Geneva, 15 August 2003
Export Quota Working Group
1. At its 12th meeting (Santiago, 2002), the Conference of the Parties adopted Decision 12.17, directed to the Standing Committee, as follows:
a) The Standing Committee shall establish an intersessional Export Quota Working Group with the goal of developing guidelines for Parties to establish, implement, monitor and report national export quotas for CITES-listed taxa. The Standing Committee shall consult extensively with the Animals and Plants Committees to fulfil the following Terms of Reference.
b) The Terms of Reference of the working group should include the following:
i) particular issues to be addressed should include the problems identified in Annex 2 of document CoP12 Doc. 50.2 and additional suggestions or submissions from the Parties;
ii) representatives with expertise in this issue, particularly from Parties with export quotas and from key importing countries, should be invited to participate. The Secretariat shall be invited to participate in discussions. The Chairman of the Working Group may invite representatives of non-governmental or intergovernmental organizations with particular expertise in this issue to participate in the Working Group;
iii) an interim report by the Working Group to the Standing Committee on its progress toward achievement of its goals should be completed by 31 March 2004; and
iv) a final report, which may include a draft resolution(s) or decision(s) of the Conference of the Parties, should be submitted by the Working Group to the Standing Committee for consideration at it last meeting before the 13th meeting of the Conference of the Parties and the Standing Committee shall submit it to the Conference for consideration at that meeting.
2. At its 49th meeting (SC49; Geneva, April 2003), the Standing Committee agreed to establish an intersessional Export Quota Working Group in compliance with Decision 12.17, comprising representatives of the six CITES regions, the number of representatives per region being the same as for the Committee.
3. The members of the Export Quota Working Group are:
a) Africa: Cameroon (Chairman), Ghana, the United Republic of Tanzania and Zimbabwe;
b) Asia: China (Vice-Chairman) and Malaysia;
c) Central and South America and the Caribbean: Argentina, Jamaica and Nicaragua;
d) Europe: Germany, the Russian Federation and Turkey;
e) Oceania: Australia; and
f) North America: United States of America.
4. The Chairman is expected to invite the Chairmen of the Animals and Plants Committees to participate in the working group, as well as representatives of experienced IGOs and NGOs such as IUCN, Safari Club International, TRAFFIC and UNEP-WCMC.
5. The Export Quota Working Group has agreed to focus mainly on practical issues concerning the management of export quotas, such as the issuance, management and monitoring of permits, remaining stocks and the reporting of quotas, and not to deal with scientific aspects of the establishment of quotas for species listed in the CITES Appendices.
6. The Export Quota Working Group requested the Secretariat to issue a Notification announcing the creation of the working group and soliciting input from Parties concerning their experience with export quotas. Particularly, the Working Group is seeking comments from the Parties on the issues listed in the annex to this Notification, and on ways in which the perceived problems described in the document can be or have been resolved. It also invites the Parties to submit additional suggestions or advice regarding the management of export quotas.
7. Parties are invited to submit the information to the Secretariat by 28 November 2003, so that it can be passed to the members of the Export Quota Working Group for consideration at its first meeting (date to be determined).
CoP12 Doc. 50.2
Specific problems identified for nationally reported export quotas for Appendix-II species
1. In order for an export quota system to function smoothly permits must be properly issued. Irregularities in permit issuance undermine cooperative efforts among Parties, and can create negative conservation impacts and law enforcement problems. In reviewing the WCMC report on trade in quota species for 1999, the following areas appear to cause problems.
a) Source codes: Most quotas reported designate specific sources for the specimens in trade (e.g. wild, captive-bred, etc). However, some exporting Parties issue permits or report trade for species covered by quotas using source codes that are not included in their quota. For example, when a quota is for wild specimens, inappropriately some Parties issue permits with other codes (F, C, and/or R), without applying the permit towards the quota. When importing Parties report the trade, source codes may become confused and annual export quota excesses appear to exist if importing countries report only the source codes listed in the quota, rather than on the permits accompanying shipments.
b) Permit re-issuance: Permits are often re-issued for a variety of administrative reasons (e.g. lost permits). However, annual reports of exports are often based on the original permit, and then reported again based on the re-issued permit. Additionally, some Parties excessively re-issue permits. This not only creates an avenue for fraud and abuse, but a situation in which trade of species under export quotas may be over-reported based on multiple, redundant permits.
c) Delayed or premature permit issuance: Some Parties have counted permits issued in one year based upon export quotas of the previous year, or from the forthcoming year.
d) Pet permits: Some Parties appear to have issued permits for the export of wild-collected pets of species covered by a quota for wild specimens without reporting the trade against the quota.
e) Coordination: There are Parties that allow the issuance of permits from multiple Management Authority offices. At times these offices lack the necessary coordination to ensure that permits are not issued in excess of the set quota.
f) Species’ names: There have been cases where invalid scientific names are used on permits, such as when a permit is issued at the species level, for elevated sub-species. This creates a situation in which trade may not be counted or reported against the higher taxa quota. It may also lead exporting countries to issue permits in excess of the set quota for a particular species.
2. In reviewing WCMC’s 1999 report, it appears that many Parties and the Secretariat interpret quota implementation and enforcement requirements differently. A possible reason for these differing interpretations is almost certainly the lack of written guidelines for setting and implementing quotas. Based on our observations and the WCMC report, some of the problems are highlighted here.
a) Unclear language: Parties have transmitted quotas with inappropriate or unclear terms describing specimens. The use of terms such as ’non-productive’, which has no meaning in the CITES context, or ’ranched’, a term applicable only to species transferred from Appendix I to II, can cause confusion.
b) No source given: Parties have transmitted quotas to the Secretariat without indicating the source of the specimens, such as wild-caught or captive-bred. While many Parties would interpret a lack of source to indicate wild-caught specimens, Parties might allow the export of captive-bred specimens with the impression that they are not covered under the quota. Or the reverse, Parties might not allow the import of captive-bred specimens.
c) Sub-species permits under species quota: In 1999, one Party reported a quota at the species level, but issued export permits for species and subspecies. Reporting this trade, the Party did not record exports of the subspecies against the quota, thus, creating a situation where the reported quota was exceeded.
Monitoring the use of quotas
3. "Guidelines for the preparation and submission of CITES annual reports" (Notification to the Parties No. 1999/85 of 5 November 1999) provides guidance on the preparation and submission of annual reports. The document provides instructions on the principles, format, terminology and submission of annual reports, but is not intended to give specific guidance on the monitoring of trade in quota species per se. Based on our observations and the WCMC report, problems regarding the monitoring of quotas are highlighted below.
a) Permits issued over quotas: Unfortunately, some Parties have simply issued permits over the numerical limit of a quota. Lax monitoring, multiple permit issuing authorities, frequent cancellation and re-issuance of permits, unlawful issuance of export permits, and other reasons contribute to Parties issuing permits over their own quotas.
b) Reporting discrepancies: The 1999 WCMC report demonstrates that national reporting of trade in quota species is problematic. Importing and exporting Parties often report inconsistent trade levels, with importing Parties regularly reporting higher trade levels than exporting Parties.
c) Trade after a ban is lifted: A small number of Parties have exceeded annual export quotas immediately following the lifting of a temporary moratorium on the issuance of export permits. This problem may be related to pressure applied from exporters, who may have been stockpiling specimens for export during the period of a trade moratorium.
Reporting trade in quota species
4. As discussed above, accurate and uniform trade reporting is critical under CITES. Problems that exist in reporting trade could often be avoided if Parties adhered to existing CITES standards on preparation and submission of annual reports. Those standards are set in Resolution Conf. 11.17 (Annual reports and monitoring of trade) and Notification No. 1999/85 (Annual reports). Review of the 1999 WCMC report, as well as our observations, highlighted some of the problems encountered when Parties summarize trade in their annual reports.
a) Reporting not based on actual trade: Many Parties provide annual reports based on permits and certificates issued, rather than actual exports. This often provides an over-count of trade levels if permits are not used, if the quantity exported is less than the quantity permitted, or if re-issued permits are reported on top of original permits.
b) Reporting periods: Annual reports should cover all trade that occurred within a calendar year. When annual reports do not cover a calendar year, the information they transmit is not comparable with the trade limits set by quotas.
c) Failure to report trade: At times Parties have not included all actual trade in their annual reports. This probably occurs for a variety of reasons, and can lead to quotas being exceeded, or under-utilized.
d) Different reporting years: Export of CITES specimens may not occur until the year after a permit is issued, since permits are valid for six months. Thus, importing countries often report trade the year after a permit is issued. This can lead to a miscount of authorized specimens.
e) Late or non-submission of annual reports: This is a continuing problem that undermines the use of trade data to manage and implement a quota system properly.
f) Different terms used in quotas and permits: Parties report quotas that cover specific parts or derivatives, but often issue permits for live or whole specimens without mentioning such quotas. When exporting and importing Parties submit annual reports, differences in reporting methods lead to uncertainty as to whether this trade should be applied to quotas.
g) Failure to include data in annual reports: Some Parties, when submitting annual reports based on permits issued, do not indicate which years specific permits were issued. Therefore, it is unclear to which annual quota a specific transaction should be applied.
h) Quotas set at higher taxa: When quotas are set at a higher taxa level, reporting by exporting and importing countries can differ significantly, creating confusion as to actual trade levels.
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