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Daily report for 12 November 2002

12th Meeting of the CITES Conference of the Parties (COP12)

Delegates met in Plenary to hear the President of Chile and statements on cooperation with the International Whaling Commission (IWC). Committee I continued deliberations on elephant proposals and other amendments to the Appendices. Committee II discussed, inter alia, national laws for implementation, budget and financing, and species trade and conservation issues.


Chilean President Ricardo Lagos highlighted his country’s biodiversity, and said environmental protection, particularly of migratory marine species, should be addressed at the multilateral level.

On CITES cooperation with the IWC, IWC Chair Bo Fernholm highlighted his note on progress towards finalizing a revised management scheme (RMS) for commercial whaling (Inf.12). NORWAY and JAPAN did not endorse the note and questioned progress on the RMS. ICELAND said opposing commercial whaling under any circumstance breaches CITES principles. ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA stressed that cooperation with the IWC should be based on sustainable international trade, and with DOMINICA, called for the IWC Chair to apologize for expressing his personal views rather than the views of IWC member states. NEW ZEALAND, the UK, AUSTRALIA and the EU opposed the personal attacks on the IWC Chair, and, with GERMANY, MEXICO and the NETHERLANDS highlighted progress in the IWC framework. IWC Chair Fernholm said the debate reflects polarized views in the IWC, but noted progress achieved at the RMS intersessional Cambridge meeting.


PROPOSALS TO AMEND THE APPENDICES: Trade in Elephant Specimens: BOTSWANA, NAMIBIA, SOUTH AFRICA, ZAMBIA and ZIMBABWE presented revisions to the amendment of their proposals regarding the African Elephant (Loxodonta africana) (Prop.12.6, 12.7, 12.8, 12.9 and 12.10 Amendment). They highlighted that requests for annual quotas had been removed, and that trade in registered raw ivory would be allowed only after: verification by the Secretariat of prospective importing countries; reporting by MIKE on established baseline information; and agreement by the Standing Committee that all conditions have been met. Revisions for non-ivory products included trade allowance in live animals for "in situ conservation programmes," rather than "re-introduction," and in leather goods only "for non-commercial purposes." GERMANY indicated that it would review funding support for MIKE if the elephant proposals were accepted. BOTSWANA’s proposal was accepted through a secret ballot, with 59 in favor, 26 against and 21 abstentions.

Supporting Namibia’s proposal, CUBA underscored sustainable management of resources by developing countries. KENYA expressed concern regarding poaching by Angola. In a secret ballot, Namibia’s proposal passed with 65 in favor, 28 against and 22 abstentions.

BOTSWANA, QATAR, CUBA, NAMIBIA, CAMEROON, TANZANIA and ZIMBABWE supported South Africa’s proposal. IFAW expressed concern regarding its implementation, and the FUND FOR ANIMALS predicted that detrimental effects would outweigh economic benefits. The proposal passed by secret ballot, with 65 in favor, 24 against and 25 abstentions.

SOUTH AFRICA, BOTSWANA, ZAMBIA, TANZANIA, ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA and CUBA supported Zimbabwe’s proposal. KENYA and the US raised concerns regarding its current ability to adequately enforce laws, manage wildlife, and control the domestic ivory trade. The proposal was rejected in a secret ballot, with 60 in favor, 45 against, and 10 abstentions.

Introducing its proposal, ZAMBIA indicated lack of financial support and underscored the need to raise revenue from ivory sales. MALAWI, CUBA, JAPAN, ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA and others supported the proposal. The US stated that Zambia’s elephant population fails to meet downlisting criteria, and together with KENYA, noted its decline. KENYA and the EU highlighted deficiencies in monitoring of illegal poaching. The proposal was rejected by secret ballot, with 57 in favor, 54 against and 7 abstentions.

Stating that they did not wish to target Zimbabwe, INDIA and KENYA withdrew their joint proposal on uplisting the African Elephants to Appendix I (Prop.12.11).

Color Morphs: SWITZERLAND introduced amendments to its proposal to exclude certain captive-bred color morphs from CITES provisions (Prop.12.2 Amendment). Delegates rejected the proposal with 21 in favor and 31 against.

Yellow-Naped Parrot: COSTA RICA introduced its proposal to transfer Amazona auropalliata from Appendix II to I (Prop.12.16). Following assurance that proper identification material for juveniles would be provided, the Committee accepted the proposal.

Blue-Headed Macaw: The EU introduced its proposal to transfer Ara couloni from Appendix II to I (Prop.12.18), indicating that the species has a low reproductive rate and faces increased legal and illegal trade. Delegates approved the proposal by consensus.

Cape Parrot: SOUTH AFRICA withdrew its proposal to transfer its population of Poicephalus robustus from Appendix II to I (Prop.12.19).

Heosemys Turtles: The EU presented its joint proposal with CHINA to include four species of Heosemys in Appendix II (Arakan forest turtle H. depressa, Giant Asian pond turtle H. grandis, Philippine pond turtle H. leytensis, and Spiny turtle H. spinosa) (Prop.12.22). Delegates approved the proposal.

Roofed Turtles: INDIA presented its joint proposal with the US to include six species of Kachuga in Appendix II (Prop.12.24). Delegates approved the proposal.

New Zealand Geckos: NEW ZEALAND presented its proposal to include Hoplodactylus sppand Naultinus sppin Appendix II (Prop.12.33). SWITZERLAND, the EU and JAPAN supported Appendix III listing, while NEW ZEALAND stated that this would not provide comparable monitoring. Delegates rejected the proposal, with 30 in favor, 59 against and 26 abstentions.

Whale Shark: The PHILIPPINES introduced its joint proposal with INDIA on including Rhincodon typus in Appendix II (Prop.12.35). The EU, ROMANIA, HONDURAS, the BAHAMAS, TUNISIA, MEXICO, IUCN, TRAFFIC and the SHARK RESEARCH INSTITUTE supported the proposal, while GREENLAND, CHINA and ICELAND opposed. In a secret ballot, the proposal was rejected, with 62 in favor, 34 against and 9 abstentions.

Sri Lankan Rose Butterfly: The EU introduced its proposal to include Atropphaneura jophon and A. pandiyana in Appendix II (Prop.12.40). Delegates approved the proposal with 58 in favor, 14 against and 28 abstentions.

Other Amendments to the Appendices: Committee I agreed by consensus to transfer the Yellow-headed parrot (Prop.12.17) from Appendix II to I; and Santa Barbara Island dudleya (Prop.12.48) and Thorncraft’s aloe (Prop.12.49) from Appendix I to II. Deletions from Appendix II included: the Orange-throated whiptail lizard (Prop.12.34) and Maguire’s bitter root (Prop.12.53).

Delegates also agreed to include the following species in Appendix II: Big-headed turtle (Prop.12.20); Annam pond turtle (Prop.12.21); Yellow-headed temple turtle (Prop.12.23); Sulawesi forest turtle (Prop.12.25); Yellow pond turtle (Prop.12.26); Malayan giant turtle (Prop.12.27); Keeled box turtle Pyxidea mouhotii (Prop.12.28); Black marsh turtle (Prop.12.29); Narrow-headed softshell turtle Chitra spp. (Prop.12.31); Giant softshell turtle Pelochelys spp. (Prop.12.32); and certain palm species endemic to Madagascar (Prop.12.60).


PLANTS COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS: The Secretariat introduced, and delegates accepted, the Plants Committee’s recommendations (Doc.10.2), including: regional reports; its members’ duties; work on Aquilaria spp.; links with the CBD on alien species; periodic review of the Appendices; and significant trade.

NATIONAL LAWS FOR IMPLEMENTATION: The Secretariat presented the document and draft decisions (Doc.28 and Doc.28 Annex 3 (Rev.1)), recommending, inter alia: regional workshops; analysis of new legislation; and assessment of the effectiveness of legislation of Parties in Category 1. SAINT LUCIA highlighted the benefits of the Secretariat’s technical assistance. CHILE, CHINA and the DOMINICAN REPUBLIC called for flexible deadlines for submitting national legislation. NAMIBIA said that enhancing national legislation to comply with CITES is costly. Delegates adopted the text by consensus, and agreed to a decision suggested by Chair Delahunt that the Standing Committee should adjust the deadlines for Parties making progress on completing the legislative process.

BUDGET: Budget for 2003-2005: CANADA presented the recommendations of the budget working group (Com.II.5) on: budget guidelines; future budget strategies; and budget options based on a 0% or 6% increase. Delegates adopted the proposed guidelines. MEXICO, the EU and others, opposed cutting costs through working in one language at intersessional meetings. Delegates agreed on a 6% increase. The US proposed, and Parties agreed, to include non-identified budgetary resources and insufficient funding as budget items. Delegates adopted future budget strategies, with minor changes. Regarding the scale of contributions for the triennium 2003-2005 (Doc.9.1 (Rev.1)), ARGENTINA suggested, and delegates agreed, to take note of serious economic difficulties experienced by individual Parties and of the need for flexibility regarding the UN assessment scale.

Externally Funded Projects: The Secretariat introduced a new procedure for approval of externally funded projects (Doc.9.2), and the Committee approved the draft with two amendments suggested by SAINT LUCIA.

VERIFICATION OF CITES PERMITS: CHILE presented its proposal (Doc.29), requesting: a study on the false use of CITES permits and certificates; and proposals to minimize such acts. The Committee accepted the draft resolution as amended by Fiji and the EU.

CITES IMPLEMENTATION IN THE EUREOPEAN COMMUNITY: The EU noted adoption of appropriate legislation to implement CITES at the EU level and the national levels. He proposed a draft decision (Doc.30), urging Parties to accept before COP-13 the Gaborone Amendment, which allows accession by regional economic integration organizations. Delegates agreed by consensus.

BEARS: The Secretariat introduced the document on trade in bear specimens (Doc.31), encouraged Parties’ actions to conserve bears populations and combat illegal trade of species, its parts and derivatives, and proposed deletion of numerous COP-11 decisions on the issue. GEORGIA suggested a new draft decision and a small drafting group was formed to discuss the proposal.

LEOPARDS: INDIA presented amendments to its proposal on leopard, snow leopard and clouded leopard (Doc.32). The issue will be revisited.

TIGERS: The Secretariat introduced the document (Doc.33) and delegates discussed the annexed report of the CITES Tiger Mission Technical Team. THAILAND expressed willingness to follow the recommendations and report on improvement. The Committee accepted the report and will resume discussion on the document.

RHINOCEROSES: The Secretariat presented the document on the conservation of and trade in rhinoceroses (Doc.35) and withdrew the recommendation to repeal Resolution Conf. 9.14 on Parties’ submitting reports on the issue.

MUSK DEER: The Secretariat introduced, and the Committee approved, the report and its recommendations on musk deer (Doc.36).

TIBETAN ANTELOPE: The Secretariat introduced the document (Doc.37) and withdrew a recommendation urging the State of Jammu and Kashmir in India to halt the processing of Tibetan Antelope wool. CHINA introduced various textual amendments and discussion was postponed.


There was mixed reaction following the long, and often emotional discussion on elephants. Some delegates expressed disappointment with the outcome of several range States being allowed one-off sales of their ivory stockpiles, saying it may send the wrong message that ivory trade has been re-opened. Others noted that the ivory sales are not automatic and that the measures included in the proposals had been one of the most precautionary approaches ever taken by CITES on ivory trade. Meanwhile, others expressed some relief that the elephant debate was behind them for the time being and could now get back to the numerous agenda items and other species proposals still on the table.


COMMITTEES: Committee I will meet to further consider amendments to the Appendices, while Committee II will meet to consider trade control and marking issues, and exemptions and special trade provisions. 

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