.

The Committee agreed to the document.

INTRODUCTION FROM THE SEA: The Secretariat introduced CoP17 Doc.36, highlighting the lack of responses to the Notification issued by the Secretariat inviting Parties to provide information on chartering practices.

CHINA and NEW ZEALAND supported extending the validity of Decisions 16.48, 16.49, 16.50 and 16.51 (Annex 1). The EU, opposed by BRAZIL, JAPAN and NEW ZEALAND, suggested deleting text on chartering arrangements.

The Committee agreed to the document, including an amended version of the Secretariat’s draft decision on the Introduction from the Sea.

IDENTIFICATION OF ELEPHANT AND MAMMOTH IVORY IN TRADE: Israel introduced CoP17 Doc.38, noting that Israel and the Secretariat agreed on modifications which were posted as an Addendum on the website.

The US supported the amended document. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION, supported by BOTSWANA, expressed reservations.

The Committee agreed to the document with amendments.

IDENTIFICATION OF ORIGIN OF CETACEANS BRED OR KEPT IN CAPTIVITY: Ukraine introduced CoP17 Doc.41 with minor amendments.

CMS welcomed the establishment of marking and registration systems, expressing concern over difficulty in verifying origin of cetaceans.

The Committee set up a group to discuss this agenda item.

DRAFT REVISION OF RESOLUTION CONF. 16.8 ON FREQUENT CROSS-BORDER NON-COMMERCIAL MOVEMENTS OF MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS: The EU introduced CoP17 Doc.42, aimed at further facilitating the cross-border non-commercial movements of musical instruments by deleting the requirement that such movements should be controlled and endorsed at the border by inspecting officers.

The LEAGUE OF AMERICAN ORCHESTRA, on behalf of several groups, welcomed the proposed changes. ISRAEL asked that manufacturers of musical instruments no longer use CITES Appendix-I listed species.

The Committee adopted the document with minor changes.

REVIEW OF THE DEFINITION OF ‘ARTIFICIALLY PROPAGATED’ FOR PLANTS: China introduced CoP17 Doc.43, noting that the current definition of “artificially propagated” outlined in Resolution Conf.11.11 (Rev. CoP15) does not adequately address the range and complexity of current cultivation and propagation mechanisms for CITES-listed plants.

The Committee adopted the document with an amendment.

ELECTRONIC SYSTEMS AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES: The Secretariat introduced CoP17 Doc.44 (Rev.1). 

Many Parties expressed support, highlighting the need for capacity-building and advisory support in transitioning to electronic CITES systems.

The Committee adopted the document with a minor amendment from the US.

 TRACEABILITY AND PILOT TESTING OF A GLOBAL TRACEABILITY INFORMATION SYSTEM FOR REPTILE SKINS: The Secretariat introduced CoP17 Doc.45 on traceability, followed by Mexico introducing CoP17 Doc.46 on a pilot system for reptile skins, with the aim of consolidating both documents.

Several Parties proposed amendments to draft decisions as well expressed differing views as to whether a working group would be the most appropriate mechanism to address a traceability mechanism.

The Committee asked a group to discuss the documents.


The Committee agreed to the document.

CAPACITY-BUILDING AND IDENTIFICATION OF SPECIMENS IN TRADE: Identification Manual: Canada introduced CoP17 Doc.48.2, including draft decisions with new terms of reference for a merged working group that combines the original terms of reference of the working groups on capacity-building and identification materials. The Secretariat also introduced CoP17 Doc.15 on capacity-building.

The Committee adopted both documents with amendments.

TIBETAN ANTELOPE: Norway, SC Chair, introduced CoP17 Doc.66, noting ongoing seizures of shahtoosh shawls made from the wool of Tibetan antelope.

CHINA called for assistance in capacity building and improving livelihoods in local communities in range States to prevent poaching. SWITZERLAND suggested an additional draft decision directing the SC to review the outcomes of an INTERPOL workshop that took place on the illegal trade, processing and transit of shahtoosh products, and make recommendations to countries involved in illegal trade of Tibetan antelope products.

The Committee noted the document and agreed to suggested additions, amendments and deletions of its draft decisions.

ANNOTATIONS: Report of the Standing Committee and Annotations for species listed in the CITES Appendices: Report of the working group: The US introduced CoP Doc.83.1, including proposed amendments to Resolutions. He also introduced CoP17 Doc.83.2, highlighting the Secretariat’s proposed amendments for each document.

The Committee agreed to the document with amendments by the US, the EU and the Secretariat.

Annotations for Appendix II orchids: Canada introduced CoP17 Doc.83.3.

The Committee adopted it.

RESOLUTION CONF.10.10 (REV.COP16) ON TRADE IN ELEPHANT SPECIMENS: The SC Chair provided updated draft decisions and amendments to Resolution Conf.10.10 (Rev.CoP16) on trade in elephant specimens (CoP17 Com.II.6), including the recommendation to closing domestic markets for commercial trade in raw and worked ivory as a matter of urgency.

CHINA noted the draft decisions should be directed to Parties, not just range States. KENYA asked to include reference to “destruction” of stockpiles but withdrew in order to avoid blocking consensus.

The Committee adopted the draft resolution and decisions with minor amendments.


NATIONAL LAWS FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CONVENTION: The Secretariat introduced the draft decisions (CoP17 Com.II.2).

The Committee adopted the draft decisions.

ESTABLISHMENT OF THE RURAL COMMUNITIES COMMITTEE OF THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES: Brazil introduced draft decisions (CoP17 Com.II.7) on how to effectively engage rural communities in CITES processes, calling for the establishment of an intersessional working group.

CANADA noted the request of rural communities to participate in intersessional work. The EU welcomed the work and participation of local communities.

The Committee adopted the draft decisions.

CITES AND LIVELIHOODS: The Secretariat introduced CoP17 Com.II.4 and 5, namely revisions to draft Resolution Conf. 16.6 and decision on CITES and livelihoods.

The Committee accepted both documents.

RHINO: The EU introduced the working group’s draft decisions and amendment to Resolution Conf.9.14 (Rev. CoP15) on conservation of and trade in African and Asian rhinoceroses (CoP17 Com. II.14).

The Committee agreed to the document.

IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CONVENTION RELATING TO CAPTIVE-BRED AND RANCHED SPECIMENS: The EU introduced the working group’s draft resolution and decisions (CoP Com.II.18).

The Committee agreed to the document.


Delegates reconvened in their respective Committees, either wearing market purchases, sun tans from visiting botanical gardens and game parks or signs of exhaustion from having spent the past two days in working and drafting groups. While Committee II moved through agenda items with deft speed—as Chair “Obi-Wan” Barzdo put it, “This committee’s on fire!”—Committee I spent hours deliberating a proposal on the African grey parrot. The debate volleyed back and forth between proponents of wildlife conservation and breeding and pet interest groups. Although reaching a decision on this issue was not easy, one delegate eloquently noted that “difficulty is the excuse that history never accepts.” The matter went to a secret ballot, which some speculated was a way for Parties to avoid pressure from pet and breeder associations as well as from consumer non-range States. When the final vote indicated support for uplisting the parrot, environmental NGOs in the back cheered while others hung their heads.

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