Sixth meeting of the CITES Tree Species Advisory Committee held online
Representatives from 15 countries, donors and other members of the CITES Tree Species Programme (CTSP) Advisory Committee gathered online for its sixth meeting to review the progress made during the COVID-affected period of 2020-2021.
The meeting was originally scheduled to take place in July 2020 in conjunction with the then-planned 25th meeting of the CITES Plants Committee, but both events had to been postponed because of the pandemic.
Participants reviewed the progress in the work since the fifth meeting of the Advisory Committee (Lomé, December 2019), noting that planned activities and workplans had been significantly affected by the pandemic. The project also received approval for an extension of 18 months until November 2022.
Regional Coordinators and selected Parties from the three regions where the programme is active - Asia, Africa, and Central and South America and the Caribbean – each presented an on-going project and shared their implementation experiences. Members of the Advisory Committee also reviewed and gave advice on implementation for the remainder of the project duration, including additional funded activities, strengthening the cooperation with ITTO, programme evaluation, as well as efforts to further raise awareness on the impact of the CTSP, generously funded by the EU, through the production of visibility materials.
“While we have not been able to hold an Advisory Committee meeting since December 2019, the Secretariat has been working diligently to ensure progress in the implementation of the project by adapting to the new realities, liaising with countries to address their challenges, and amending and rephasing their activities,” stressed Ivonne Higuero, CITES Secretary-General, in welcoming the members to this meeting. “It is our aim to feature the progress made to date and plans for the future of this project, all a result of a close collaboration between the CITES Secretariat staff, project partners, and beneficiary countries.”
In his opening statement, Matthias Leonhard Maier, Directorate General for the Environment, European Commission, noted the significance of CTSP, “the CITES Trees Species programme has already proved to be a successful tool to build capacities in producing countries and help them meeting CITES requirements for tree species. The recent meeting of the CITES Plants Committee has made it very clear that there is a continued need for such a tool, and we are keen to hear about the most recent activities during this meeting”.
The CITES Tree Species Programme was initiated in 2017, when the CITES Secretariat and the European Commission announced their collaboration in a project for the sustainable management of CITES-listed tree species, and the conservation of the African elephants.
The CTSP aims to provide direct financial assistance to CITES Parties in support of their conservation and management measures aimed at ensuring that their trade in timber, bark, extracts and other products from the nearly 900 tree species listed in the CITES Appendices is sustainable, legal and traceable.
The programme currently supports 17 projects within 22 Parties to CITES.