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Daily report for 5 October 2004

13th Meeting of the CITES Conference of the Parties (COP13)

Delegates to COP‑13 convened in committees throughout the day. Committee I addressed conservation of saiga antelopes, tortoises and freshwater turtles, sharks and sea cucumbers. Committee II addressed nomenclature, finance, sturgeons and synergy between CITES and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).


SAIGA ANTELOPE: The EU presented its proposal on the conservation of saiga antelope (Doc.32). GERMANY and the RUSSIAN FEDERATION supported the draft decisions. Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) said half the range States expressed interest in signing the MOU between CITES and CMS. WWF stressed involvement of both range and consumer States. Chair Dublin proposed establishing a working group chaired by Germany.

TORTOISES AND FRESHWATER TURTLES: The Secretariat introduced the report on the conservation of and trade in tortoises and freshwater turtles (Doc.33). Delegates discussed whether to maintain a separate reporting requirement or use biennial reports to provide information. INDONESIA and VIETNAM supported, and delegates agreed, using biennial reports to reduce reporting burdens. Delegates also agreed to maintain the proposed reporting format. AUSTRALIA, supported by CAMEROON and the US, requested the Secretariat to provide a streamlined summary of relevant information from the biennial reports for COP‑14. Noting redundancies between existing resolutions and the draft decision on transportation of species in compliance with IATA guidelines, the US and AUSTRALIA proposed incorporating these decisions into Resolution Conf. 11.9.

HAWKSBILL TURTLE: The Secretariat introduced a document on the conservation of the hawksbill turtle (Doc.34). The Secretariat noted failure to secure enough external funding for a Caribbean regional meeting, but commended the UK=s financial commitment. CUBA, supported by TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO, JAMAICA, AUSTRALIA and others, disagreed with Secretariat text stating that it implied lack of regional interest, and a downgrading of importance by suggesting the issue be taken up in the context of other multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs). JAPAN, supported by TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO, SAINT LUCIA and others, proposed the issue be addressed at COP‑14. The EU regretted lack of interest and hoped the process could be reinvigorated. BRAZIL called for further cooperation between the Inter‑American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles and CITES. FIJI and AUSTRALIA said much could be learned from work done in the Caribbean region. The US proposed text reflecting collaboration with other MEAs and regional organizations. Parties agreed to report on progress six months prior to COP‑14, and called on the Secretariat to report findings at COP‑14.

SHARKS: AC Chair Althaus introduced a document on the conservation and management of sharks (Doc.35), highlighting the AC=s review on progress in implementing the FAO International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks (IPOA‑Sharks). The US introduced its information document (Inf.35) supporting an FAO technical consultation of experts on sharks. NORWAY, JAPAN and ICELAND rejected the AC=s draft decisions regarding sharks, stressing that sharks should be considered within FAO. CHILE stressed CITES‑FAO collaboration. The EU said participation of FAO and regional fishing authorities is essential for IPOA‑Sharks implementation. GERMANY and AUSTRALIA stressed the legitimate responsibility of CITES in shark conservation and management. GUINEA and SPECIES MANAGEMENT SPECIALISTS proposed adopting the MOU between FAO and CITES. CANADA noted duplication of work between the AC=s draft decisions and FAO. INDONESIA said CITES should not work on non CITES‑listed species. FAO welcomed progress made on IPOA‑Sharks implementation, and emphasized a need to work with CITES. IUCN said CITES should participate in future initiatives on non‑CITES listed shark species. OCEAN CONSERVANCY noted that CITES attention to shark species has raised awareness for shark conservation and has encouraged regional cooperation. Chair Dublin asked New Zealand to chair a working group on sharks to amend draft decisions.

SEA CUCUMBERS: AC Chair Althaus introduced its report and draft decisions on trade in sea cucumbers (Doc.37.1), noting the AC had not been able to complete its task of producing a discussion document on biological and trade status of sea cucumbers for COP‑13. He proposed the AC continue addressing the issue on the basis of guidance from the COP. ECUADOR introduced draft decisions on implementation of Decision 12.60 on sea cucumbers (Doc.37.2), which calls for extending the deadline in preparing the discussion paper until COP‑14, and asks the Secretariat to assist in obtaining supporting funds. Noting it could not ensure security of funds, the Secretariat suggested the AC establish a working group to finalize its work. IRAN and AUSTRALIA supported this proposal. The US said it was premature to adopt the AC’s proposed decisions before completing the discussion document, and supported extending the deadline to COP‑14. COLOMBIA, the EU, AUSTRALIA, VENEZUELA and others supported Ecuador’s proposal. BRAZIL said sea cucumbers should be addressed under CITES. INDONESIA, CHINA, GUINEA, the REPUBLIC OF KOREA, QATAR, JAPAN, CUBA and others said sea cucumbers are a fisheries management issue, best addressed by FAO or by national or regional fisheries organizations, rather than by CITES. NAMIBIA opposed listing sea cucumber species under Appendix I. Delegates agreed on Ecuador’s proposal to extend the deadline until COP‑14.


PERMANENT COMMITTEES: Standard nomenclature: Delegates considered Mexico=s proposal to revise Resolution Conf. 12.11 on standard nomenclature (Doc.11.3 (Rev.1)). Regarding changes in a taxon=s name and their implications, HUMANE SOCIETY INTERNATIONAL and the US stressed that changes can affect the scope of protection of a species, and delegates agreed that the scope of protection as originally intended should not be altered by nomenclature changes.

Regarding procedures to address conflict regarding the choice of taxonomic authority, the US and ARGENTINA stressed that the NC=s interim recommendations should be notified to Parties. While ARGENTINA supported a role for the SC in the matter, MEXICO and the UK recommended a more flexible procedure, and opposed involving the SC. Regarding checklists, the US stressed that the UNEP‑WCMC checklist should only draw from names included in original proposals, standard reference or the NC=s recommendations. The UK said that standard reference should include all material that is scientifically and legally required under CITES. HUMANE SOCIETY INTERNATIONAL suggested referring to taxon‑based checklists as basic reference. PC Chair Clemente stressed the importance of taxon‑based checklists. UNEP‑WCMC clarified it does not make decisions on nomenclature and that its standard lists are developed on the basis of CITES basic reference lists. Chair Brasher asked Mexico to revise its proposal based on comments.  

STURGEONS: The Secretariat introduced a proposal to revise Resolution Conf. 12.7 on the conservation and trade in sturgeons and paddlefish (Doc.65), noting the lack of clear deadlines and mechanisms to ensure compliance by range States. He said the proposal includes deadlines for the publication of quotas, the submission of information to the Secretariat and authorization of exports. A working group, chaired by Romania, was established.

FINANCING: The Secretariat presented a review of financial mechanisms to fund conservation and sustainable international trade in wildlife species (Doc.14), highlighting the possibility of establishing a financial mechanism, such as the Global Environment Facility (GEF). CITES Secretary General Wijnstekers suggested that since the CBD had adopted in its Strategic Vision stating that no species of fauna or flora should become extinct as a result of international trade, CITES Parties could use it to access GEF funds. Nigeria and others highlighted the need for a financial mechanism, such as the GEF, to support implementation, in situ conservation and border controls. NEW ZEALAND cautioned against using the GEF, noting that it is a finite source of funding. CANADA and NEW ZEALAND suggested targeting the widest array of funding sources.

NEPAL, INDONESIA and HONDURAS highlighted that funding should be geared towards regional cooperation. The EU and CANADA urged Parties to include sustainable wildlife trade in their broader development and poverty reduction strategies to access bilateral funds. NEW ZEALAND and CANADA supported further work on capacity building, while GUINEA and DOMINICA stressed the need for financial assistance to support capacity building. CHAD drew attention to pressures on natural resources caused by refugee influxes from neighboring war‑torn countries.

COOPERATION WITH OTHER CONVENTIONS: CITES‑CBD Synergy: The EU introduced a joint proposal with Kenya on achieving greater synergy in CITES‑CBD implementation (Doc.12.1.1 (Rev.1)), highlighting recommendations from the Vilm Workshop to: take into account the CBD sustainable use principles when making non‑detriment findings; link the CBD ecosystem approach and CITES thematic and site‑ and species‑based approaches (Article 4); contribute to achieving the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) 2010 target to significantly reduce the rate of biodiversity loss; and consider CITES= work within the CBD Ad Hoc Working Group on Access and Benefit Sharing.

CBD Executive Secretary Hamdallah Zedan highlighted CITES‑relevant targets of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) and the framework for assessing progress towards the 2010 target, and outlined CBD work regarding COP‑13 items, including cooperation, the sustainable use principles, bushmeat and incentive measures. UNEP recommended that: the CBD use CITES Appendices I and II species as flagship species; CITES be engaged in achieving the 2010 target; and harmonization of reporting be further enhanced.

MEXICO, QATAR, PERU, UGANDA and others supported the proposal and further work by the SC on the issue. PC Chair Clemente highlighted synergies between the CBD GSPC and the PC=s work, and suggested instructing the PC to liaise with the GSPC to work towards the 2010 target. The US, NEW ZEALAND, JAPAN and DEFENDERS OF WILDLIFE said the SC should consider the outcomes of the Vilm Workshop prior to incorporating its conclusions into CITES= work. Noting that CITES and CBD use different instruments, INDIA and the US cautioned against rushing synergy. BRAZIL noted that synergies will benefit developing countries. TRAFFIC recommended that AC, PC and SC members attend meetings of the CBD Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice. IUCN suggested CITES and CBD cooperate to develop indicators for sustainable use. Chair Brasher requested the EU to revise its proposal on the basis of comments made.

Sustainable use principle and guidelines: NAMIBIA introduced its proposal to incorporate CBD Sustainable Use Principles and Guidelines (Doc.12.1.2). The RUSSIAN FEDERATION stressed that not all principles are directly relevant to CITES. The US, supported by CANADA, said Parties should consider, as appropriate within national circumstances, using the principles and guidelines. ISRAEL and AUSTRALIA cautioned against incorporating the sustainable use concept into non‑detriment finding processes, and INDIA noted that these principles have not been scientifically validated.

The EU supported using the principles when making non‑detrimental findings, but stressed these must be based on, inter alia, scientific and trade considerations, and supported revisiting the issue at COP‑14. NORWAY, VENEZUELA, JAPAN, NIGERIA, ARGENTINA and SOUTH AFRICA supported the proposal, highlighting that sustainable use is a core part of CITES. Chair Brasher requested Namibia to revise its proposal on the basis of comments made.


As delegates started turning their attention to marine species, a proposal on sturgeons failed to gather support at this stage of the meeting. Some delegates still believe marine species should not be given the light of day at CITES, but rather discussed in other fora, such as the FAO and regional fisheries organizations. Other delegates pointed out that the scope of CITES is not only limited to terrestrial species, but that numerous marine species are threatened with extinction as a result of international trade. Moderate delegates called for greater collaboration with other relevant fora to ensure sustainable management.  

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