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Summary report, 13–25 March 2010

15th Meeting of the CITES Conference of the Parties (CoP15)

The fifteenth Conference of the Parties (CoP15) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) convened from 13-25 March 2010, in Doha, Qatar. Drawing together some 1500 participants representing more than 170 governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, the meeting considered 68 agenda items and 42 proposals to amend the CITES appendices.

CoP15 adopted resolutions and decisions directed to parties, the Secretariat and Convention bodies on a wide range of topics including: electronic permitting, Asian big cats, rhinoceroses, bigleaf mahogany and Madagascar plant species.

Regarding species listings, CoP15 decided to list: Kaiser’s spotted newt, five species of tree frogs, the unicorn beetle, rosewood, holywood and several Madagascar plant species, among others.

CITES CoP15 will likely be remembered for the debates on bluefin tuna, sharks, corals, polar bears, and ivory sales. However, beyond these highly publicized debates, delegates seemed pleased with the progress on numerous implementation and enforcement efforts, including source codes, permits and certification, and electronic permitting, as well as the protection of a number of new plant and animal species.


CITES was established as a response to growing concerns that over-exploitation of wildlife through international trade was contributing to the rapid decline of many species of plants and animals around the world. The Convention was signed by representatives from 80 countries in Washington, DC, on 3 March 1973, and entered into force on 1 July 1975. There are currently 175 parties to the Convention.

The aim of CITES is to ensure that international trade of wild animal and plant species does not threaten their survival. CITES parties regulate wildlife trade through controls and regulations on species listed in three appendices. Appendix I lists species endangered due to international trade, permitting such trade only in exceptional circumstances. Appendix-II species are those that may become endangered if their trade is not regulated, thus they require controls aimed at preventing unsustainable use, maintaining ecosystems and preventing species from entering Appendix I. Appendix-III species are those subject to domestic regulation by a party requesting the cooperation of other parties to control international trade in that species.

In order to list a species in Appendix I or II, a party needs to submit a proposal for approval by the CoP, supported by scientific and biological data on population and trade trends. The proposal must be adopted by a two-thirds majority of parties present and voting. As the trade impact on a species increases or decreases, the CoP decides whether or not the species should be transferred or removed from the appendices.

There are approximately 5,000 fauna species and 28,000 flora species protected under the three CITES appendices. Parties regulate international trade of CITES species through a system of permits and certificates that are required before specimens listed in its appendices are imported, exported or introduced from the sea. Each party is required to adopt national legislation and to designate two national authorities, namely, a Management Authority responsible for issuing these permits and certificates based on the advice of the Scientific Authority. These two national authorities also assist with CITES enforcement through cooperation with customs, police and other appropriate agencies. Parties maintain trade records that are forwarded annually to the CITES Secretariat, thus enabling the compilation of statistical information on the global volume of international trade in Appendix-listed species.

The operational bodies of CITES include the Standing Committee (SC) and two scientific committees: the Plants Committee (PC) and the Animals Committee (AC).

CONFERENCES OF THE PARTIES: The first CoP was held in Bern, Switzerland, in November 1976, and subsequent CoPs have been held every two to three years. The CoP meets to, inter alia: review progress in the conservation of species included in the Appendices; discuss and adopt proposals to amend the lists of species in Appendices I and II; consider recommendations and proposals from parties, the Secretariat, the SC and the scientific committees; and recommend measures to improve the effectiveness of the Convention and to the functioning of the Secretariat. The CoP also periodically reviews the list of resolutions and decisions, as well as the species listed in its Appendices.

CITES CoP13: CoP13 met in Bangkok, Thailand, from 2-14 October 2004. Delegates addressed a range of topics, including 50 proposals to amend the CITES appendices. CoP13 approved the listing of ramin, agarwood, the great white shark and the humphead wrasse in Appendix II, as well as the uplisting of the Irrawaddy dolphin from Appendix II to I. Regarding the African elephant, Namibia saw its request for an annual ivory quota rejected, but was allowed to proceed with a strictly-controlled sale of traditional ivory carvings. Delegates also agreed on an action plan to curtail unregulated domestic ivory markets. Namibia and South Africa were each allowed an annual quota of five black rhinos for trophy hunting, and Swaziland was allowed to open up strictly controlled hunting of white rhinos. Other decisions focused on synergies with the FAO and Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), while enforcement issues received considerable attention.

CITES CoP14: CoP14 met in The Hague, the Netherlands from 3-15 June 2007. Delegates addressed a range of topics including: the CITES Strategic Vision 2008-2013; a guide to compliance with the Convention; management of annual export quotas; and species trade and conservation issues, including Asian big cats, sharks and sturgeons. Delegates agreed that no cetacean species should be subject to periodic review while the International Whaling Commission (IWC) moratorium is in place. CoP14 approved the listing of: slender-horned and Cuvier’s gazelles and slow loris on Appendix I; Brazil wood, sawfish and eel on Appendix II; and to amend the annotation on African elephants to allow a one-off sale of ivory from Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe with a nine-year resting period for further ivory trade. Media spotlight was on negotiations on the future of ivory trade and African elephant conservation, with many highlighting the consensus by African range states as a major achievement of this meeting.


The fifteenth meeting of the CITES CoP opened on Saturday, 13 March 2010. Participants were welcomed by traditional Qatari dances. In his welcoming speech, Abdulla bin Mubarak bin Aboud Al-Madadi, Minister of the Environment, Qatar, said CITES is one of the most successful environmental conventions, and recalled his country’s commitment to animal and plant species conservation. Achim Steiner, Executive Director, UN Environment Programme (UNEP), called on parties not to vote solely on efficiency considerations but instead realistically assess the resources needed for the Convention to comply with its mandate, which has grown to include 175 parties and over 34,000 species.

CITES Secretary-General Willem Wijnstekers highlighted the “growing gap” between expectations of CITES and the resources available to meet these demands, calling budgetary matters “one of the most important” issues at the CoP. Noting debates over elephants and ivory trade, he commented there had been “unwarranted” attacks on the objectivity of the Secretariat.

Parties nominated and elected by acclamation Sheikh Doctor Bin Nasser Al-Thani (Qatar) as Chair of CoP15 and Ghanim Abdullah Mohammed (Qatar), as alternate Chair; and Vice-Chairs Nancy Cespedes (Chile) and Robert Gabel (United States). They also elected John Donaldson (South Africa), Wilbur Dovey (New Zealand) and Georges Evrard (Belgium) as Chairs of Committees I and II and the Credentials Committee, respectively.

On Sunday morning, 14 March, parties adopted the agenda for the meeting (CoP15 Doc.1 (Rev.1)) and the provisional Working Programme (CoP15 Doc.2 (Rev.2)). They also adopted the Rules of Procedure for CoP15 with amendments on Rule 11 on seating because of space constraints for Committee II (CoP15 Doc.3). Parties accepted the nominations of Canada, Guyana, India, Israel and Kuwait for the Credentials Committee and agreed to accept the observers listed in document CoP15 Doc.5.

OTHER ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: On Wednesday, 24 March, in plenary Secretary-General Wijnstekers introduced incoming Secretary-General John Scanlon. Delegates also elected new officers for the CITES Committees. New members elected for the Standing Committee are: for Africa, Egypt, Uganda and Botswana, with Niger, Ethiopia and Namibia as alternates; for Asia, Japan and Kuwait with Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan as alternates; for Central and South America and the Caribbean, Colombia and Dominica, with Peru and Bahamas as alternates; for Europe, Norway and Ukraine with Belgium and the Russian Federation as alternates; for North America: the US, with Mexico as alternate; for Oceania, Australia, with Fiji as alternate.

New Animals Committee members elected are: for Africa, Samuel Kasiki (Kenya); for Asia, Suharsono (Indonesia), with Choo-Hoo Giam (Singapore) as alternate; for Central and South America and the Caribbean, Paul Edward Ouboter (Suriname) as alternate; for Europe, Vincent Fleming (UK) with Matthias Lörtscher (Switzerland) as alternate; and for North America, Carolina Caceres (Canada); for  Oceania, Hugh Robertson (New Zealand) with Rod Hay (New Zealand) as alternate.

New Plants Committee members elected are: for Africa, Beatrice Khayota (Kenya) and David L.N. Hafashimana (Uganda) with Koffi Akpagana (Togo) and Quentin Luke (Kenya) as alternates; for Asia, Zhihua Zhou (China), with Shereefa Al-Salem (Kuwait) as alternate; for Central and South America and the Caribbean, Dora Ingrid Rivera (Costa Rica) and Kenneth Richard (Bahamas) as alternate; for Europe, Margarita Clemente Muñoz (Spain) with David Kikodze (Georgia) and Paulo José Da Luz Carmo (Portugal) as alternates; for North America, Hesiquio Benitez Días (Mexico) with Adrianne Sinclair (Canada) as alternate; and for Oceania, Greg Leach (Australia), with Marika Vuli Tuiwawa (Fiji) as alternate.

During the meeting, Committee I addressed species listings, and proposals for amendment of the Appendices. Committee II addressed financial and budget issues, implementation of the Strategic Vision: 2008-2013; review of Resolutions and Decisions; compliance and enforcement; species trade and conservation including great apes, Asian big cats and rhinoceros; electronic permitting; and exemptions and special trade provisions. In the final plenary sessions on 24-25 March, the CoP reviewed all of the recommendations from Committee I and I. The following report summarizes the issues addressed by CoP15, according to the agenda.


COMMITTEE REPORTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS: Standing Committee: The Report of the Chair of the SC was not presented, as SC Chair Cristian Maquieira (Chile) was unable to attend as a result of the earthquake in his country.

Animals Committee: On Sunday, 14 March, in plenary, AC Chair Thomas Althaus (Switzerland) presented the AC report (CoP15 Doc.7.2.1). He highlighted, inter alia: the need for common meetings of the AC and PC to consider joint issues; AC funding requirements; completion of the country-based Review of Significant Trade (RST) by Madagascar; and the need to evaluate the effectiveness of the periodic review of animal species (Res. Conf.14.8 (Rev.CoP14)) and for parties to complete their reviews. Parties agreed to the recommendation that the AC report at CoP16 on the progress of the review of all Felidae and refer the conflicts of interest issue to the SC for reporting to CoP16. The report was noted.

Plants Committee: On Sunday, 14 March, in plenary, PC Chair Margarita Clemente (Spain) presented the PC report (CoP15 Doc.7.3.1 (Rev.1)), highlighting that the report does not include recommendations or draft decisions, since specific PC activities or joint AC and PC issues are the subject of separate agenda items. She emphasized the recommendation that the harmonization of nomenclature and taxonomy in multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) should make allowance for the fact that CITES species lists and standard references are operational tools to facilitate the work of the Convention. The report was noted.

COOPERATION WITH OTHER ORGANIZATIONS: On Sunday, 14 March, the Secretariat introduced the report on cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) (CoP15 Doc.10.2), on activities related to forestry and non-timber forest products and the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between FAO and the CITES Secretariat, which covers joint activities in the field of fisheries. FAO indicated that the only divergence between the two organizations is on interpretation of the listing criteria. China proposed the adoption of a draft decision to direct the SC to analyze the current and future work under the MoU between FAO and the Secretariat. Parties noted the report and adopted China’s proposed draft decision (CoP15 Plen.Doc.2).

Statements were also made by the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) and the World Customs Organization (WCO) on their CITES-related activities. Thailand reported on, among other things, the first Asia Ministerial Conference on tiger conservation in connection with the Global Tiger Initiative. TRAFFIC noted the potential for greater CITES involvement in bushmeat and wildlife issues in Central Africa.

On Monday, 15 March, Committee I considered the document on synergy with biodiversity-related initiatives (CoP15 Doc.10.1). Following a proposal by Spain, on behalf of the European Union (EU), a working group was established to work on draft decisions related to the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and climate change. Committee I agreed to the resulting draft decisions with a minor amendment to the Spanish translation. Committee I also considered a document (CoP15 Doc.10.4), which refers to Decision 14.15 instructing the PC to cooperate with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Secretariat on the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation. After a short discussion, draft decisions requesting the PC to collaborate with the Global Strategy and the Secretariat to communicate the contributions of CITES in the context of its work with the CBD Secretariat were adopted.

Final Outcome: The CoP adopts the proposals, calling on, inter alia:

•  the SC to examine the MoU with FAO (CoP15 Plen. Doc.2) and report to CoP16 on the IPBES (CoP15 Com.I.12); and

•  the PC to collaborate with the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (CoP15 Doc.10.4 Annex 2).

FINANCING AND BUDGETING OF THE SECRETARIAT AND OF MEETINGS OF THE CoP: Finance and budget issues were considered on Monday, 15 March and Tuesday, 23 March, in Committee II, and in a budget working group chaired by Switzerland. Plenary considered the budget on Wednesday, 24 March.

Committee II considered and agreed to the Terms of Reference of the Finance and Budget Subcommittee (CoP15 Doc.6.1) with a minor amendment proposed by Australia and draft decisions on non-payment of contributions (CoP15 Doc.6.6 (Rev.1)), although the US noted its opposition to the idea that payments can accrue in arrears, since it considers contributions to CITES to be voluntary. The Committee also noted: the financial reports for 2007-2008 (CoP15 Doc.6.2 (Rev.1)); a document on the implementation of the costed programme of work (CPoW) for 2009 (CoP15 Doc.6.3 (Rev.1)), including the interventions made; and the implementation of the CPoW for 2010 and 2011 (CoP15 Doc.6.4 (Rev.1)).

Committee II deferred substantive discussions on the CPoW for 2012-2013 (draft decision CoP15 Doc.6.5 (Rev.1) Annex 6), to a budget working group. He encouraged budget working group participants to consider that a 16% increase would support the status quo activities. Iran, with Jamaica and Saint Lucia, stressed the importance of enforcement assistance, and Grenada recommended increased synergies between CITES and other MEAs. Israel suggested that the increased costs of the Secretariat’s work should be borne by the industries that profit from trade in commodities regulated by CITES. Mexico stated it would not support increased contributions, and asked for additional austerity measures by the Secretariat.

On Tuesday, 23 March, Switzerland presented a document (CoP15 Com.II.38-39) drafted by the budget working group and noted that the overall increase in contributions from parties amounts to 6%. He stressed the document reflects the concern that the drawdown from the Trust Fund should not increase in the future, and highlighted the implications that this will have on contributions needed from parties and other sources. Japan, Czech Republic, Chile, Australia and Norway supported the draft resolution with Australia noting that it represents a generous increase in these times of financial difficulties. Swaziland volunteered to a 100% increase in their contribution to the budget, in recognition of the essential role of CITES in his country and called on other countries to match this offer. The US requested to put on record its position that contributions to the Trust Fund are voluntary. Committee II agreed to the proposed increase.

On Wednesday, 24 March, in plenary, Swaziland and Safari Club International pledged voluntary contributions to CITES, with Swaziland expressing disappointment with the restriction of the budget increase to a level he said was insufficient for CITES to undertake its work. Safari Club International encouraged other non-governmental organizations to support CITES.

Final Outcome:The CoP adopted:

•  the Terms of Reference for the Finance and Budget Subcommittee (CoP15 Doc.6.1);

•  the 2007-2008 financial reports (CoP15 Doc.6.2 (Rev.1);

•  implementation of the CPoW 2009 (CoP15 Doc.6.3 (Rev.1);

•  implementation of the CPoW 2010-2011 (CoP15 Doc.6.4 (Rev.1);

•  a resolution on the budget for 2012-2013, including the total budget for the period, the scale of contributions for 2012-2013, and a staffing table (CoP15 Com.II.39); and

•  non-payments of contributions (CoP15 Doc.6.6 (Rev.1).

IMPLEMENTATION OF THE STRATEGIC VISION 2008-2013: On Monday, 15 March, Committee II considered the document on the implementation of the Strategic Vision: 2008-2013 (CoP15 Doc.8), with the Secretariat highlighting CoP14 decisions directed to the SC on developing indicators for the objectives indicated in the Vision and to the Secretariat, inter alia, requesting input on remaining indicators to be developed and agreed upon. Parties agreed to discuss this item in conjunction with item 21 on national reports (CoP15 Doc.21), which contains revisions to Decision 14.37, including directing the SC to follow up on reporting requirements for the Strategic Vision.

Final Outcome:The CoP adopted revisions of Decisions 14.37 and 14.38 (CoP15 Com.II.15), including directions on Strategic Vision indicators and reporting.

REVIEW OF THE SCIENTIFIC COMMITTEES: On Monday, 15 March, Committee II considered a document on the review of Scientific Committees (CoP15 Doc.9), which included a recommendation to amend provisions of Res. Conf.11 (Rev.CoP14) to the effect that, inter alia, Committee Chairs should be replaced in their role of regional member by an alternate. The amendments were adopted.

Final Outcome: The CoP adopted the amendments to Res. Conf.11 (Rev.CoP14).

HARMONIZATION OF NOMENCLATURE AND TAXONOMY WITH OTHER MULTILATERAL ENVIRONMENTAL AGREEMENTS: On Monday, 15 March, Committee I considered document CoP15 Doc.12 on nomenclature and taxonomy, introduced by the Secretariat. Pakistan objected to the reference to the Ganges river dolphin and Indus river dolphin as a single species. The Committee noted Pakistan’s objection and agreed to the draft amendments to Res. Conf.12.11 (Rev. CoP14) contained in the document.

Final Outcome: The CoP adopted the amendments and noted Pakistan’s objection (CoP15 Com.II.11).

COOPERATION BETWEEN PARTIES AND PROMOTION OF MULTILATERAL MEASURES: On Monday, 15 March, Committee II considered a document on cooperation between parties and promotion of multilateral measures (CoP15 Doc.13). Among other things, the Secretariat proposed to retain Decision 14.28 on review of domestic measures and reservations. Argentina proposed an amendment to determine whether the domestic measures are not only effective but also “necessary.” Committee II agreed to the proposal, as amended.

Final Outcome: The CoP adopted the amended proposal (CoP15 II.1) calling, inter alia, on parties with stricter domestic measures and reservations to review them to determine whether they are effective and necessary to achieve the objectives of the Convention.

CITES AND LIVELIHOODS: On Monday, 15 March, Committee II considered the report on CITES and livelihoods (CoP15 Doc.14) prepared by the Chair of the Standing Committee Working Group on CITES and Livelihoods in consultation with UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre. The EU, supported by Botswana and others, supported the continuation of the Standing Committee Working Group. The Committee agreed to amend the draft decision in Annex 2, to, inter alia, direct the Standing Committee to continue revising the resolution and make recommendations to CoP16. Committee II agreed to the draft decision as amended.

Final Outcome: The CoP calls on the SC to continue its Working Group on CITES and Livelihoods and report progress at CoP16 (CoP15 Com.II.2).

NATIONAL WILDLIFE TRADE POLICY REVIEWS: On Monday, 15 March, Committee II considered the report on national wildlife trade policy reviews, including a draft resolution and a draft decision (CoP15 Doc.15). The Secretariat noted that it used Decisions 14.21-24 on wildlife trade policy reviews and the experience gained to develop the draft resolution. Peru proposed an amendment to the resolution calling for the review of wildlife trade to occur through technical cooperation as well. Committee II agreed to the draft resolution as amended and draft decision.

Final Outcome: The CoP adopted: the draft resolution as amended (CoP15 Com.II.3), inviting importing and exporting countries to review the effects of domestic wildlife trade policies on international trade of CITES-listed species; and the draft decision calling on the Secretariat to report at SC62 and CoP16 on the progress made with regard to the implementation of the resolution.

CAPACITY BUILDING: On Tuesday, March 16, Committee II considered the report of the Secretariat on capacity building (CoP15 Doc.16.1). The Secretariat recommended, among other things, that parties be encouraged to make use of the capacity-building courses, tools and materials it has prepared. Committee II agreed to the draft decision with amendments.

Final Outcome: The CoP adopted the draft decision (CoP15 Com.II.6), which, inter alia, calls on the Secretariat to seek funding to convene capacity-building workshops and regional meetings for the Oceania and Africa regions before SC62.

INTERNATIONAL EXPERT WORKSHOP ON NON-DETRIMENT FINDINGS: On Monday, 15 March, Committee I considered the Secretariat report on the international expert workshop on non-detriment findings (NDFs) (CoP15 Doc.16.2.1) and the AC and PC report (CoP15 Doc 16.2.2). PC Chair Clemente and Mexico introduced the report. Malaysia, supported by Japan, requested specifying the voluntary nature of the guidelines on NDFs. Following discussion in a smaller group, PC Chair Clemente presented a new version of the draft decisions, including references to the establishment of non-legally binding guidelines for the implementation of NDFs. The Committee agreed to the draft decisions with the proposed amendments.

Final Outcome: The CoP adopted the decisions (CoP15 Com.I.9) as amended, calling on, inter alia:

•  parties to consider the outputs of the workshop to enhance CITES Scientific Authorities’ capacities to carry out NDFs, and

•  AC and PC to prepare draft guidance on the making of NDFs at their next two meetings, respectively.

NDFs FOR TIMBER, MEDICINAL PLANTS AND AGARWOOD: On Monday, 15 March, Committee I considered the report on NDFs for timber, medicinal plants and agarwood. PC Chair Clemente presented the document on NDFs for high priority taxa (CoP15 Doc 16.3), introducing a new version of the draft decisions. Canada and Germany presented the conclusions of the timber, medicinal plants and agarwood working groups. In the ensuing discussion, Committee I agreed to the new draft decisions with minor amendments.

Final Outcome:The CoP adopted two decisions (CoP15 Com.I.7) as amended. One calls on parties to conduct workshops with the participation of appropriate experts on the use of timber species and Prunus africana, medicinal plants and agarwood. The other requests the Secretariat, inter alia, to include practical elements for making NDFs for these plant groups in its capacity-building workshops.

INCENTIVES FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CONVENTION: On Tuesday, 16 March, Committee II considered the report introduced by the Secretariat on incentives for the implementation of the Convention (CoP15 Doc.17). The Secretariat recommended, inter alia, that the SC identify the options available for strengthening CITES as a regulatory certification scheme. The US, Israel, Mexico, Malaysia and other countries expressed opposition. TRAFFIC and IUCN offered expertise to support CITES in a certification regulatory scheme. Committee II did not agree to the proposed draft decisions, in light of opposition from parties.


REVIEW OF RESOLUTIONS AND DECISIONS: Resolutions: On Tuesday, 16 March, Committee II considered a document on the review of resolutions (CoP15 Doc.18) and proposals regarding the consolidation and correction of some resolutions (CoP15 Doc.18A1-A13). On permits and certificates (CoP15 Doc.18A11), parties debated the Secretariat’s proposed definition of trophy hunting and use of export endorsement and “purpose” codes. Working groups were formed to draft revised language, to which Committee II agreed. A working group on guidelines for a procedure to register and monitor operations that breed Appendix I animal species for commercial purposes prepared a revised resolution that Committee II agreed to with some changes.

On Wednesday, 24 March, in plenary, the US, seconded by Mexico and Chile and opposed by the EU, proposed re-opening the debate on the procedure for approval of externally funded projects (CoP15 Com.II.22). The plenary voted in favor of re-opening the debate. The CoP adopted the resolution with the text proposed by the US.

Decisions: On Wednesday, 17 March, Committee II reviewed the Secretariat’s recommended updates to the list of decisions (CoP15 Doc.19) and the Secretariat’s proposals. Committee II agreed, inter alia, to delete Decisions 14.5 and 14.8 (Review of the scientific committees) and Decision 10.2 (Rev. CoP11) (conditions for the disposal of elephant ivory stocks); and retain, inter alia: Decisions 14.73 and 14.74 (bushmeat) and Decision 14.78 (elephant conservation). Committee II also considered decisions not included in the list, including a list of decisions introduced by Mexico and Decision 13.93 on progress on the review of all Felidae. On Wednesday, 24 March, in plenary, the CoP adopted the recommendations.

Final Outcome: The CoP updated the list of resolutions and decisions, including the retention of Decisions 14.73 and 14.74 on the Central Africa Bushmeat working group and Decision 14.81 on Great whales, as well as, among others, the adoption of the:

•  revised annex on disposal of illegally traded, confiscated and accumulated specimens (CoP15 Com.II.18) along with the implicated change of an associated decision (CoP15 Com.II.20);

•  revised draft decision on trade in elephant specimens (CoP15 Com.II.23);

•  revised procedure for approval of externally funded projects (CoP15 Com.II.22), with a wording amendment; and

•  revised definition of hunting trophy (CoP15 Com.II.5).


NATIONAL LAWS FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CONVENTION: On Wednesday, 17 March, Committee II considered a document on national laws (CoP15 Doc.20). The Secretariat noted the need to incorporate into Res. Conf.8.4 (Rev.CoP14) aspects of those decisions that are compliance-related and continuing in nature, and thus recommended the adoption of a revised version of the resolution contained in Annex 1 to the document and of the draft decisions in Annex 2. Given the range of views, Chair Dovey proposed setting up a working group on national laws, which submitted a revised resolution for adoption.

Final Outcome: The CoP requested parties to submit information on measures adopted for the effective implementation of the Convention or to provide adequate justification for not having done so (CoP15 Com.II.24).

NATIONAL REPORTS: On Wednesday, 17 March, Committee II considered a document on national reports (CoP15 Doc.21), containing the recommendation to revise Decisions 14.37 and 14.38 so that, inter alia, the Secretariat could identify additional ways to reduce the reporting burden on parties in the context of party-led initiatives. Committee II agreed to the amended text of the proposed revisions.

Final Outcome: The CoP (CoP15 Com.II.15) directs, inter alia, the Secretariat to continue collaborating with the secretariats of other conventions to facilitate the harmonization of knowledge management and reporting, and identify additional ways to reduce the reporting burden on parties.

REPORTING ON TRADE IN ARTIFICIALLY PROPAGATED PLANTS: On Wednesday, 17 March, Committee II considered a document on reporting on trade in artificially propagated plants (CoP15 Doc.22). The Secretariat recommended that the CoP adopt the draft revisions to Decisions 14.39 to 14.41 contained in Annex 1. Committee II agreed to the recommendation with minor amendments.

Final Outcome: The CoP calls on the Secretariat to survey reporting practices of parties, identify cases where compilation of trade data has significantly contributed to the detection of illegal trade, and identify binding and non-binding elements of reporting, and streamlining of such reporting (CoP15 Com.II.16).

STANDARD UNITS OF REPORTING FOR AGARWOOD-PRODUCING TAXA: On Wednesday, 17 March, Committee II considered a document (CoP15 Doc.23) on the standard units of reporting for agarwood-producing taxa. The Secretariat proposed a minor change in the existing guidelines for the preparation and submission of CITES annual reports. Committee II agreed to the proposed change.

Final Outcome: The CoP recommends that in order to measure the ecological impact of trade in agarwood-producing taxa, the unit “number” should not be used if it can be avoided (CoP15 Doc.23).

ENFORCEMENT MATTERS: On Wednesday, 17 March, Committee II considered a document on enforcement (CoP15 Doc.24), calling for, inter alia, the establishment of an illegal trade database working group to support the work of the Secretariat. Committee II welcomed the illegal trade database as critical component of the implementation of the Convention and agreed to the proposal.

Final Outcome: The CoP calls on the Secretariat to establish an illegal trade database working group and seek external funding to support this working group’s activities (CoP15 Doc.24).

PROPOSED REVISION OF RESOLUTION CONF.11.3 (REV.COP14) ON COMPLIANCE AND ENFORCEMENT: On Wednesday, 17 March, Sweden introduced in Committee II a document on the proposed revision of Res. Conf.11.3 (CoP15 Doc.25) calling for parties to enhance the cooperation and coordination among existing detector dog programmes to foster efficiency in detecting illegal wildlife in trade. Committee II agreed to the proposed revision.

Final Outcome: The CoP adopted the revision of Res. Conf.11.3 (Rev.CoP14) on compliance and enforcement with minor editorial amendments (CoP15 Com.II.25).

REVIEW OF SIGNIFICANT TRADE IN SPECIMENS OF APPENDIX-II PLANT SPECIES: On Monday, 15 March, PC Chair Clemente introduced in Committee I the recommendation of the PC to replace CoP14 Decision 14.20 with a new decision on regionally coordinated actions for seven Appendix II plant species: Cistanche deserticola, Dioscorea deltoidea, Nardostachys grandiflora, Picrorhiza kurrooa, Pterocarpus santalinus, Rauvolfia serpentina and Taxus wallichiana. Committee I agreed to the draft decision, with amendments by the Secretariat (CoP15 Doc.26 (Rev.1)).

Final Outcome: In its decision (CoP15 Com.I.10), the CoP:

•  encourages range states to adopt measures to improve management and trade of the seven Appendix II plant species; and

•  directs the Secretariat to organize regional capacity-building workshops in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), TRAFFIC and traditional medicine associations, subject to available funding.


INTRODUCTION FROM THE SEA:On Wednesday, 17 March, the Secretariat introduced a document on introduction from the sea (CoP15 Doc.27), noting that further work was needed by the SC Working Group on Introduction from the Sea. The working group met on the margins of the CoP.

On Tuesday, 23 March, the Secretariat introduced document CoP15 Com.II.35 containing the draft revision of resolution Conf.14.6 and a draft revision of Decision 14.48. Brazil, on behalf of South and Central America and the Caribbean countries except Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, supported the work on Conf.14.6 and said the port state should be considered as the “State of Introduction.” The EU also supported the draft revisions of Conf.14.6, but stressed that the flag state should be the “State of Introduction” in accordance with international laws and the FAO Treaty on Port State Measures. Pew Environment Group urged parties to sign the FAO Treaty. Committee II accepted the draft revision of Res. Conf.14.6, but did not reach consensus on port versus flag state issues.

Final Outcome: In its decision (CoP15 Com.II.35), the CoP adopted the revised resolution, calling on the SC to extend the operation of the working group to, inter alia:

•  consider clarification of the term “State of Introduction” and the process for issuing a certificate of introduction from the sea; and

•  present a discussion paper on these issues at SC62.

RANCHING AND TRADE IN RANCHED SPECIMENS AND PRODUCTION SYSTEMS FOR SPECIMENS OF CITES-LISTED SPECIES: On Monday, 15 March and Monday, 22 March, Committee I considered ranching and production systems. On Monday, 15 March, delegates expressed mixed views on recommendations from the Secretariat to adopt draft decisions on the use of ranching in the criteria for amendment of Appendices I and II (CoP15 Doc.28 Annex 2) and an amended resolution on ranching and trade in ranched specimens of species transferred from Appendix I to Appendix II (CoP15 Doc.28 Annex 3). This was linked to discussions on a revised definition of ranching and the AC’s review of source code “R.” Working groups, led by the EU and US, were formed to consider these issues, and met jointly. On Monday, 22 March, Committee I agreed to the revised text on ranching (CoP15 Doc.28) and draft decisions on ranching and production systems (CoP15 Com.I.17).

Final Outcome: The CoP:

•  adopted the revised text (CoP15 Doc.28) and definition of ranching contained in CoP15 Doc.29, which says that ranching is the rearing in a controlled environment of specimens which have been taken as eggs or juveniles from the wild where they would have a very low probability of surviving to adulthood; and

•  requested (CoP15 Com.I.17), among other things, the AC to evaluate the merit of reinstating the ability to transfer from Appendix I to Appendix II suitably qualified populations of ranched specimens of species.

ELECTRONIC PERMITTING: On Sunday, 21 March, the Secretariat introduced in Committee II documents and draft decisions on electronic permitting (CoP15 Doc.30) and a proposed toolkit (CoP15 Doc.30.1 and CoP15 Doc.30.1T), noting that: there is no guidance in CITES on international standards for the development of national electronic permitting; and the proposed capacity-building workshops and toolkit could help parties develop CITES electronic permitting systems compliant with international standards and norms. The US expressed concern that parties had not had sufficient time to evaluate the proposed toolkit. Committee II agreed to the draft decisions with amendments submitted by the US and Malaysia.

The EU introduced a document on the revision of Res. Conf.12.3 proposed by Sweden (CoP15 Doc.30.2) aimed at recognizing electronic transfer of permits and certificates as a methodology approved by the CoP. Committee II agreed to the proposed revision with minor amendments submitted by the US.

Final Outcome: The CoP adopted the decisions (CoP15 Com.II.33) and the revised resolution (CoP15 Com.II.41). In the decisions, the CoP, inter alia, calls on parties to use the CITES Electronic Permitting Toolkit on the CITES website to develop or update national electronic permitting systems.

PURPOSE CODES ON CITES PERMITS AND CERTIFICATES: On Sunday, 21 March, the US introduced in Committee II a document on purpose codes and a draft revision of Decision 14.54 (CoP15 Doc.31). Committee II agreed to the proposed revision with an amendment submitted by the US.

Final Outcome: The CoP asks that the SC re-establish an intersessional joint working group to review the use of purpose codes (CoP15 Com.II.32).

E-COMMERCE OF SPECIMENS OF CITES-LISTED SPECIES: On Sunday, 21 March, the UK introduced a document on e-commerce (CoP15 Doc.32) recommending that, to enable a better understanding of the extent of legal and illegal commerce conducted over the internet, the draft decision in Annex 1 and the draft amendments to Res. Conf.11.3 (Rev.CoP14) in Annex 2 be adopted. Committee II agreed to the draft decisions and revised resolution.

Final Outcome: The CoP calls on, inter alia, on parties to evaluate or develop their domestic measures to ensure that they are sufficient to address the challenges of controlling legal wildlife trade, investigating illegal wildlife trade and punishing the perpetrators, giving high priority to the offer for sale of specimens of species listed in Appendix I (CoP15 Com.II.28).

TRANSPORT OF LIVE SPECIMENS: On Wednesday, 17 March, in Committee II, AC Chair Althaus introduced a document on transport of live specimens (CoP15 Doc.33), including a draft decision on new guidelines for non-air transport of live animals and plants for consideration at CoP16. Committee II agreed to the proposed draft decisions, including the draft decision proposed by the EU calling upon the Secretariat to, inter alia, incorporate the transport-related guidance set forth in AC24 Doc.15.2 into the CITES National Legislation Project.

Final Outcome: The CoP adopted the two decisions (CoP15 Com.II.13) asking, inter alia, that the AC and PC proceed with replacing the CITES Guidelines for transport and preparation for shipment with the guidelines to be considered at CoP16.

REVIEW OF THE UNIVERSAL TAGGING SYSTEM AND TRADE IN SMALL CROCODILIAN LEATHER GOODS: On Sunday, 21 March, in Committee II, the US introduced a document prepared by the Secretariat on the review of the universal tagging system and trade in small crocodilian leather goods (CoP15 Doc.34), noting the work of the SC working group on trade in crocodilian specimens and the proposed revisions to Res. Conf.11.12 and Res. Conf.12.3 (Rev.CoP14) contained in the annexes of the document. Committee II agreed to the revisions with some changes.

Final Outcome: The CoP adopted the revisions to the resolutions (CoP15 Com.II.41).

STANDARD NOMENCLATURE: On Monday, 15 March Committee I considered a document on standard nomenclature (CoP15 Doc.35 (Rev.3)). A revised draft resolution was presented by the Secretariat on Sunday, 21 March (CoP15 Com.I.1). Further discussion on part of the draft decision deferred to a working group. On Monday, 22 March, Germany presented the outcome of the working group’s deliberations and Committee I agreed to the document as amended.

Final Outcome: The CoP adopted the changes to the standard nomenclature (CoP15 Com.I.1).

IDENTIFICATION OF CITES-LISTED CORALS IN TRADE: On Sunday, 21 March, the US introduced in Committee II a document on identification of CITES-listed corals in trade along with a draft decision (CoP15 Doc.36). Committee II agreed to the draft decision with the Secretariat’s proposed amendments.

Final Outcome: In its decision (CoP15 Doc.36), the CoP asks, inter alia, the AC to identify existing coral reference materials that could be adopted as standard nomenclatural references for CITES-listed corals.

IDENTIFICATION OF WORKED SPECIMENS OF BLACK CORAL (ANTIPATHARIA) AND PARTS THEREOF IN TRADE: On Sunday, 21 March, the EU introduced in Committee II a document on identification of worked specimens of black coral (CoP15 Doc.37), highlighting, inter alia, proposed revisions to Res. Conf. 12.3 and Notification 2003/020 to further assist parties in the identification of black coral. Committee II agreed to proposed revisions and draft decisions with an amendment from the EU.

Final Outcome: The CoP adopted the revised decisions and the revisions to the resolution on coral permits and certificates (CoP15 Com.II.41). The CoP (CoP15 Doc.37), inter alia, asks the Secretariat, subject to the availability of external funds, to commission the development of guidance on the identification of worked specimens of black coral in trade at species, genus and higher taxonomic levels.

IDENTIFICATION MANUAL: On Sunday, 21 March, the Secretariat introduced in Committee II a document on the identification manual (CoP15 Doc.38), highlighting the new web-based feature that allows users to add information on identification characteristics. Committee II noted the document.

USING THE TAXONOMIC SERIAL NUMBER (TSN) IN INTERNATIONAL WILDLIFE TRADE DATA:On Monday, 22 March, in Committee II, Canada presented an amended version of the document on the use of taxonomic serial numbers (TSNs) in international wildlife trade data for CITES (CoP15 Doc.39), proposing three draft decisions. With the Secretariat, the EU, and Malaysia raising various funding issues associated with the draft decisions, the decision directed to the Secretariat was amended to reflect its dependence on external funds. The draft decisions, as amended, were accepted by Committee II.

Final Outcome: The CoP adopted the decisions (CoP15 Com.II.34), inter alia, encouraging: parties to consider the usefulness of incorporating TSNs in their domestic data systems; the Standing Committee to consider TSNs’ usefulness in CITES data sets; and the Secretariat to compile information from parties on TSNs.


PERSONAL AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS: On Thursday, 18 March, in Committee II, China, Chair of the SC Working Group on Personal and Household Effects, presented a document on personal and household effects (CoP15 Doc.40) noting that in spite of fruitful discussions there was no consensus on any of the discussion items. Committee II agreed to the draft decision included in the document.

Final Outcome: The CoP adopted the decision (CoP15 Doc.40) asking the SC to extend the operation of its working group until CoP16.

APPLICATIONS TO REGISTER OPERATIONS THAT BREED APPENDIX I ANIMAL SPECIES IN CAPTIVITY FOR COMMERCIAL PURPOSES: Consideration of operations subject to an objection: On Monday, 22 March, in Committee II, the Secretariat introduced documents on applications for commercial operations for captive breeding of Appendix-I animal species (CoP15 Doc.41.1). A request from the Philippines to register Birds International, amended to exclude Cacatua goffini (CoP15 Doc.41.2), and three requests for falcon-breeding operations from the US (CoP15 Docs.41.3-41.5) were presented. Committee II voted on Doc.41.2 and the Philippines component of Doc.41.1 (2a) together, rejecting both with 24 in favor, 20 against, and 30 abstentions, since there was not the necessary two-thirds majority.

The US presented its proposals to register captive-breeding operations for Falco peregrinus, F. rusticolus and hybrids of these two species (CoP15 Doc.41.1 (2b)). He explained the Philippines’ objection was based on a lack of regional office authorization stamps on supporting documentation. The Philippines maintained its objections, and the proposal was taken to a vote, passing with 46 in favor, 7 opposed, and 21 abstentions. Committee II accepted all three specific breeding operations proposals (CoP15 Docs.41-3-41.5).

On Wednesday, 24 March, in plenary, the Philippines supported by Indonesia and the EU and opposed by the US and Bolivia, requested the re-opening of discussions on paragraph 2a of proposal 41.1. The CoP voted to re-open the discussion. In light of the objections, the Philippines withdrew applications for Amazona barbadensis, Ara ambigua and A. macao from the proposal and called for a vote on the remaining four species, Cacatua sulphurea abboti; C. s. citrinocristata, C. s. sulphurea, and C. moluccensis. The proposal was rejected, with 66 in favor and 37 opposed.

Final Outcome: The CoP rejected: the Philippines component of the consideration of operations subject to an objection (paragraph 2a, CoP15 Doc.41.1); and the request from the Philippines regarding Birds International (CoP15 Doc.41.2).

The CoP adopted: the US component of the consideration of operations subject to an objection (paragraph 2b, CoP15 Doc.41.1); and three requests from the US (CoP15 Doc.41.3, CoP15 Doc.41.4 and CoP15 Doc.41.5).


GREAT APES: On Wednesday, 17 March, in Committee II, the Secretariat introduced a report on great apes (CoP15 Doc.42), highlighting that illegal trade in great apes continues to present a considerable threat to these species and that the majority of seizures do not appear to be followed up by adequate investigations or prosecutions. Many parties underscored their country’s efforts towards great apes conservation and expressed support for the activities of the Secretariat. Malaysia expressed support for the draft resolutions but lamented that a statement in paragraph 3 on orangutans was inaccurate. Committee II agreed to the draft decisions.

Final Outcome: The CoP adopted two decisions (CoP15 Doc.42) calling on:

•  the Secretariat to seek external funding to undertake, in conjunction with the UNEP/UNESCO Great Apes Survival Project (GRASP), Interpol and the World Customs Organization, technical missions to a limited number of gorilla range states; and

•  the SC to, inter alia, endorse any relevant recommendation or measure that could be implemented prior to CoP16.

ASIAN BIG CATS: On Thursday, 18 March, in Committee II, the Secretariat presented the report on Asian big cats (CoP15 Doc.43.1, CoP15 Doc.43.1 Addendum), providing background for the draft decisions included therein. He noted that draft decisions, calling on, inter alia, tiger range states to submit by 30 June 2010 information on tiger poaching and illegal trade, were motivated by the low response from range states to the request for data on illegal trade and by the need to raise awareness in the enforcement community. He also explained that the deadline was chosen to allow time for Interpol to review the data before the Global Tiger Summit to be held in September 2010, in Vladivostok, Russian Federation. The Secretariat highlighted that in southeast Asia demand for tigers is fuelled by an increase in tiger breeding. Many parties welcomed the draft decisions. The EU noted that the SC could play an important role in the implementation of tiger decisions, especially Decision 14.69 relating to parties with intensive operations breeding tigers on a commercial scale. China called upon the Secretariat to set a good example in sharing information and India asked for more time to collect information from all range states. The Committee agreed to the draft decisions.

Proposed revision of Resolution Conf. 12.5 on Conservation of and trade in tigers and other Appendix-I Asian big cat species: The EU introduced Sweden’s proposal (CoP15 Doc.43.2) explaining it was driven by the concern that the failure to provide regular detailed reports on progress in implementing conservation measures for tigers and other Appendix I Asian big cats has prevented adequate assessment of the effectiveness of these measures. In response to the Secretariat’s comments on the proposal, which calls for increased reporting requirements, the EU emphasized it is reasonable to request this extra level of reporting, given the dire state of tigers. On the question of whether the proposal would reach beyond the scope of Decision 14.69, China objected to the inclusion of compliance-related measures in a species-specific resolution and thus create a “dangerous” precedent. The EU noted that the objective is to restrict domestic sales that would stimulate international trade and not to create a precedent.

The US, Israel, Rwanda and others supported the proposal, while China, supported by India, Chile, Pakistan and others, noted that the amendment goes beyond the CITES mandate, restricts rights on captive breeding and interferes with states’ sovereignty. India suggested that tiger range states discuss a regional action plan for tiger conservation. Committee II asked the EU and China to meet separately and discuss options for a revised text. The revised text, which, inter alia, removed the compliance-related measures, was agreed by Committee II. The US introduced a proposal to review and update Annexes 1-3 of the amended resolution, which Committee II agreed to as well. In plenary on Wednesday, 24 March, the CoP adopted the resolution, as revised.

Final Outcome: The CoP adopted the decisions (CoP15 Doc.43.1 Addendum) calling, inter alia, on parties to submit by 30 June 2010 information relating to incidents of tiger poaching and illegal trade that occurred within their territory since the beginning of 2007.

The CoP also adopted the revised resolution (CoP15 Com.II.31) and the decision directed to the Standing Committee to review the form and guidance for reporting specified in annexes one through three in the resolution. Under the revised resolution, the CoP, inter alia: requests parties to submit information in relation to the scale and nature of the trade in Asian big cats to the database to be developed as agreed; and recommends that the consumer states of specimens from the tiger and other Asian big cat species work, inter alia, with traditional medicine communities and industries to develop and implement strategies for gradually reducing and eventually eliminating the use of Asian big cat parts and derivatives.

RHINOCEROSES: On Thursday, 18 March, the Secretariat introduced documents on rhinos (CoP15 Doc.45 (Rev.1) Addendum and CoP15 Doc.45.1A). He noted that, despite high levels of poaching, both the white rhino (Ceratotherium simum) and black rhino (Diceros bicornis) are increasing. However, he emphasized that in Zimbabwe, black rhino numbers have recently declined markedly due to poaching, and white rhino numbers have also declined since 2007.  He cited evidence of growing sophistication in the illicit procurement of rhino horns and the involvement of marksmen with specialized skills and equipment. He also expressed concern that in Zimbabwe rhino crimes rarely result in successful prosecution. He outlined the draft decisions, consisting of, inter alia, a request to the SC for funds for CITES to convene a joint Ivory and Rhinoceros Enforcement Task Force, which would undertake an exchange of intelligence on smuggling of ivory and rhinoceros specimens and develop strategies for combating illegal trade.

Zimbabwe underscored that as long as there is market demand for rhino horns, poaching will be high. Kenya expressed concern about the belief that rhino horns can be used in a cure for cancer explaining it could fuel an increase in demand for rhino horns. The US proposed a draft decision calling for bilateral meetings to address poaching and indicated it would provide the funding. WWF called for, inter alia, Viet Nam to strengthen enforcement efforts. The Committee agreed to the draft decisions.

Revision of Resolution Conf. 9.14 (Rev. CoP14) on Conservation of and trade in African and Asian Rhinoceroses: Kenya introduced the document on the proposed revision of Res. Conf.9.1 (Rev.CoP14) (CoP15 Doc.45.2) calling for, inter alia, the destruction of rhino stocks and increased law enforcement cooperation between and among range and consumer states through the CITES Rhino Enforcement Task Force. Many countries objected to the destruction of stocks and the continuation of the Rhino Enforcement Task Force. Kenya agreed to withdraw its text on deletion of stocks and to discuss a revised resolution. Committee II agreed to a draft decision and revised draft resolution.

On Wednesday, 24 March, in plenary, Viet Nam stated that resolutions do not generally specify countries, especially when the connotations are negative. The observation was noted.

Final Outcome: The CoP adopts the decisions and resolution (CoP15 Com.II.27 and CoP15 Com.II.29), and directs the Secretariat, inter alia, to:

•  facilitate bilateral exchanges between key rhinoceros range states and rhinoceros horn consumer states;

•  examine the implementation of Res. Conf.9.14 (Rev.CoP15) in those range states where illegal killing of rhinoceroses poses a significant threat to rhino populations, particularly Zimbabwe and South Africa; and

•  examine progress with regard to curtailing illegal trade in rhinoceros parts and derivatives by implicated states, particularly Viet Nam.

TIBETAN ANTELOPE: On Thursday, 18 March, in Committee II, the Secretariat introduced a document on illegal trade in Tibetan antelope (CoP15 Doc.46), noting that Tibetan antelope products have increasingly been seen on sale in high-quality shopping malls in the Middle East. He also highlighted that much of the processing and manufacturing of Tibetan antelope wool occurs in the State of Jammu and Kashmir in India. He therefore recommended in the draft decisions that, inter alia, the Secretariat seek funding to undertake a mission to liaise with authorities in India and the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Following comments by India, highlighting that the species is subject to the highest levels of protection, nationally and in the State, the Secretariat decided to withdraw the draft decisions. The CoP noted the document.

SAIGA ANTELOPE: On Tuesday, 16 March, the Secretariat introduced a document (CoP15 Doc.47) in Committee I noting that: Saiga horns remain in high demand in Asia as an ingredient of traditional medicines; CMS and CITES have worked with range states for the implementation of the MoU on Conservation, Restoration and Sustainable Use of the Saiga antelope; and the Russian Federation signed the MoU in 2009. Many delegates congratulated the Russian Federation for signing the MoU, now covering all range states. The Secretariat presented the draft decisions, which are revisions of CoP14 decisions, to which the Committee agreed after a short discussion.

Final Outcome: The CoP adopts the decisions (CoP15 Com.I.3), calling on, inter alia, the range states to fully implement the measures contained in the Medium-Term International Work Programme for the Saiga antelope (2007- 2011) developed in support of the MoU.

SNAKE TRADE AND CONSERVATION MANAGEMENT: On Monday, 15 March, Committee I considered the report on snake trade and conservation management (CoP15 Doc.48). The US presented a joint submission with China for a workshop on snake trade and conservation management, particularly for determining priorities and enforcement needs for snakes in Asian trade. The EU proposed that the SC consider the AC’s recommendations in its report to the CoP, rather than the AC reporting directly to the CoP. AC Chair Althaus stressed the need to ensure the workshop timing would allow for consideration of the outcomes by the AC prior to the SC meeting, and, equally, for the SC prior to CoP16. With the proposed amendment, Committee I agreed to the recommendations in the report.

Final Outcome: The CoP (CoP15 Com.I.20) adopts the recommendations and directs, inter alia, the Secretariat, subject to available funds, to convene a technical workshop on the conservation, management and enforcement related to snake trade in Asia.

TORTOISES AND FRESHWATER TURTLES: On Tuesday, 16 March, Committee I considered the document on tortoises and freshwater turtles (CoP15 Doc.49), agreeing to defer revision of its draft decision to a working group, which was agreed to on Monday, 22 March.

Final Outcome: The CoP adopted the decision (CoP15 Com.I.16), inter alia, requesting:

•  the AC to review the final study from the IUCN Species Survival Commission in view of making recommendations to the SC; and

•  parties involved in the trade of tortoises and freshwater and terrestrial turtles to develop, as a matter of priority, national tariff customs codes to monitor such trade.

HAWKSBILL TURTLE: On Tuesday, 16 March, the Secretariat presented in Committee I a document on hawksbill turtle (CoP15 Doc.50) containing the recommendations made by the regional workshop on hawksbill turtle held in Mexico in 2009. He noted the draft decision requesting the Secretariat to collaborate with the Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles (IAC) and the Cartagena Convention on a proposal to be presented to the Global Environment Facility (GEF), has now been amended to consider funds other than the GEF. The draft decision was adopted with the amendment. On Thursday, 25 March, in plenary, Saint Lucia asked to reopen the debate to reflect the fact that the workshop report had not been reviewed by the participating countries. At the end of the debate, the CoP adopted the draft decision, with an amendment proposed by Saint Lucia.

Final Outcome: The CoP directs the Secretariat to finalize the workshop report and to explore opportunities for developing a proposal for donors (CoP15 Com.I.6).

HUMPHEAD WRASSE, ADDITIONAL MANAGEMENT MEASURES NEEDED TO COMBAT IUU FISHING:On Monday, 22 March, in Committee II, Indonesia presented a document on humphead wrasse and additional management measures needed to combat IUU fishing and a draft decision (CoP15 Doc.51). Malaysia and Australia supported the draft resolution, while China said a resolution might currently be unnecessary, and recommended bilateral and multilateral measures outside of CITES to address illegal trade and enforcement of conservation measures. The EU and Norway supported the comments of the Secretariat that the development of additional measures on IUU fishing should be deferred until after discussions by parties on the results of a June 2009 International Workshop on the Humphead Wrasse in Hong Kong, and should consider a fisheries circular that will be produced in 2010 by FAO with technical guidelines on fisheries targeting humphead wrasse (described in CoP15 Doc.10.2). No consensus was reached on the draft resolution, and a working group was formed to decide how to move forward.

On Tuesday, 23 March, Committee II agreed to the draft decision with an amendment proposed by China.

Final Outcome: The CoP adopted decisions (CoP15 Com.II.40) directing parties, the Secretariat, and the SC, to, inter alia:

•  improve identification capacity among law enforcement officers;

•  improve monitoring of trade in humphead wrasse; and

•  establish, subject to external funding, a working group on humphead wrasse.

CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT OF SHARKS AND STINGRAYS: On Tuesday, 16 March, in Committee I, AC Chair Althaus introduced the document on conservation and management of sharks and stingrays (CoP15 Doc.53). New Zealand presented the main activities of the Shark Working Group since CoP14 and introduced two draft decisions directed to range states of species of the South American freshwater stingrays and to the SC, as well as a revised resolution (Conf.12.6).

Libya called for more efforts to generate scientific data and said any decision based on present data would lead to flawed results. China said that CITES should not enter into shark management and that many issues would need to be resolved if CITES were to take part in it. Japan supported leaving these issues to Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs). The EU, US, Croatia and WWF supported the draft decisions. South Africa supported the recommendations but said they should be restructured and simplified. Noting the impossibility to move toward consensus, the Chair put the document to vote. Committee I rejected the document, with 52 in favor, 36 opposed and 11 abstentions.

On Thursday, 25 March, Brazil, seconded by Egypt and with no opposition, proposed re-opening the debate on the draft decision in CoP15 Doc.53 related to species in the family Potamotrygonidae (South American freshwater stingrays). The draft decision on freshwater stingrays was adopted by consensus. New Zealand, seconded by Australia, and opposed by Gabon and Chile, proposed re-opening the debate on the proposed amendments to resolution Conf.12.6 and the related draft decision in CoP15 Doc.53. The CoP voted to re-open the debate. In ensuing discussions, New Zealand proposed a series of amendments to the revised resolution, removing reference to an annexed list of sharks and addressing the need for greater capacity building for developing countries on shark activities.

Final Outcome: The CoP adopted: the decision on South American freshwater stingrays (CoP15 Doc.53); and the revised decision Conf.12.6 with the proposed amendments from New Zealand.

TRADE IN EPIPHYTIC CACTI (CACTACEAE SPP.): On Tuesday, 16 March, Committee I considered the document on trade in Epiphytic cacti (CoP15 Doc.55). Switzerland highlighted efforts in streamlining the listing of Cactaceae to exclude taxa not threatened by trade. The EU proposed to add the allocation of US$30,000 in the draft decision to support the PC’s work. With this amendment, the Committee agreed to the draft decision.

Final Outcome: The CoP adopted the draft decision (CoP15 Doc.55) requesting the PC to: assess trade in epiphytic cacti and, if appropriate, encourage range states to submit proposals to exempt certain taxa of epiphytic cacti from Appendix II, for consideration at CoP16.

EUPHORBIA SPP.: On Tuesday, 16 March, in Committee I, PC Chair Clemente introduced the PC’s follow-up work on Euphorbia species (CoP15 Doc.56) and outlined the draft decision to continue the assessments and reviews of these species. Committee I agreed to the draft decision, as amended by the PC.

Final Outcome: The CoP adopted the decision (CoP15 Doc.56) directing the PC, inter alia, to analyze trade data and conservation status of Euphorbia species not currently in Appendix I.

CEDRELA ODORATA, DALBERGIA RETUSA, DALBERGIA GRANADILLO AND DALBERGIA STEVENSONII: PC Chair Clemente introduced a document on Cedrela odorata, Dalbergia retusa, Dalbergia granadillo and Dalbergia stevensonii (CoP15 Doc.57) and described the draft decision on the revised action plan for these species. Italy, as Chair of the working group on timber identification and measurement, underlined the importance of appropriate identification procedures for effective CITES listings. Committee I agreed to the draft decision with amendments.

Final Outcome: The CoP adopted Decision 14.146 (Rev.CoP15) and document CoP15 Com.I.2 containing the action plan to complete knowledge on the conservation, trade and sustainable use of Cedrela odorata, Dalbergia retusa, Dalbergia granadillo and Dalbergia stevensonii.

BIGLEAF MAHOGANY: On Tuesday, 16 March, PC Chair Clemente introduced in Committee I a document highlighting progress made by the Bigleaf Mahogany Working Group (BMWG) (CoP15 Doc.58). Mexico, Chair of the BMWG, said lack of financial and human resources in range countries has limited the implementation of the Bigleaf Mahogany Plan of Action. The EU suggested the establishment of a working group within Committee I to discuss, inter alia, future terms of reference for the BMWG. Peru, on behalf of range states, proposed amendments to the draft decisions to include range states as chair of the BMWG and greater regional representation in that working group. On Monday, 22 March, Committee I agreed to the draft decisions as amended, including the change in the name of the BWMG into the Working Group on Bigleaf Mahogany and other Neotropical Timber Species.

Final Outcome: The CoP, in document CoP15 Com.I.14 directs, inter alia, the Secretariat to continue its collaboration with ITTO and to seek funding for the implementation of Decision 14.146 (Rev.CoP15).

TAXUS CUSPIDATA: On Tuesday, 16 March, PC Chair Clemente and PC Nomenclature Specialist, Noel McGough (UK), presented in Committee I the document on Taxus cuspidata and PC recommendations on hybrids, cultivars, and other entities recognized in horticulture (CoP15 Doc.59). Australia proposed simplified text for the section regarding cultivars, and Committee I agreed to the draft resolution as amended.

Final Outcome: The CoP (CoP15 Com.I.5) adopted the revised Res. Conf.11.11 (Rev.CoP14) and the definition of “cultivar” included in the resolution, determining that cultivars shall be subject to the provisions of the Convention unless excluded by a specific annotation in Appendix I, II or III.

AGARWOOD-PRODUCING TAXA:On Tuesday, 16 March, Committee I considered the report on agarwood-producing taxa (CoP15 Doc.60). PC Chair Clemente presented amendments to Res. Conf.10.13 (Rev.CoP14) and two draft decisions. TRAFFIC reported on the Agarwood working group’s findings that FAO definitions of non-timber forest products are not helpful in the CITES context and its recommendations to remove the term “non-timber products” from Res. Conf.10.13. Committee I adopted the draft resolution and the draft decisions (CoP15 Doc.60), with the textual amendments proposed by the Secretariat.

Final Outcome: The CoP (CoP15. Com.I.4) adopts Res. Conf.10.13 (Rev.CoP15) and draft decisions, directing, inter alia, the PC to consider how current definitions of artificially propagated plants apply to trees in mixed plantations.

REPORT OF THE CENTRAL AFRICA BUSHMEAT WORKING GROUP:On Monday, 22 March, in Committee II, the Secretariat presented a document on the Report of the Central Africa Bushmeat Working Group (CoP15 Doc.61), announcing that no report had been received from the working group and that Decisions 14.73 and 14.74 have been carried over. On behalf of WWF and IUCN, TRAFFIC highlighted progress on unregulated trade in bushmeat and urged parties to consider appropriate mechanisms for broadening the scope of collaborative work on trade in bushmeat. The EU regretted the lack of a report from the working group, and recommended cooperation between the working group, GRASP, and parties to the recent CMS gorilla agreement to help attain the objectives of Decisions 14.73 and 14.74.


PERIODIC REVIEW OF THE APPENDICES: On Wednesday, 17 March, Committee I considered the Periodic Review (PR) of the Appendices (CoP15 Doc.62). David Morgan, Secretariat, stressed that if parties rejected the document, the Secretariat would continue, within available resources, to support the AC and PC in PRs under existing procedures. Several parties noted it was premature to develop revised PRs, given they had just been revised at CoP14. Committee I thus dismissed the document, with the exception of paragraph 17 endorsing a request for funds to be allocated for Periodic Reviews (CoP15 Doc.7.2.1).

Final Outcome: The CoP rejected the document, with the exception of the request for funds.

CRITERIA FOR THE INCLUSION OF SPECIES IN APPENDICES I AND II: On Wednesday, 17 March, in Committee I, the Secretariat presented a document on criteria for the inclusion of species in Appendices I and II (CoP15 Doc.63), highlighting that some parties and observers have raised concern about the Secretariat’s interpretation of the criteria for the inclusion of species in Appendix II. A working group was established to prepare the new draft decisions, which were agreed to by the Committee on 22 March.

CACTAECEAE AND ORCHIDAECEAE, REVIEW OF ANNOTATIONS: On Monday, 22 March, in Committee II, PC Chair Clemente presented the review of annotations for Cactaeceae and Orchidaeceae (CoP15 Doc.64), containing draft decisions on herbarium specimens and on evaluation of trade in finished products. Supported by Mexico, the EU, China, and Malaysia, Committee II accepted the draft decisions by consensus.

ORCHIDS, ANNOTATIONS FOR SPECIES INCLUDED IN APPENDIX II: On Monday, 22 March, in Committee II, PC Chair Clemente presented the draft decisions on annotations for Orchid species included in Appendix II (CoP15 Doc.65). Mexico recommended developing more identification material for some orchid hybrid species and, with the EU and Thailand, supported retaining updated Decisions 14.133 and 14.134. Committee II agreed to the draft decisions.

ANNOTATIONS FOR TREE SPECIES INCLUDED IN APPENDICES II AND III:On Monday, 22 March, in Committee II, PC Chair Clemente presented draft decisions on tree species annotations for Appendix II and III tree species (CoP15 Doc.66). Noting that the financial implications would need to be considered in budget discussions, Committee II accepted the draft decisions.

INCONSISTENT IMPLEMENTATION OF APPENDIX-III TIMBER LISTINGS ANNOTATED TO INCLUDE ONLY THE NATIONAL POPULATIONS OF THE LISTING COUNTRIES: On Monday, 22 March, in Committee II, the US presented a document on the inconsistent implementation of Appendix III timber listings annotated to include only national populations of listing countries (CoP15 Doc.57), containing a draft revision of Resolution Conf.9.25 (Rev.CoP14) on the inclusion of species in Appendix III (CoP15 Doc.67 Annex). PC Chair Clemente and the EU supported the proposal. Saint Lucia recommended modified text. Committee II accepted the draft resolution with the amendment.

Final Outcome: The CoP rejected the document on the PR of the Appendices (CoP15 Doc.62) and adopted draft decisions on:

•  criteria (CoP15 Com.I.13);

•  annotations for orchid species in Appendix II (CoP15 Doc.64);

•  review of annotations of cactaecae and orchidaecae (CoP15 Doc.65);

•  annotations for tree species in Appendix II and III (CoP15 Doc.66); and

•  inconsistent implementation of Appendix III timber listings (CoP15 Com.II.36).


Committee I considered proposals to amend Appendices I and II (CoP15 Doc.68) from 17-23 March.

CANIDAE: Canis lupus: On Wednesday, 17 March, Switzerland, at the request of the AC, presented a proposal for an annotation to the species Canis lupus to exclude the domesticated form (Canis lupus familiaris) and the dingo (Canis lupus dingo) from the listings in Appendices I and II (CoP15 Prop.1).

Final Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal (CoP15 Prop.1).

FELIDAE: Lynx rufus: On Wednesday, 17 March, the US proposed deleting Lynx rufus (bobcat) from Appendix II (CoP15 Prop.2). The US stated progress had been made since CoP14 to address look-alike issues, including jointly convening a meeting, with the European Commission, for Lynx species range countries on enforcement on look-alike concerns, and developing an improved identification guide for Lynx species. Noting that there has been no documented cases of Lynx lynx (Eurasian lynx) or Lynx pardinus (Iberian lynx) entering into trade as bobcat, the US pledged its intent to submit the species for an Appendix III listing if parties agreed to remove it from Appendix II, to ensure a CITES record would be maintained for imports and exports.

Final Outcome: The proposal (CoP15 Prop.2) was rejected, with 53 votes in favor, 46 against, and 15 abstentions, failing to achieve the two-thirds majority needed for acceptance.

URSIDAE: Ursus maritimus: On Thursday, 18 March, the US introduced a proposal to transfer Ursus maritimus (polar bear) to Appendix I from Appendix II (CoP15 Prop.3), declaring that the polar bear meets CITES standards (Annex 5, Res. Conf.9.24 (Rev.CoP14)) in which a species “is or may be affected by trade.” The US stressed the proposal did not constitute criticism of management efforts of range states, and highlighted the proposed uplisting was a precautionary approach to ensure commercial trade does not compound threats to polar bears. Canada drew attention to an information document on polar bear management and trade (CoP15 Inf.11), stating that the species does not meet the biological criteria for listing in Appendix I and emphasizing that trade does not have a detrimental impact on the species.

Mali, Rwanda, Qatar, Egypt, Yemen, and Defenders of Wildlife voiced support for the US proposal, citing the need to limit all threats to the species. An Inuit representative from Canada stressed that while climate change poses a severe threat to polar bears, an Appendix I listing would not address this threat. The EU opposed the proposal, stating the biological and trade criteria for transfer to Appendix I were not fulfilled, and noting concerns that such a listing could have a negative impact on the management of the species. Iceland, Greenland, Norway, and Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated also expressed opposition to the proposal. Norway recommended that the issue of transfer of polar bears between Appendices be proposed to the Polar Bear Specialist Group prior to a submission to CITES.

Final Outcome:  Committee I rejected the proposal (CoP15 Prop.3) by a vote of 48 in favor, 62 opposed, and 11 abstentions.

ELEPHANTIDAE: Loxodonta africana: On Monday, 22 March, the Secretariat introduced a document on monitoring of illegal trade in ivory and other elephant specimens (CoP15 Doc.44.1 (Rev.1)). He highlighted the lack of resources to implement the action plan on the control of trade in elephant ivory and recommended, inter alia, that: the action plan be amended and parties second enforcement officers to support the Secretariat’s work. He also underscored new laser techniques for the marking of ivory. The US underscored that Nigeria, Congo and Thailand require urgent attention and expressed concern that countries seeking the one-off sale are implicated in large-scale seizures. Malaysia, China, South Africa and others welcomed the report. IUCN expressed concern for the little progress achieved on regulating domestic markets and curbing the increase in large syndicated operations. Committee I agreed to the proposed recommendations.

The Secretariat also introduced in Committee I reports on the monitoring of the illegal killing of elephants (MIKE) project (CoP15 Doc.44.2 (Rev.1) and CoP15 Inf.41). TRAFFIC presented the report on the elephant trade information system (ETIS) data for the 37 African and 13 Asian elephant ranges states and the links between ETIS and MIKE (CoP15 Inf.53). Committee I noted the reports.

Tanzania Proposal: Tanzania introduced a proposal (CoP15 Prop.4 (Rev.1)) to transfer the population of the African elephant of the United Republic of Tanzania from Appendix I to Appendix II for specific purposes. He recalled the acknowledgment by the Panel of Experts and the Secretariat that Tanzania’s elephant populations no longer meet the criteria for Appendix I, and offered responses to the concerns raised about inadequate anti-poaching efforts, verification of ivory stocks and cross-border trafficking. He asked Committee I to consider the proposal in two parts, namely whether to allow the transfer for the exclusive purpose of: allowing trade in hunting, trade in raw hides and trade in live animals under the conditions set forth in the proposal (first part); and trade in registered ivory subject to the conditions set forth in the proposal (second part). Committee I accepted the division by secret vote, with 76 in favor, 37 against and 15 abstentions.

Japan expressed support for both parts of the proposal, noting with Botswana that the one-off sale helps conservation. Uganda noted that the proposal is an example of good management for other range countries. Qatar, China, Saudi Arabia and Malawi expressed support for both parts as well. The US and the EU stressed that is critical to allow time for monitoring programmes to be established to gain an understanding of whether there is a correlation between one-off sales and an increase in poaching of elephants. Tunisia and Rwanda emphasized that elephants need a resting period. Liberia, India, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo and WWF spoke against both parts of the proposal. Committee I rejected the first part of the proposal by secret vote, with 57 in favor, 45 against and 32 abstentions. Committee I also rejected the second part of the proposal by secret vote, with 59 in favor, 60 against and 13 abstentions.

On Thursday, 25 March, in plenary, Tanzania moved to vote by secret ballot to re-open the debate on part of the proposal (downlisting for the exclusive purpose of trade in hunting trophies for non-commercial purposes, raw hides and live animals), noting that the Committee I debate was influenced by different interpretations on the nine-year resting period, emphasizing that CoP14 documents and records show that the resting period applies only to countries already in Appendix II. The debate was re-opened, with South Africa, Senegal, Botswana and Uganda supporting the proposal as amended, citing that criteria for downlisting are met. Ghana, Kenya and Rwanda opposed the proposal, with Rwanda highlighting the negative impacts on smaller elephant populations. The CoP rejected the proposal by secret ballot, with 55 in favor, 55 against and 34 abstentions.

Zambia proposal: Zambia introduced an amended proposal (CoP15 Prop.5) to transfer the elephant population to Appendix II for the exclusive purpose of allowing trade in hunting trophies, trade in raw hides and trade in live animals under the conditions set forth in the proposal. The amended proposal did not include the one-off sale of ivory. Zimbabwe, Norway, the US, Japan and South Africa supported the proposal. Uganda said Zambia is an example of a well-managed population. Mali, Rwanda and Kenya opposed the proposal as they felt that it betrayed the spirit of the consensus reached at CoP14 that all range states should respect the nine-year resting period, and inadequate enforcement and illegal trade remained a serious concern. Ghana did not support the proposal as local communities would not benefit from it. The EU believed the evidence provided could justify the transfer to Appendix II. The amended proposal was rejected in a secret ballot, with 55 votes in favor, 36 against and 40 abstentions.

On Thursday, 25 March, in plenary, Zambia moved to vote by secret ballot to re-open the debate on the amended proposal. The debate was re-opened, with Uganda, Malawi, Japan and Zimbabwe supporting the amended proposal; and Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone opposed. The CoP rejected the amended proposal, with 59 in favor, 47 against and 38 abstentions.

Kenya Proposal and Draft Resolution: In an effort to promote consensus, Kenya introduced a draft decision for adoption, in place of the moratorium proposal (CoP15 Prop.6), should the draft decision not be agreed to. Kenya, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Togo, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, on behalf of the 23 African range states, urged that African range states not propose or adopt further proposals to amend the existing listings of African elephants on the CITES Appendices including amendments to existing annotations for a period of nine years from the single sale that took place in 2008. Algeria, Tunisia, Nigeria, Liberia and Burkina Faso supported the proposal. Uganda, Botswana, Tanzania, China and the EU did not support the proposal. The proposal was defeated during a secret vote, with 38 in favor, 76 against and 21 abstentions. Kenya, emphasizing that “we need to take this debate on ivory back to the African continent,” withdrew the proposal for a 20-year moratorium.

Final Outcome:The CoP:

•  took note of the MIKE and ETIS reports (CoP15 Doc. 44.2 (Rev.1), CoP15 Inf.41 and CoP15 Inf.53);

•  urged, inter alia, parties to second enforcement officers to support the Secretariat’s work (CoP15 Doc. 44.1);

•  rejected the revised Tanzania proposal (CoP15 Prop.4 (Rev.1));

•  rejected the revised Zambia proposal (CoP15 Prop.5); and

•  did not discuss the Kenya proposal as it was withdrawn.

ANATIDAE: Anas oustaleti: On Thursday, 18 March, Switzerland, at the request of the AC, presented a proposal on deleting the Mariana mallard from Appendix I (CoP15 Prop.7), with the rationale that the species satisfies the criteria of being possibly extinct, with no confirmed sightings in the wild since 1979. The EU underscored that it is now widely considered to be a hybrid and does not meet CITES requirements.

Final Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal (CoP15 Prop.7).

CROCODYLIDAE: Crocodylus moreletii: On Thursday, 18 March, Mexico proposed transferring Mexico, Belize and Guatemala populations of Morelet’s crocodile from Appendix I to Appendix II with a zero quota for wild specimens (CoP15 Prop.8), and introduced an amendment that the zero quota would apply only to transactions for trade, to allow for the continued movement of specimens for scientific and conservation reasons. Guatemala opposed the proposal, explaining that as a range state it considered downlisting of the Guatemalan population inappropriate in light of the threats to the species. Nicaragua, on behalf of the Dominican Republic and Central America excluding Belize and Honduras, also expressed opposition. Mexico submitted a request to consider the downlisting of the Guatemalan population separately from the Mexico and Belize populations.

Committee I therefore considered the proposal in two parts, accepting the proposal for downlisting the populations in Mexico and Belize, with Mexico’s amendment for a zero quota on trade. Mexico subsequently withdrew the second part of the proposal on the Guatemalan population.

Crocodylus niloticus: On Thursday, 18 March, Egypt proposed transferring the Egyptian population of Nile crocodile from Appendix I to Appendix II in conformity with the preventative measures of ranching (CoP15 Prop.9), and introduced an amendment to remove reference to ranching and replace it with the provision of a zero quota for commercial purposes. Noting the importance of encouraging conservation through providing economic incentives and promoting sustainable use, several countries supported the proposal. The EU opposed the proposal, raising concerns that the early stages of many of the efforts for sustainable management of the species and low compliance capacity did not provide the necessary guarantees for protecting the Nile crocodile under Appendix II.

Committee I rejected the proposal in a vote, with 60 in favor, 38 opposed and 7 abstentions. However, the EU made a statement indicating it would reconsider the issue in light of the support received for the proposal through the vote. On Thursday, 25 March, in plenary, Egypt successfully reopened the debate and the amended proposal with a zero quota for commercial purposes was adopted.

Final Outcome: The CoP accepted the proposals as amended (CoP15 Prop.8 and 9).

AGAMIDAE: Uromastyx ornata: On Thursday, 18 March, Israel introduced the proposal to transfer Uromastyx ornata from Appendix II to Appendix I (CoP15 Prop.10) noting this lizard species is in high demand for the pet trade and subject to legal and illegal trade. With only one expression of support, Israel withdrew the proposal before it was put to vote.

IGUANIDAE: Ctenosaura bakeri, C. oedirhina and C. melanosterna: Honduras proposed listing three iguana species endemic to Honduras in CITES Appendix II (CoP15 Prop.11). Committee I agreed.

Ctenosaura palearis: Guatemala proposed listing the spiny tail iguana under Appendix II (CoP15 Prop.12) and Committee I agreed.

Final Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposals (CoP15 Prop.11-12).

AMPHIBIA: Agalychnis spp.: In Committee I, on Sunday, 21 March, Mexico introduced a joint proposal with Honduras to list five species of tree frogs in Appendix II (CoP15 Prop.13), highlighting the critically endangered status of A. moreletii, the high trade in and decreasing population trends of A. callidryas, and look-alike concerns within the genus for A. annae, A. saltator, and A. spurrelli. Stating these species meet CITES listing criteria, Tanzania, Tunisia, the EU, the US and others supported the proposal. Norway expressed its concern with the proposal’s inclusion of species not in trade, noting the two species in trade, A. moreletti and A. callidryas, are readily distinguished. Mexico clarified that listing all five species would be applying the precautionary principle, and reiterated concerns about look-alike issues, noting particularly the challenges of identification by non-experts. Committee I agreed to the proposal.

Final Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal (CoP15 Prop.13).

CAUDATA: Neurergus kaiseri: On Sunday, 21 March, Iran introduced a proposal to transfer Kaiser’s spotted newt to Appendix I (CoP15 Prop.14), underscoring its highly restricted geographic range, its marked population decline and the pressure on the species from illegal trade. Australia, Qatar, the US, Pakistan, Japan and the EU expressed support for the listing, and the proposal was agreed to.

Final Outcome:The CoP adopted the proposal (CoP15 Prop.14).

CORALLIDAE: Coralliidae spp.: On Sunday, 21 March, the US introduced a proposal, developed with Sweden, to list all species of corals in Appendix II (CoP15 Prop.21). He highlighted the rarity and endangered status of the red and pink coral species in the Mediterranean and the Pacific Ocean and the intense harvesting to supply international demand for jewelry. Parties debated this proposal at length with Tunisia, Morocco, Vanuatu, Malaysia, Iceland, and others raising concerns mainly over: the lack of fulfillment of the listing criteria according to the FAO’s Panel of Experts; the need to preserve the livelihoods of coastal fishing populations; the enforcement and implementation difficulties as stated by the FAO’s panel, due to the very large number of small specimens in trade; the existing national measures to preserve the corals and, in particular, those taken in the context of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean. Croatia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Iran and SeaWeb, endorsed by the Pew Environment Group, supported the proposal. The proposal (CoP15 Prop.21) was put to a vote, with a secret ballot requested by Tunisia, and was rejected with 64 votes in favor, 59 against and 10 abstentions.

Final Outcome: The CoP rejected the proposal (CoP15 Prop.21).

SCOMBRIDAE: Thunnus thynnus: On Thursday, 18 March, in Committee I, Monaco presented the proposal to include North Atlantic bluefin tuna (CoP15 Prop.19) on Appendix I of CITES and the relevant report (CoP15 Doc.52), stressing the population of tuna has drastically declined and current exploitation driven by international trade is having a severe impact on the species and its capacity to recover. He noted that FAO scientists have confirmed the species meets the CITES listing criteria. The EU supported the proposal and suggested an annotation for delaying the application of the listing until May 2011. Canada, while noting the sharp decline in the East Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin tuna populations, recalled the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna’s (ICCAT)’s new measures on better fishing management and control. She said a CITES listing would not stop the decline, as domestic trade would continue and other parties could put a reservation on the listing. Japan echoed these arguments, adding that delisting is virtually impossible and also that the listing could represent a precedent for other species of tuna. He said this proposal would result in an unfair economic advantage to more developed countries and harm bluefin tuna fishing countries with small domestic markets. Indonesia, UAE, Venezuela, Chile, Republic of Korea, Senegal, Grenada, Morocco, Namibia and Turkey emphasized that the management of fish species should rest with RFMOs. Kenya supported the proposal and highlighted that the ban on international trade would not affect traditional fisheries. WWF/TRAFFIC supported the proposal noting it would protect the livelihoods of traditional fishing operations as domestic consumption would continue. The US supported the proposal and said the EU amendment warranted more discussion.

ICCAT clarified the measures it has taken to conserve bluefin tuna stocks. FAO noted the findings of its expert advisory panel, indicating the majority supported the Monaco proposal and all agreed bluefin tuna met the criteria for listing under Appendix II. Norway supported the proposal and suggested adding a clause to the draft resolution (CoP15 Doc.52 Rev.1) to the effect that if tuna were not delisted within ten years, it would be automatically removed from the Appendices at the following CoP unless parties decided to maintain the listing.

Libya opposed the proposal claiming it contained “false information” and requested an immediate vote. Following the Rules of Procedures, a vote was called on whether to put the Monaco proposal to a vote, and this was accepted. The EU-amended proposal (CoP15 Inf.57) was rejected with 43 in favor, 72 opposed, and 14 abstentions. The Monaco proposal (CoP15 Prop.19) was also rejected with 20 in favor, 68 against and 30 abstentions.

Final Outcome: The CoP rejected the proposal (CoP15 Prop.19).

SPHYRNIDAE/CARCHARHINIDAE: Sphyrna lewini, S. mokarran and S. zygaena: On Tuesday, 22 March, in Committee I, the US introduced a joint proposal with Palau on the inclusion of several sharks species in Appendix II subject to an 18-month delay for parties to resolve technical and administrative issues (CoP15 Prop.15), amending the proposal to include the scalloped hammerhead shark, great hammerhead shark and smooth hammerhead shark, but to exclude Carcharhinus plumbeus (sandbar shark) and C. obscurus (dusky shark).

Recommending that shark management be allocated to the appropriate RFMOs, Senegal, supported by Japan, opposed the listing. New Zealand stressed that in contrast to bluefin tuna, no designated RFMO regulates catch limits on oceanic sharks, and, with Norway and Qatar, pointed to the FAO Expert Panel’s conclusions in support of an Appendix II listing. ICCAT confirmed that while it had prohibited finning in 2004, it has not adopted any specific management recommendations related to hammerhead sharks, and also noted parties often fail to submit mandatory data on shark catches. Croatia, Brazil, Colombia and the EU supported the proposal, underscoring, inter alia, the hammerhead species met the biological and look-alike criteria for listing. Citing implementation and enforcement challenges if these species were listed, Saint Lucia, Cuba, China and Indonesia opposed the proposal. Japan claimed CITES discussions were too focused on Appendix listings and not enough on implementation, urging parties to prioritize capacity development for enforcement through RFMOs and to reject the proposal.

The US committed to working closely with parties on enforcement and capacity building, as suggested by the UAE. In a vote by secret ballot, the proposal on the three hammerhead species, with an amendment for a 24-month implementation delay, was rejected with 75 in favor, 45 opposed, and 14 abstentions.

In plenary on Thursday, 25 March, the US, supported by Libya and opposed by China, proposed re-opening the debate on the amended proposal, and this was agreed to in a vote. Among those speaking in favor of listing, the US and Australia underscored the lack of effective management for these species in RFMOs, while those opposed, including Japan and Grenada, stressed, among other concerns, the need to address species declines by strengthening enforcement capacities against illegal fishing rather than through CITES listings. The proposal was rejected in a vote by secret ballot, with 76 in favor, 53 opposed, and 14 abstentions.

Final Outcome: The CoP rejected the listing proposal (CoP15 Prop.15).

Carcharhinus longimanus: On Tuesday, 23 March, the US, jointly with Palau, introduced an amended proposal to include the oceanic whitetip shark in Appendix II (CoP15 Prop.16) with a 24-month delay, noting that the greatest threats to this species are harvest for the international fin trade and bycatch, which have led to declines of 60-70% in the northwest and central Atlantic Ocean and up to a 10-fold decline in the central Pacific Ocean. He highlighted that although shark-finning bans have been implemented by the EU and 21 other countries, as well as by nine RFMOs, no focused species-specific international or domestic management measures are in place for whitetip sharks.

China did not support the proposal, underscoring that the species is not generally a target of fisheries and that fishing rather than trade measures are the solution to bycatch. Chile, Viet Nam, South Africa and Venezuela also opposed the proposal. The Republic of Korea, in speaking against the proposal, noted that carrying out NDFs would be complex. The UAE, EU and Saudi Arabia supported the proposal.

Committee I rejected the proposal (CoP15 Prop.16) by secret vote, with 75 in favor, 51 against and 16 abstentions.

LAMNIDAE: Lamna nasus: On Tuesday, 23 March, in Committee I, the EU introduced a joint proposal with Palau to list the porbeagle in Appendix II subject to an 18-month delay (CoP15 Prop.17), highlighting the FAO expert panel’s support for the proposal. Opposing the proposal, China pointed to enforcement concerns, and Iceland said porbeagle management should be carried out by RFMOs and individual states. Cambodia raised concerns about the effects of an Appendix II listing on porbeagle trade by developing countries that lack the resources to carry out the required NDFs.

New Zealand articulated its support for the listing, noting RFMOs have not set or enforced catch quotas for sharks, and stressing enforcement and NDF assessments are not more difficult for marine than for many terrestrial species. Canada outlined its domestic management efforts for the porbeagle, but noted national level measures are not sufficient, and inclusion in Appendix II of CITES would contribute to the species’ conservation.

In response to comments by China and others that CITES listings would not prevent internal EU trade in porbeagle, and thus would not address the main pressures on the species, the EU clarified it has closed its domestic porbeagle fisheries. The Pew Environment Group and Shark Alliance recalled that CITES parties have listed other marine species and have risen to implementation challenges in the past, and encouraged the listing for porbeagles and other sharks. The proposal was agreed to in a secret vote, with 86 in favor, 42 opposed, and 8 abstentions. Denmark, on behalf of Greenland, noted its intent to enter a formal territorial reservation on the listing.

Citing concerns about technical problems and confusion with the voting process in Committee I, in plenary on Thursday, 25 March, Singapore sought to reopen the proposal on the porbeagle, supported by Iceland and Libya, and opposed by Croatia and the US. The requisite one-third of parties were in favor of re-opening the debate. Following another vote, the debate was closed and the proposal was put to an immediate vote. Committee I’s decision to list the porbeagle was overturned in a vote by secret ballot, with 84 in favor, 46 opposed, and 10 abstentions.

Final Outcome: The CoP rejected the proposal (CoP15 Prop.17).

SQUALIDAE: Squalus acanthias: On Tuesday, 23 March, the EU introduced a proposal by Sweden and Palau to list the spiny dogfish under Appendix I (CoP15 Prop.18), emphasizing that international trade, primarily to satisfy EU market demand for high-value meat, is the key driver of its unsustainable exploitation. Argentina, Chile, Japan, Norway, China, Canada and New Zealand did not support the proposal. Argentina noted that in his exclusive economic zone, the species has not been commercially over-exploited. Chile said that fisheries and sharks should be managed by RFMOs and coastal states. Japan highlighted that the FAO panel of experts does not support the proposal. Australia supported the proposal, noting that fishing pressures might increase in the southern hemisphere. Committee I rejected the proposal by secret ballot, with 60 in favor, 67 against and 11 abstentions.

Final Outcome: The CoP rejected the proposal (CoP15 Prop.18).

SCARABAEIDAE: Dynastes satanas: On Tuesday, 23 March, in Committee I, Bolivia presented a proposal to list the unicorn beetle in Appendix II (CoP15 Prop.20), underscoring threats to the species and to local community livelihoods posed by illegal trade. Taking note of Humane Society International’s recommendation for the AC to be directed to cooperate with parties to examine the potential role for CITES in making beetle trade sustainable, Committee I agreed to the proposal.

Final Outcome: The CoP adopted the proposal (CoP15 Prop.20).

PLANT SPECIES: Euphorbia misera: Mexico and the US proposed deleting cliff spurge from Appendix II (CoP15 Prop.28). Committee I agreed.

Aniba rosaeodora: Brazil presented the proposal (CoP15 Prop.29) to include rosewood in Appendix II, highlighting the decline of rosewood in range states and in the Brazilian Amazon, in particular the high value of all plant parts in international trade for the perfumes industry and evidence of extensive illegal trade in the species. The EU suggested a draft decision for consideration by the CoP, following an intervention by Australia calling for exclusion of final products containing rosewood essential oil to avoid enforcement difficulties. Committee I agreed to the proposal, including the draft decision proposed by the EU.

Orothamnus zeyheri: South Africa proposed deleting Orothamnus zeyheri (Marsh Rose) from Appendix II (CoP15 Prop.37), in accordance with the request of the PC, as the species is not harvested in the wild and is not subject to international trade. Committee I agreed to the proposal.

Protea odorata: South Africa proposed deleting Protea odorata (Swartland Sugarbush) from Appendix II (CoP15 Prop.38), as the population size is small and confined to a single locality and international trade does not represent a threat. Parties accepted the proposal.

Bulnesia sarmentoi: Argentina proposed listing Bulnesia sarmentoi (CoP14 Prop.42) in Appendix II, noting export levels have significantly increased since 2002. The EU raised enforcement issues, identification and NDF and, supported by Switzerland and Norway, proposed a draft decision. Australia noted the enforcement problem linked to the finished products of holywood essential oil and suggested a drafting group to work on an annotation. The proposal was agreed to with the draft decision as proposed by the EU, with the exception of the text on NDF.

Final Outcome:The CoP adopted: proposal 29 and the decision CoP15 Com.I.11 and proposals 37, 38 and 42 with the decision CoP15 Com.I.19.

Madagascar plant species: Madagascar provided a general statement on its proposals to list 12 plant species in Appendix II (CoP15 Prop.22-24, 26-27, 30, 34-36, 39-41). The EU opposed the proposals citing lack of data available to determine whether the species comply with CITES listing criteria. Committee I established a working group led by the UK to further consider the issue. On Tuesday, 23 March, in Committee I, the UK presented the working group’s recommendations and associated draft decision. Madagascar withdrew five proposals (CoP15 Prop.22, 30, 34, 36 and 40). She retained proposals 23, 24, 26, 27, 35, 39 and 41. Committee I accepted the draft decision and the seven Appendix II listing proposals by consensus.

Final Outcome:The CoP adopted proposals 23, 24, 26, 27, 35, 39 and 41, and the draft decision contained in CoP15 Com.I.15.

ANNOTATIONS FOR PLANT SPECIES: Committee I considered proposals on annotations for plant species on Wednesday, 17 March.

Cactaceae spp. and all taxa with annotation #1: Mexico introduced its joint proposal with the US, on behalf of the PC (CoP15 Prop.25), to delete annotations one and four and replace them with new versions for taxa listed in Appendix II. The EU, supported by PC Chair Clemente, proposed a draft decision directed to the PC to produce a glossary or illustrated brochure for control authorities clarifying terms like “packaged and ready for retail trade.” Committee I agreed to the proposed annotations with the amendments and draft decision.

Beccariophoenix madagascariensis and Dypsis decary: Madagascar proposed including the seeds of Beccariophoenix madagascariensis (CoP15 Prop.32) and Dypsis decary (CoP15 Prop.33) in Appendix II. The EU suggested adding the seeds of these species in the annotation to the proposal on Cactaceae spp. and all taxa with annotation one to avoid requirements for artificially propagated plants. Committee I agreed to the proposals as amended.

Orchidaceae spp. included in Appendix I: The US presented its proposal to amend the annotation on Orchidaceae species (CoP15 Prop.31). The US explained the existing annotation is inconsistent with the guidance on flasked seedlings in Res. Conf.11.11 (Rev.CoP14), and puts wild populations of orchids at risk. Committee I accepted the proposal.

Final Outcome: The CoP adopts proposals CoP15 Prop.25, 32, 33 and 31 with draft decision CoP15 Com.I.8.


On Thursday, 25 March, delegates adopted all outstanding agenda items. Thailand offered to host CoP16 in 2013 and presented a video about his country. Delegates accepted Thailand’s offer by acclamation.

CoP15 President Sheikh Doctor Bin Nasser Al-Thani thanked all delegates for their participation. CITES Secretary-General Wijnstekers noted that the results might not be satisfactory to all parties but highlighted the professional discussion of all proposals. Australia, Japan, Mali, Cuba, IWMC-World Conservation Trust, Species Survival Network and WWF, on behalf of several conservation organizations, made closing remarks. The meeting was closed at 5:07 pm.


“Bluefin tuna, sharks, corals, polar bears, elephants and tigers.” Fiery debates over these species punctuated the two-week session of CITES CoP15 in Doha, dominating discussions in the conference halls and corridors. Underlying these highly visible debates, however, were a number of on-going challenges that—while by no means new—are paramount to the continued effectiveness of the CITES regime, including CITES’ mandate and jurisdiction, the role of science versus politics and conservation versus sustainable use. This brief analysis will focus on these challenges, as illustrated by the deliberations on marine species, elephants and tigers.


Economic concerns likely underlie parties’ positions on marine species, as resonating in the Australian delegate’s closing speech claiming the “economy rather than ecology dominated the debate.” No marine species were listed in Doha, leading some NGOs to nickname CoP15 as “No-ha.” In contrast to CoP14, where proposals on timber and marine species’ listings were largely rejected, marine fauna and flora took different directions at CoP15, with the two proposals on timber proceeding successfully with little debate compared to the lively debates on the six marine proposals that spilled out into the conference halls. Between CoP12 and CoP13, seahorses, basking whale and great white sharks, mahogany and ramin were all listed on Appendix II. CoP14, however, accepted only 3 of the 11 timber and marine proposals leading some to suggest that the “tides were turning.” Continuing with these “turning tides,” parties at CoP15 rejected proposals on bluefin tuna, shark species, and corals, with their arguments focusing on scientific, economic and livelihood considerations, and, most notably, CITES jurisdiction vis-à-vis Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs).

While commercially important species (i.e., sturgeon, mahogany and ramin) are not new to CITES, some saw the case of bluefin tuna as distinctly different from past proposals, owing to the species’ largely legal trade and its economic and food security significance. At CoP12, mahogany was listed based on scientific evidence showing fragmentation of the species’ range and dramatic population declines. For tuna, the science was equally strong according to independent assessments, including the FAO expert panel, but in the final decision it appeared that economic interests eclipsed this underlying science.

Many agreed with and referred to the findings of the FAO Expert Panel on the status of the marine species considered, but the FAO scientific recommendations on whether to list species did not seem to be applied by parties consistently, gaining traction (albeit briefly) on some species—like the porbeagle—but taking a secondary position to implementation and livelihood concerns on others—like the tuna. The implementation concerns included problems of identification of shark fins, particularly for the hammerhead sharks. Unlike at CoP14, CoP15’s final decisions were not all aligned with the FAO scientific recommendations, underscoring the importance of socioeconomic and other political considerations in parties’ decision-making.

Lengthy discussions focused on differing views of CITES jurisdiction over issues specifically addressed by other international agreements. Many opponents of listing acknowledged the need for strong measures to conserve Atlantic bluefin tuna, but declared such actions should be undertaken by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). The RFMO jurisdiction arguments were less compelling for some on hammerhead sharks and porbeagle because they are not subject to fishing limits under any of the RFMOs, and the listing proposals were defeated by only a narrow margin.

In spite of the rejection of the proposals, some delegates remained cautiously optimistic about the future of tuna, expressing the view that the increased global attention on tuna created by the CITES debates and accompanying media coverage could spark renewed efforts by ICCAT contracting parties to address sustainability and conservation concerns. Some even believe that this could already be happening, as ICCAT parties recently broke from their tradition of voting for quotas above scientific recommendations, in a move some saw as a direct response to the CITES proposal.


Conflicting memories of the last day of CoP14 set the tone in Doha for debates on whether to accept the downlisting to Appendix II of Tanzania and Zambia’s elephants, and whether this would permit a “one-off” sale of registered ivory in both countries. In spite of official records and documentation saying the nine-year resting period agreed to at CoP14 applied only to African range countries with elephants listed under Appendix II of the Convention, some participants at CoP15 remembered the outcomes differently. Specifically, a coalition of 23 African range states argued that the agreement on the nine-year resting period applied to all African range states elephants, emphasizing that the official documents with the limited moratorium did not reflect the “spirit” of the agreement.

As Tanzania and Zambia’s proposals were tabled, the continent-wide “consensus” of the African range states, expressed through recent agreement to an African Elephant Action Plan and recognition of the findings from the MIKE and ETIS reports on threats from poaching and illegal trade, seemed to dissipate. Debates skirted around the science indicating these elephant populations meet the biological criteria for downlisting.

One-off sales are highly contentious issues, and all the more so at this CoP with different recollections of the decisions taken at CoP14. On one side, proponents of one-off sales argue that trade generates economic benefits that create incentives for range states to set aside habitat and invest in elephant conservation. Further, some claim that one-off sales may reduce the pressure to search for solutions outside of CITES and can mitigate the frustration of range states who feel they have a right to sell ivory, thus providing an acceptable compromise between conservation and sustainability. On the other side, however, opponents counter that these sales create incentives to market illegal ivory, thereby promoting demand and encouraging poaching.

As the prospect of a one-off ivory sale faded, with Tanzania and Zambia finding it difficult to convince challengers that the sales would raise revenue to boost conservation and much-needed capacity-building efforts, both countries amended their proposals. However, given the emotionally- and politically-charged atmosphere of the negotiations, these amended proposals (limited to downlisting for trading in hunting trophies, raw hides and live animals) were not given a fair chance. In the process, an opportunity was lost to recognize that long-term elephant conservation requires engaging with local communities that experience conflicts with elephants and creating incentives for legally—rather than illegally—taking animals.

The next three years will likely provide some answers to whether one-off sales encourage poaching and illegal trade or whether such trafficking can be dealt with through greater capacity-building and enforcement activities, of which many of the African range countries are in dire need. The rejection of the elephant proposals should not be seen as a victory but rather as a reminder of the need for more trust, transparency and cooperation. The Convention and its effectiveness should, therefore, not be judged solely by the way species move up and down the Appendices. Its success ultimately rests in its ability to help range states implement the Action Plan and provide capacity and training to combat illegal trade.


Tiger populations across their range are decreasing, as habitat is becoming more fragmented and poaching is rampant. International illegal trade contributes significantly to that decline. With fewer than 5000 tigers left in the wild, of which not more than 2050 are breeding, some CITES parties recognized that given the “extraordinary character of the circumstances, extraordinary measures are necessary.”

China’s tiger breeding farms came under scrutiny at CoP15 after reports that these farms have informally proposed that they be allowed to sell tigers, in keeping with China’s policy promoting farmed animals as substitutes for wild ones. With no South China tigers seen by officials for 25 years and less than 30 Amur tigers left in the wilds of China, it is difficult to argue that captive breeding has led to recovery of wild populations and it is even more dubious that trade in tiger parts can be carried out sustainably. Consequently, this raised the question for many of whether CITES can interfere with domestic tiger trade policies when such internal trade could generate an even greater demand for tiger parts and thus spark intensified poaching across the range. 

The line between what CITES can and cannot do is a fine, and often blurry, one: in the tiger debate, many argued that interfering with domestic decisions goes beyond the Convention’s mandate. However, when proposed domestic activities are linked to illegal international trade, particularly for species with small and highly endangered populations, the divide between national and Convention jurisdiction is less clear. To effectively address species protection, CITES must be in a position to investigate these issues and, driven by the precautionary principle, explore options that affect domestic trade decisions when international illegal trade is implicated.

During the sensitive tiger debate, some wondered whether it was the wrong country that raised the right questions on tigers. It seems possible—perhaps even likely—that if the same concerns were raised by a tiger range state instead of Sweden, the resistance to considering CITES role in domestic policies, and accompanying views on the limits of the CITES mandate, would have been less pronounced. In spite of this apparent tension during the discussion, though, parties were successful in negotiating a revised resolution on conservation and trade in tigers and other Appendix I Asian big cat species. Range states agreed to greater reporting requirements on the nature and scale of trade in tigers and other Asian big cats, and together with consumer states demonstrated the willingness to work with traditional medicine communities and industries for addressing and possibly eliminating the use of Asian big cat parts and derivatives. With that agreement, as reflected in the adoption of the relevant decisions and resolution, what emerged was a stronger basis for the cooperation and communication needed to address illegal trade. This can be seen as a positive step for parties in clarifying the role of CITES in addressing the intersection between international and domestic trade threats to protected species. Parties recognized that given the role of illegal trade in the conservation of Asian big cats, CITES will remain one of the key frameworks equipped to address such illicit trade and its associated challenges.


Statements during the closing ceremonies of the CoP underscored the mixed views on the outcomes for marine species and elephants, with some applauding and others lamenting the decisions. However, outside of these highly publicized species, delegates generally felt progress had been made, with the downlisting of the Nile crocodile supporting sustainable use efforts in Egypt, and uplisting proposals for tree frogs, the Kaiser’s spotted newt, and a number of plants leading to better protection for these species.

Nevertheless, the success of the Convention must be judged through its implementation and enforcement efforts, and not solely on the up- and down-listing of species. On this count, progress on source codes, permits and certification, and electronic permitting will contribute to CITES activities on the ground. However, the decision to increase the budget by 6%—described by some parties as generous in a time of financial difficulties, but falling short of the 16% declared by the Secretariat as necessary to maintain the status quo—puts into question the ability of the already-stretched CITES Secretariat to implement the CoP’s decisions. Fulfillment of these responsibilities will, therefore, depend on its continued ability to raise voluntary funds. Changing leadership will further determine the character of the Secretariat, as Willem Wijnstekers steps down in May 2010 after eleven years at the helm, and John Scanlon takes his position as Secretary-General.

For the intersessional period leading to CITES CoP16 in Thailand in 2013, it remains to be seen whether CITES can continue to lead the way among multilateral environmental agreements in protecting biodiversity, and can navigate its challenging course between the competing demands of sustainable use and conservation, economics and science, and domestic sovereignty and international trade.


WORKSHOP ON REGIONAL ACTION TO COMBAT INVASIVE SPECIES ON ISLANDS TO PRESERVE BIODIVERSITY AND AID CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION: This workshop, organized by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Secretariat will be held from 12-16 April 2010 in Auckland, New Zealand. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail:; internet:

2010 MEETING OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION FOR THE CONSERVATION OF ATLANTIC TUNAS (ICCAT) WORKING GROUP ON STOCK ASSESSMENT METHODS (PRECAUTIONARY APPROACH): This meeting will take place on 21-23 April 2010, in Madrid, Spain, and aims to consider how the precautionary approach can be best expressed in the Convention. It will also consider methodological matters related to stock assessment quality control procedures. For more information, contact: Victor Restrepo, ICCAT; tel: +34-91-416-5600; fax: +34-91-415-2612; e-mail:; internet:

CBD SBSTTA 14: The fourteenth meeting of the CBD Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) will be held from 10-21 May 2010 in Nairobi, Kenya. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail:; internet:

GLOBAL TUNA CONFERENCE: TUNA 2010 will be held from 20-22 May 2010, in Bangkok, Thailand. TUNA 2010 will bring together stakeholders of tuna fisheries industry to the latest developments in global and regional tuna industries. For more information, contact: INFOFISH; tel: +60-3-20783466; fax: +60-3-20786804; e-mail: or; internet:

WGRI 3: The third meeting of the CBD’s Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Review of Implementation (WGRI) of the Convention will be held from 24-28 May 2010, in Nairobi, Kenya. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail:; internet:

SHARKS INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE: This one-time meeting will take place from 6-11 June 2010, in Cairns, Australia. The aim of this conference is to provide a forum for the world’s leading shark and ray experts, along with students and up-and-coming early career researchers, to come together to share ideas, update information and report on the progress of the most recent scientific studies in the field of shark and ray ecology. For more information, contact: Sharks International Secretariat; e-mail:; internet:

IPBES III: The 3rd Ad Hoc Intergovernmental and Multi-stakeholder meeting on an Intergovernmental Science-Policy Interface on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES III) is tentatively scheduled for 7-11 June 2010 at a location to be confirmed. For more information, contact: the UNEP IPBES office; tel: +254-20-762-5135; fax: +254-20-762-3926; e-mail:; internet:

INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS ON BIOLOGICAL AND CULTURAL DIVERSITY: This Congress, organized by UNESCO, in the framework of the International Year of Biodiversity will be held from 8-10 June 2010 in Montréal, Canada. For more information, contact: Mrs. Thora Martina Herrmann, Canada Research Chair in Ethnoecology and Biodiversity Conservation (CRCECB); tel: +1-514-343-8044; fax: +1-514-343-8008; e-mail:; internet:

SIXTY-SECOND ANNUAL MEETING OF THE INTERNATIONAL WHALING COMMISSION (IWC): The 62nd annual meeting of the IWC will take place from 21-25 June 2010, in Agadir, Morocco. It will be preceded by the meeting of the IWC Scientific Committee, which begins on 30 May 2010. For more information, contact: IWC Secretariat; tel: +44-0-1223-233-971; fax: +44-0-1223-232-876; e-mail:; internet:

INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP ON TUNA RFMO MANAGEMENT ISSUES RELATING TO BY-CATCH: This meeting will be held on 23-25 June 2010, in Brisbane, Australia. This workshop will provide advice to tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organizations on best practices and techniques to assess and reduce the incidental mortality of non-target species, such as seabirds, turtles, sharks, marine mammals, and juveniles of target species. For more information, contact the ICCAT Secretariat; tel: +34-91-416-5600; fax: 34-91-415-2612; e-mail:;

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION IN TRANSBOUNDARY TROPICAL FORESTS: This meeting, convened by the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), will take place from 14-17 July 2010, in Quito, Ecuador, to provide a forum to discuss the lessons learned, benefits generated and challenges to enhance the contribution of transboundary conservation areas to biodiversity, environmental services, indigenous and local livelihoods, and sustainable development. For more information, contact: Hwan Ok Ma or John Leigh, ITTO; tel: +81-45-223-1110; fax: +81-45-223-1111; e-mail:; internet:

AD HOC WORKING GROUP OF THE WHOLE TO RECOMMEND A COURSE OF ACTION TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON THE REGULAR PROCESS FOR GLOBAL REPORTING AND ASSESSMENT OF THE STATE OF THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT, INCLUDING SOCIO-ECONOMIC ASPECTS: This meeting will be held on 30 August – 3 September 2010, at UN Headquarters in New York. For more information, contact: DOALOS; tel: +1-212-963-3962; fax: +1-212-963-5847; e-mail:; internet:

SECOND MEETING OF THE SIGNATORIES TO THE SAIGA ANTELOPE MOU: This conference is tentatively scheduled from 30 August to 3 September or 9-10 September 2010, in Mongolia. For more information, contact: the CMS Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-2401; fax: +49-228-815-2449; e-mail:; internet:

TIGER SUMMIT: The Tiger Summit, co-hosted by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and the World Bank President Robert Zoellick, will be held on 9-12 September 2010 in Vladivostok, Russia. This summit aims at laying out an ambitious agenda for the recovery of tiger populations throughout its range. For more information, contact: WWF; tel: +41 22 364 9562;

ICES ANNUAL SCIENCE CONFERENCE: This meeting of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) will take place from 20-24 September 2010, in Nantes, France. This meeting of scientists, practitioners and policy makers will include sessions on sharks. For more information, contact: Gorel Kjeldsen; tel: +45-33-38-6700; fax: +45-33-93-42-15; e-mail:; internet:

CBD COP 10: The tenth Conference of the Parties to the CBD will be held from 18-29 October 2010, in Nagoya, Japan. COP 10 is expected to: assess achievement of the 2010 target to significantly reduce the rate of biodiversity loss; adopt an international ABS regime; and celebrate the International Year of Biodiversity 2010. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail:; internet:

TWENTY-NINTH MEETING OF THE COMMISSION FOR THE CONSERVATION OF ANTARCTIC MARINE LIVING RESOURCES (CCAMLR-XXIX): This meeting will take place from 25 October to 5 November 2010, in Hobart, Australia. The Commission’s annual meeting reviews activity reports, plans, and compliance with conservation measures of member states, and addresses administration and financing considerations. For more information, contact: the CCAMLR Secretariat; +61-3-6210-1111; fax: +61-3-6224-8744; e-mail:; internet:

CMS COP 10: The tenth Conference of the Parties to the CMS will be held in 2011, with dates and venue to be determined. For more information, contact: the CMS Secretariat: tel: +49-228-815-2401; fax: +49-228-815-2449; e-mail:; internet:

RAMSAR COP 11: The eleventh Conference of the Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance will take place in spring 2012, in Bucharest, Romania. For more information, contact: Ramsar Secretariat; tel: +41-22-999-0170; fax: +41-22-999-0169; e-mail:; internet:

CITES COP 16: The sixteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES will be held in 2013 in Thailand, with dates and venue to be determined. For more information, contact the CITES Secretariat: tel: +41-22-917-8139/40; fax: +41-22-797-3417; e-mail:; internet:

This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © <> is written and edited by Kate Neville, Tanya Rosen and Laura Russo. The Editor is Pamela S. Chasek, Ph.D. <>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI <>. The Sustaining Donors of the Bulletin are the United Kingdom (through the Department for International Development – DFID), the Government of the United States of America (through the Department of State Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs), the Government of Canada (through CIDA), the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Commission (DG-ENV), and the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea. General Support for the Bulletin during 2010 is provided by the Government of Australia, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management, the Ministry of Environment of Sweden, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, SWAN International, Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Japanese Ministry of Environment (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies - IGES), the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (through the Global Industrial and Social Progress Research Institute - GISPRI), the Government of Iceland, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the World Bank. Funding for translation of the Bulletin into French has been provided by the Government of France, the Belgium Walloon Region, the Province of Québec, and the International Organization of the Francophone (OIF and IEPF). The opinions expressed in the Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD or other donors. Excerpts from the Bulletin may be used in non-commercial publications with appropriate academic citation. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <>, +1-646-536-7556 or 320 E 46th St., APT 32A, New York, NY10017-3037, USA.


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