For use of the media only;
not an official document.
CITES Secretariat assesses proposals
for changing wildlife trade rules
Geneva, 29 July 2002 The Secretariat of the Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
(CITES) has completed its provisional
assessment of the 54 proposals submitted by member countries
(Parties) to amend the Conventions lists of wild plant and
animal species that are subject to trade controls or prohibitions.
This provisional assessment is being submitted to the Conventions
158 Parties, which now have two months to provide their comments
together with any relevant scientific data and information. The
Parties will then meet in Santiago, Chile, from 3 to 15 November
to decide whether to accept, reject or modify each of the proposals.
The Parties comments together with a definitive set of recommendations
from the Secretariat will be important inputs for the meeting.
The CITES lists, known as Appendices I and II, are revised every
two-and-a-half years. Appendix I prohibits all commercial trade
in some 900 species that are threatened with extinction whilst Appendix
II regulates trade in 4,000 animal and 22,000-plus plant species
through a system of permits.
Among the more controversial issues this year are Japans
requests to reopen trade in certain populations of the minke whale
and the Brydes whale. The Secretariat concludes, among other
things, that legal concerns should prevent Governments from agreeing
to this request. It notes that catch quotas for whales are set by
the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, and
that all commercial whale hunting is currently forbidden. CITES
requires that the level of protection it provides be coordinated
with what is afforded to whales under the ICRW.
Another well-known issue relates to the trade in African elephant
ivory. Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe are
proposing to export specific quantities of ivory under controlled
conditions. Kenya and India are proposing to transfer all African
elephant populations back to Appendix I (thus prohibiting commercial
trade). The Secretariat believes it is premature to decide on the
merits of these proposals before the African range States hold their
planned dialogue meeting and attempt to find common ground before
the start of the Santiago meeting.
Cuba has also requested permission to sell hawksbill turtle shells
from existing legal stockpiles. Other countries have expressed concerns
about this. The Secretariat believes that further detailed discussions
are needed before a decision is taken.
Other proposals would list the bigleaf mahogany and two species
of toothfish, or Chilean sea bass, on Appendix II for the first
time. The Secretariat supports the proposal on mahogany, and it
agrees that the toothfish proposals meet the scientific criteria
for listing. The implementation of the toothfish proposals will
involve the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living
Resources and would need to be further elaborated at the Santiago
meeting. The Secretariat also believes that proposals to permit
trade in the wool of additional populations of South American vicuña
are well substantiated.
Note to journalists: The complete assessment is posted on the Web
at www.cites.org. For more information, please contact Marie-France
Barreto at +41-22-917-8148 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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