Daily report for 17 November 2022

19th Meeting of the CITES Conference of the Parties (CITES CoP19)

Committee I voted to list all requiem sharks and the hammerhead shark under CITES Appendix II, while Committee II considered many elephant-related agenda items.

Committee I

Proposals to amend Appendices I and II: Dipteryx spp.: COLOMBIA introduced CoP19 Prop.48 to include Cumaru (Dipteryx spp) in Appendix II. Co-proponents agreed to remove the annotation for seeds of Dipteryx spp., and to amend the entry into force period to 18 months, instead of the standard 90 days, to accommodate range states. PERU requested a delay of 24 months for implementation. The EU, on behalf of the proposal’s co-proponents, agreed, despite the “strong reservations” from the UK, supported by GUYANA, that such a delay would set a “dangerous precedent.” BRAZIL and INDIA opposed the proposal regardless of amendment because it involved a genera-level listing.

Committee I Chair Fleming asked for a vote on the amended proposal.

Committee II adopted the proposal with 74 in favor, 13 against, and 18 abstaining.

Standard nomenclature: Standard nomenclature for Dipteryx spp.: The EU introduced CoP19 Doc.84.2, highlighting draft decisions to adopt Carvalho et al. (2020) as the CITES standard nomenclatural reference for Dipteryx spp., and to direct the Plants Committee (PC) to further evaluate nomenclatural issues, and, if appropriate, propose an alternate standard reference.

Committee I agreed to the draft decisions as amended by the Secretariat.

Handroanthus, Roseodendron, and Tabebuia spp.: PANAMA presented CoP19 Prop.44 recommending the inclusion of the three genera of trumpet trees (Handroanthus, Roseodendron, and Tabebuia) in CITES Appendix II.

BRAZIL objected to the proposal, while BOLIVIA requested to amend the entry into force period to 24 months. The EU on behalf of the proposal’s co-proponents agreed to the amendment, despite opposition from the UK and CANADA.

Committee I agreed to the proposal as amended, with 86 voting for and 17 against.

Afzelia spp.The EU introduced CoP19 Prop.46 for the inclusion of all African populations of pod mahoganies (Afzelia spp.) in Appendix II.


Committee II adopted CoP19 Prop.46 with 95 for, 12 against, and 17 abstaining.

Carcharhinidae spp: Panama introduced CoP19 Prop.37 to include the requiem shark family (Carcharhinidae spp.) in Appendix II, a total of 54 species, and said proponents had agreed to amend the proposal to allow a 12-month delay before it enters into force.

SRI LANKA, SENEGAL, PAKISTAN, MONACO, CHILE, FIJI, THE GAMBIA, EGYPT, AUSTRALIA, BAHAMAS, the US, the EU, and many others supported the proposal as amended by the proponents. JAPAN opposed the amended proposal and, supported by INDONESIA, ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA, CANADA, SOUTH AFRICA, LAOS and several other parties, suggested excluding 35 lookalike species from it. ICELAND, supported by MAURITANIA and ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA, highlighted conflicting scientific advice from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) versus CITES and requested a secret ballot if the proposal came to a vote. CHILE asked for an implementation deadline of 24 months. PERU, supported by the US, requested exclusion of blue shark (Prionace glauca). 

IUCN, with TRAFFIC, stressed that the requiem shark family meets the criteria for inclusion in Appendix II. HUMANE SOCIETY INTERNATIONAL, on behalf of over 40 signatory NGOs, stressed that listing the requiem family of sharks in Appendix II “has the potential to turn the tide for some of the world’s most threatened shark species.”

PANAMA asked Chile if they intended to put their 24-month delay amendment to a vote. CHILE withdrew their proposed amendment.

Committee I voted by secret ballot on the proposal with the amendment suggested by JAPAN, with 43 for, 81 against, and 12 abstaining, which failed to achieve the required two-thirds majority. The Committee then voted by secret ballot on the proposal with the amendment suggested by Peru, with 33 for, 88 against, and 14 abstaining, which failed to achieve the required two-thirds majority. The Committee then voted by secret ballot on the original proposal as amended by proponents, with entry into force delayed by 12 months. 

Committee I adopted the proposal as amended by proponents: 88 parties supporting; 17 parties abstaining; and 29 parties opposing.

Sphyrnidae spp.: The EU presented CoP19 Prop.38 document to include hammerhead shark (Sphyrnidae spp.) in Appendix II. SENEGAL, CANADA, the US, UK, GUATEMALA, INDIA, KENYA, JAPAN, and SOMALIA supported the proposal. The FAO expert panel reported that based on their assessment, it meets the criteria for Appendix II.

Committee I agreed by consensus.

Dalbergia sissoo: India introduced CoP19 Prop.47 on the deletion of North Indian rosewood (Dalbergia sissoo) from CITES Appendix II, highlighting its abundance and the negative impact of its listing on rural livelihoods.

The EU, CANADA, ARGENTINA, and several other parties opposed it.

Committee II did not adopt the proposal, with 30 in favor, 55 opposed, and 9 abstentions.

Paubrasilia echinataBrazil introduced CoP19 Prop.49 on the transfer of brazilwood (Paubrasilia echinata) from Appendix II to I.

The EU and the US, with support from JAPAN, CANADA, the UK, AUSTRALIA, and other parties,  suggested amendments to the current annotation under Appendix II to exclude finished bows for stringed musical instruments. The International Association of Violin and Bow Makers, League of American Orchestras, Chambre Syndicale de la Facture Instrumentale (CSFI) highlighted the “extreme and insurmountable burden” that an Appendix I listing could have on both musicians and parties’ management authorities.

Committee I Chair established a working group to seek consensus on a possible amendment to CoP19 Prop.49.

Pterocarpus spp.: SENEGAL introduced CoP19 Prop.50 to include all African populations of Padauk (Pterocarpus erinaceus and P. tinctorius) in Appendix II.

Committee I adopted the proposal by consensus.

Khaya spp.: The EU introduced document CoP19 Prop.51 to list African mahoganies (Khaya spp.) in Appendix II.

Committee I agreed to the proposal by consensus.

Standard Nomenclature for Khaya spp.: The EU presented CoP19 Doc.84.3.

Committee I agreed to it as amended by the Secretariat.

Maintenance of the Appendices: Annotations: The EU introduced CoP19 Doc.85.1.

Committee I agreed to it.

Consideration of Proposal for Amendment of Appendices I and II: Canada introduced CoP19 Prop.43. Committee 1 agreed to the amended document.

Committee II

Species Specific matters: Report on the Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS): The Secretariat introduced CoP19 Doc.66.6. THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO opposed the report, arguing that the data is not objective. The US and KENYA opposed moving the deadlines for reporting.

Committee II noted the report with the remarks provided.

Implementation of Resolution Conf. 10.10 (Rev. CoP17) on trade in elephant specimens: The Secretariat introduced CoP19 Doc.66.1. and its five sets of draft decisions on Closure of Domestic Ivory Markets, Trade in Mammoth Ivory, Trade in Asian Elephants, Stocks and Stockpiles and National Ivory Action Plan Process. The first set was considered under agenda item 66.3, with BOTSWANA, JAPAN, EU, MEXICO, and others expressing support. The US, with the EU and others, noted that trade in Asian elephants is not limited to only elephant range states.

Committee II agreed to the draft decisions with changes proposed.

Implementing aspects of Resolution Conf. 10.10 (Rev. CoP18) on the closure of domestic ivory markets: BURKINA FASO introduced CoP19 Doc.66.3, which details a proposal whereby countries with a domestic ivory market would report measures taken to close them. It also requests an analysis of ivory seizures connected to parties with legal domestic ivory markets. On the former, THAILAND, BOTSWANA, JAPAN, SOUTH AFRICA, and others were against the proposal, with many citing sovereignty concerns. On the latter, a motion on whether to go forward only with the original text was rejected, 58 to 39 against.

Committee II agreed to the document without the first provision, keeping the Secretariat’s proposed text on commissioning an analysis.

Review of the National Ivory Action Plan (NIAP) process: MALAWI introduced CoP19 Doc.66.7, noting discrepancies in reporting requirements and the need for better alignment between reporting in NIAP and other processes under CITES. The US called for a review of the effectiveness of NIAP. The EU did not support review of the entire process.

Committee II established a working group chaired by the EU to consider drafting terms of reference for the review of the NIAP.

Strategic matters: Review of the ETIS programme: BELGIUM presented document CoP19 Doc.21, noting recommendations on how to improve the programme, including the annual due date for ETIS data from 31 March to 31 October. Parties broadly accepted the recommendations, but were broadly opposed to the change in the ETIS deadline, noting that it could potentially weaken the process.

Committee II agreed to accept the document with the amendment that the deadline be 31 March.

MIKE and ETIS programmes: The Secretariat introduced CoP19 Doc.22. The US mostly supported the recommendations. ZAMBIA and GUINEA welcomed the continuation of the programme.

Committee II agreed to the document.

Species specific matters: Definition of the term ‘appropriate and acceptable destinations’: The Standing Committee introduced CoP19 Doc.48, with the Secretariat’s recommendation that the CoP adopt the non-binding guidance for determining whether the trade would promote in situ conservation. The US supported the recommendation and provided some text. SENEGAL expressed ethical concerns with how the term “appropriate and acceptable destinations” is defined.

Committee II agreed to the document with changes provided by the US.

Elephants (Elephantidae spp.): Trade in live African elephants: International trade in live African elephant specimens: Proposed revision to Resolution Conf. 10.10 (Rev. CoP18) on trade in elephant specimens and clarifying the framework: Proposal of the EU: CoP19 Doc.66.4.1, introduced by BURKINA FASO and CoP19 Doc.66.4.2, introduced by the EU, were considered together. Views strongly diverged on approaches. BENIN, KENYA, ZIMBABWE, MALI, and others supported the proposal BURKINA FASO introduced. SENEGAL, NAMIBIA, and BOTSWANA supported the proposal by the EU. The US, CHINA, and the UK supported further dialogue on the matter. Discussions will continue on Friday.

In the Corridors

From the very start of CoP19, the Chair of Committee I has called for, and successfully fostered, an atmosphere that is “collegial, collaborative, and constructive”—in other words, calm. But enthusiasm got the best of some: delegates compared the morning crowds to those at a fair, what with all the stuffed animals in people’s arms. “Be professional,” the Chair warned—but when a late-afternoon vote confirmed that the requiem and hammerhead shark families will come under the auspices of the Convention, cheers and claps could be heard all the way down the hall. Still, the two and a half hour discussion that preceded the vote signaled just how divided opinions remain.

On another auspicious note, some progress seemed to emerge from the closed-door budget working group on including all six UN languages in CITES. “Translation is equity—we can’t let 2 billion people go without a voice in the Convention,” he said. Then, looking off into the hall: “Now, where do I get myself one of those cute hippopotamuses?” Clearly, the one language everyone can get behind.

Further information