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Daily report for 7 November 2002

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

Delegates met throughout the day in committees. Committee I discussed criteria for amendment of Appendices I and II, conservation of and trade in pancake tortoises, transport of live animals, and amendments to the Appendices. Committee II discussed cooperation with other organizations, budget issues, and review of resolutions and decisions.


CRITERIA FOR APPENDIX I AND II AMENDMENTS: Delegates continued discussion on criteria for amendment of Appendices I and II (Doc.58), with many opposing the proposed revision of Resolution Conf. 9.24. Ecuador, on behalf of CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN, JAPAN and ARGENTINA expressed concern that not all comments made by Parties were reflected in the proposed revision. The INTERNATIONAL WILDLIFE COALITION and DEFENDERS OF WILDLIFE stressed that Parties’ confidence in the proposed revision must be ensured. An informal working group was established to resolve the issue.

PANCAKE TORTOISES: KENYA presented its draft decisions for enhancing conservation of and trade in Malacochersus Tornieri, requesting the Animals Committee to: review the biology, genetic variability, conservation status and distribution of wild populations; assess current production systems; and consider appropriate identification and marking systems. TANZANIA, UGANDA, the EU, JAPAN, the US and the Secretariat supported the proposal. Animals Committee Chair Hoogmoed noted that initiatives within the proposal had already been carried out. Delegates endorsed the proposal.

TRANSPORT OF LIVE ANIMALS: The Secretariat presented a draft decision, developed as a follow-up to Tuesday’s discussion. The proposal requests the Secretariat to liaise with IATA and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums to conclude a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to: strengthen further collaboration; improve live animal transport; establish a training programme; and facilitate information exchange. Delegates accepted the proposal, following an amendment adding that the Secretariat will consult with the Animals Committee in concluding the MOU.

PROPOSALS TO AMEND APPENDICES I AND II: Annotation 607: SWITZERLAND presented its proposal to amend Annotation 607 (Prop.12.1) to read that synthetically derived DNA, urine and feces, synthetically produced medicines and other pharmaceuticals, and fossils would not be subject to CITES provisions. He added that this proposal would apply to all CITES species. The Secretariat explained that the proposal was based on, but its scope not limited, to corals. The BAHAMAS, and others raised concerns about expanding the proposal’s scope. MEXICO, supported by CHINA, PERU, BOLIVIA and BRAZIL, opposed the proposal, highlighting: outcomes of CBD COP-6 and the WSSD on safeguarding genetic resources; potential biopiracy, and complications with monitoring DNA origins. The EU expressed support for the proposal if reference to synthetically produced medicines and other pharmaceuticals was modified by "produced from in vitro cultivated cells, "rather than those "that do not contain any part of the originial genetic material." In light of procedural issues, SWITZERLAND agreed to withdraw the proposal.

Color Morphs: SWITZERLAND proposed that captive-bred color morphs be considered as domesticated forms and not be subjected to provisions of the Convention (Prop.12.2). Delegates, including HUNGARY, NEW ZEALAND, INDIA, and ZIMBABWE, opposed, stressing need for clear identification material and cautioning against false color morphs. SAUDI ARABIA, CHILE, PERU and MEXICO cited difficulties in implementing control measures. The INTERNATIONAL WILDLIFE COALITION suggested micro-chipping. SWITZERLAND explained that the proposal targets large shipments of captive-bred birds not produced from countries of origin. Chair Morgan tasked Switzerland to prepare a revised proposal for consideration on Friday.

Black Sea Bottlenose Dolphin: GEORGIA introduced its proposal to transfer the Tursiops truncatus ponticus from Appendix II to Appendix I , emphasizing that the species has been threatened by trade, and suffers from fishery activities and pollution. Supporting the proposal, MONACO and HUNGARY stressed negative trade impacts, while QATAR and the WHALE AND DOLPHIN CONSERVATION SOCIETY noted the impact of pollution and population reduction. INDIA noted the impact of fishery activities, and ISRAEL and the US stated that Black Sea bottlenose dolphins should be considered a distinct species. Animals Committee Chair Hoogmoed expressed doubts on the species’ distinctiveness. Opposing the proposal, the RUSSIAN FEDERATION stated lack of scientific data. CUBA, NORWAY and JAPAN said that trade was not the main threat, and CANADA and UKRAINE noted that it did not fit Appendix I criteria. With 40 votes in favor, 31 against and 39 abstentions, the proposal failed to obtain the required two-thirds majority.

Vicuña: ARGENTINA, BOLIVIA and CHILE presented proposals (Prop.12.12, 12.13 and 12.14 respectively) to transfer their populations of Vicugna vicugna from Appendix I to Appendix II in order to allow trade in products made from wool sheared from live animals. Delegates expressed unanimous support. TRAFFIC, COMITÉ NACIONAL PRO DEFENSA DE LA FAUNA Y FLORA and FAUNA AUSTRALIS stressed protecting wild species and cautioned against promoting captive breeding for economic purposes. All proposals concerning vicuña were adopted.

Rhea: CHILE proposed to transfer its population of Rhea pennata pennata from Appendix I to II, noting a similar proposal by Argentina adopted at COP-11. The EU stressed management plans and release of wild species and, with SWITZERLAND, questioned how parts and derivatives will be distinguished from wild forms during trade. CHILE outlined its registry system and the Committee accepted the proposal.


COOPERATION WITH THE IWC: MEXICO introduced its proposal on cooperation between CITES and the International Whaling Commission (Doc.16.4), and suggested that discussions on the issue be carried out after considering the Japanese proposals on downlisting two whale species. The Committee decided to defer discussion until the following Tuesday.

COOPERATION WITH THE INTER-AMERICAN CONVENTION ON SEA TURTLES: ECUADOR introduced its proposal on cooperation with the Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles (Doc.16.3) that entered into force in 2001. He outlined amendments to the draft resolution that request the Inter-American Convention to consider amendments to CITES Appendices and invite its Secretariat to participate in CITES meetings. ISRAEL, the EU, MEXICO, the US, CUBA and COSTA RICA supported the amended draft resolution. The EU suggested adding preambular language on cooperation with the Convention of Migratory Species. JAPAN opposed the proposal, noting that the Inter-American Convention does not embody the concept of sustainable utilization. CUBA noted that a resolution is not required for establishing cooperation. ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA proposed, and delegates agreed, to halt any further consideration of this issue.

DECISIONS REVIEW: Delegates considered, and approved without discussion, decisions that were proposed to be transferred to resolutions (Doc.21.2, Annex 2). Delegates also approved the recommendation calling on the Secretariat to update the list of decisions that remain in effect.

ANIMALS COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS: The Committee considered recommendations to repeal COP decisions contained in the Animals Committee report (Doc.10.1), including: Decision 11.92 on Musk deer; 11.93 and 11.95 on tortoise and freshwater turtles and Acipenseriformes; 11.96 on conservation of sturgeon and paddlefish; 11.103 to 11.105 on trade in time-sensitive research samples; 11.98 and 11.99 on trade in hard corals; 11.91 on Black Sea bottlenose dolphin; and 11.97 on trade in seahorses and other members of the family Syngnathidae. ISRAEL opposed repealing the decision on Black Sea bottlenose dolphins, and the EU requested consultation with the Animals Committee Chair before deciding on the issue.

PLANTS COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS: Plants Committee Chair Clemente outlined decisions that should be repealed, as recommended in the Plants Committee report (Doc.10.2). She noted that the report suggests retaining Decisions 11.114 on Guaiacum spp., 11.115 on trade in alien species and 11.118 on annotations for medicinal plants in the Appendices. Committee II approved the above recommendations and deferred discussion on the Plants Committee’s substantive recommendations.

BUDGET: The Secretariat introduced the budget for 2003-2005 (Doc.9.1(Rev.1)), including its four Annexes on: budget estimates for the triennium 2003-2005; budget estimates for the triennium 2003-2005 as compared to the 2000-2002 approved budget and expenditures; CITES Trust Fund; and zero growth options in Parties’ contributions. He noted that the draft budget represents a 15% cost reduction compared to the 2000-2002 budget, but that it still requires a 12% increase in Parties’ contributions to cover estimated expenses. The Secretariat recommended enabling the Secretary-General to make transfers from one budget item to another at a maximum 20% of the annual amount; using US dollars for budget estimates; and changing the two- and three-year budget periods to a three-year period, with the discontinuation of medium-term budgets.

Delegates agreed to the proposed currency change and to enable the CITES Secretary-General to make budget item transfers. Chair Stansell suggested, and Parties agreed, to invite the Standing Committee to present a recommendation on the triennium budget process at COP-13.

DENMARK, NORWAY, TANZANIA, the UK and SOUTH AFRICA supported the proposed 12% increase in Parties’ contributions, while JAPAN, SWITZERLAND, MEXICO, CANADA and FRANCE opposed. Delegates also discussed options for cost reduction, including: halting providing printed pre-session COP documents; organizing only web-based training courses; and convening Animals and Plants Committees simultaneously. A budget working group, chaired by Canada, was established to pursue broader budget options.

RESOLUTION REVIEW: Regarding revision of resolutions (Doc.21.1.2), delegates decided to establish a working group, chaired by Mexico, to discuss the revision of Resolution Conf. 10.2 on permits and certificates. The Secretariat introduced its proposals on resolutions to be repealed (Doc.21.1.1). The US, supported by others, called for maintaining and amending Resolution Conf. 10.4 on cooperation with the CBD. MEXICO and BRAZIL called for maintaining Resolution Conf. 1.3 on deleting species from Appendices II or III in certain circumstances. Delegates will continue discussions.

WORKING GROUPS: Export Quotas: The export quota working group met in an evening session to examine the need for an intersessional working group.

Budget: The budget group met to discuss cost reduction options and Parties’ contributions.


The corridors were abuzz with action following the start of voting on amendments to the Appendices. Although the outcomes are not final, the voting pattern on several species is a strong indication of what might come. Some delegates expressed disappointment that the Black Sea bottlenose dolphins didn’t get the votes it needed to be uplisted from Appendix II to I, but others were not surprised considering the strong lobby against listing marine species. Several delegates feared that proposals on other marine species may fail for the same reason, but still expressed hope that the trend can be reversed by the time the votes come up again in Plenary.

Meanwhile, reaction to the introduction of the budget for 2003-2005 was mixed. Some delegates expressed appreciation for the Secretariat’s efforts in providing options for reducing costs, while others, not fully satisfied, preferred considering alternative proposals.


COMMITTEE I: Committee I will meet at 9:00 am and 2:00 pm in Conference Room 1 to further consider amendments to the Appendices, including, inter alia, the minke and bryde’s whales.

COMMITTEE II: Committee II will meet at 9:00 am and 2:00 pm in Conference Room 2 to consider positive economic incentives and trade policy, cooperation with FAO, exports of vicuña wool and cloth, compliance, enforcement matters, and national laws for implementation.

PLENARY: Plenary will meet at 4:00 pm in Conference Room 1 to discuss changes to committee structure and to attend an award ceremony.  

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