The year 2011 saw great progress made by the Parties to CITES involved in conservation, management and trade in agarwood (Aquilaria spp. and Gyrinops spp.). Parties discussed and agreed on issues to be considered at the next meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP16, 3-15 March 2013, Thailand).
Kuwait hosted an Agarwood workshop from 3 to 6 October which set the basis for discussing administrative issues and other matters regarding the sustainability of the harvest (the non-detriment findings). One month after the workshop in Kuwait, Indonesia organized an Asian Regional Workshop on Agarwood: Management of Wild and Plantation-Grown Agarwood Trees from 22 to 25 November 2011. The objective of the four-day workshop in Indonesia was to continue strengthening the implementation of CITES for agarwood-producing species.
Around 250 participants discussed the agarwood related matters during the workshop in Indonesia. Parties to CITES (range States: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam and; consumer States: Kuwait, Singapore and Qatar), the CITES Secretariat, the industry: Ajmal Co. (the United Arab Emirates) and, the Indonesia Agarwood Association (ASGARIN) participated in the workshop. Representatives from all main sectors in Indonesia also participated in two side events, representing respectively the Ministry of Forestry, Provincial and Regency Governments in Indonesia, researchers, farmers, businessmen and related stakeholders. An Agarwood Expo was organized which had several stands representing the Ministry of Forestry, Provincial Regencies in the Province of Bangka Belitung Islands, and ASGARIN.
The main issues discussed were the current guidance to formulate non-detriment findings (NDF) for the sustainable harvesting of agarwood from populations of agarwood producing species in the wild and the applicability of that guidance for plantation-grown agarwood. Also, as a follow-up of the workshop held in Kuwait, the participants discussed administrative issues (possible agarwood products and quantities to be exempted) and terms to be included in a glossary of agarwood products.
The following results were formulated based on the working group recommendations: (i) current practice of NDF formulation for wild source agarwood, NDF methodology and guidelines: there was agreement on the usefulness of the current guidance to make NDF for harvesting agarwood from populations from in the wild; (ii) management of agarwood plantations: there was agreement on the usefulness of the current guidance to make NDF for harvesting agarwood from planted populations.
A draft decision was agreed to submit for consideration for the Plants Committee for it to present it for adoption at CITES CoP16. This draft decision calls for Parties to continue discussing management techniques to strengthen the harvesting techniques and NDF (formulation, methodology and guidelines) in both populations from the wild and from plantations; administrative issues and glossary of Agarwood products. Discussions on the current Annotation for agarwood, personal and household effects, glossary and the definition of artificial propagation, resulted in proposals to amend the current Resolutions Res. Conf 10.13 (Rev CoP15) on Implementation of the Convention for timber species and, of Res. Conf. 11.11 (Rev. CoP15) on Regulation of trade in plants. A proposed glossary with agarwood related terminology will be submitted for consideration at the Plants Committee at its next meeting (PC20, Dublin, March 2012). The European Commission contributed financial support to both Workshops.
Regarding the outcome of the debate on which types of products should be controlled under CITES, further discussion is needed on whether traditional medicine containing agarwood should be included or excluded.