of the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade
in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
10 December 2013
CITES would like to thank the Government of Turkey for its exceptional hospitality and to thank the Bureau, MEP and Secretariat of IPBES for their inter-sessional work
The Chair of the CITES Animals Committee and the Vice-chair of the Plants Committee participated in the MEP-1 and MEP-2 meetings. The Chair of the Plants Committee is part of the CITES delegation to this meeting.
This intervention gives the CITES Secretariat an opportunity to congratulate Turkey and Spain on the conclusion of a very successful, 2-year EU Twinning Project on ‘Strengthening of Institutional Capacity on CITES Implementation’. The Chair of the Plants Committee is from Spain and has been an active participant in the project. The outcomes and products of the project are provided in a display booth across the hall and in various materials available at this meeting.
The Turkey-Spain twinning project reflects the emphasis which CITES places on national and sub-national institutional capacity building to ensure that international trade in listed species is legal, sustainable and traceable.
The Conference of the Parties to CITES held its 16th meeting in March 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand, where it adopted four decisions on IPBES (Decisions 16.13 – 16.16, reproduced below).
- Decision 16.13 directs Parties to consider promoting actions to reinforce linkages between IPBES and CITES, including through the governing body of IPBES.
- Decision 16.14 directs the Standing Committee to establish a Working Group on IPBES. This Working Group has been established and it includes the Chairs of the Animals and Plants Committees and the Secretariat. The Working Group, inter alia, assists Standing Committee efforts to ensure that: there is a two-way relationship between CITES and IPBES; communication between CITES and IPBES for the conveyance of government requests is effective; and the development of the work programme of IPBES takes into account the needs of national scientific and management authorities to foster the use of applied science for the implementation of CITES, including the making of non-detriment and legal acquisition findings, and related trade decisions [emphasis added]. It was suggested during yesterday’s IPBES-2 discussions that the nature of capacity building to be embedded in all IPBES activities was not entirely clear. Decision 16.14 is quite precise about the capacity building that is needed for CITES authorities.
- Decision 16.15 directs the Animals and Plants Committees to reinforce the linkages between the MEP and the CITES scientific committees.
- Decision 16.16 directs the Secretariat to participate as an observer in the governing body of IPBES and reinforce linkages between that body and the governing bodies of CITES.
In addition to the above Decisions, CITES CoP16 adopted new Resolutions on Non-detriment [sustainability] findings, CITES and livelihoods and Introduction from the sea (the taking of specimens from the high seas).
The proposed thematic assessment on sustainable use builds upon a formal request which CITES made to IPBES. We encouraged its serious consideration at both MEP meetings and are continuing to do so here. In this connection, we appreciate the support expressed by GRULAC and others.
The thematic assessment on sustainable use should contribute not only to CITES but also all other biodiversity-related conventions and the Rio Conventions. It offers a concrete way of embedding capacity building, livelihoods and indigenous and local knowledge into the work of IPBES. As the Deputy Director of UNEP stated in his opening remarks, exploitation is of great concern for a number of fauna and flora species. Overexploitation is the driver of biodiversity loss to which CITES makes the most direct contribution. Its contribution to other drivers is much more indirect.
Such a thematic assessment is also likely to contribute to the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals and to Aichi Target 4. In this connection, it is important to note that CITES CoP16 extended the CITES Strategic Vision to 2020 and incorporated references to the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity, the Aichi Targets and Rio+20 outcomes.
As mentioned in previous IPBES meetings, the national Management and Scientific Authorities of 179 CITES Parties are already working across the science-policy interface on a regular basis as they consider proposed exports, imports, re-exports and introductions from the sea of CITES-listed species.
A lot of experience has been gained by CITES authorities which can assist IPBES - and the undertaking of a thematic assessment on sustainable use could help their on-the-ground work in a significant way in both the short and longer term.
Decisions of the Conference of the Parties to CITES in effect after its 16th meeting
Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)
Directed to Parties
- a) Parties should consider promoting actions to reinforce linkages between IPBES and CITES and to strengthen the science-policy interface at the national and international levels, including through the governing body of IPBES, as appropriate; and
- b) bearing in mind that IPBES consolidation remains in process, Parties are invited to provide inputs to the Secretariat in order to provide timely responses to IPBES in regard to CITES involvement.
Directed to the Standing Committee
16.14 At its 64th meeting, the Standing Committee shall establish a Working Group on IPBES, including the Chairs of the Animals and Plants Committees and the Secretariat, to assist its efforts to ensure that:
- a) there is a two-way relationship between CITES and IPBES in which CITES is a user or beneficiary of IPBES as well as a contributor to IPBES;
- b) communication between CITES and IPBES for the conveyance of government requests is effective;
- c) the development of the work programme for IPBES takes into account the needs of national scientific and management authorities to foster the use of applied science for the implementation of CITES, including the making of non-detriment and legal acquisition findings, and related trade decisions; and
- d) CITES requests and input to intersessional and regular work undertaken by IPBES are provided in accordance with relevant timelines, particularly the deadline of 5 May 2013 for requests to and suggestions for the initial IPBES work programme.
The intersessional working group shall report to the Standing Committee at its 65th and 66th meetings.
Any inputs to IPBES developed by the intersessional working group shall, with the endorsement of the Chair of the Standing Committee after consultation with the Committee, be conveyed to IPBES by the Secretariat on behalf of the Standing Committee.
The Standing Committee shall consider at its 66th meeting the need for drafting a resolution which specifically recognizes the relationship between CITES and IPBES.
The Standing Committee shall report at the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties on the results of this work.
Directed to the Animals and Plants Committees
16.15 The Chairs of the Animals and Plants Committees shall:
- a) assist the Standing Committee with the implementation of Decision 16.14;
- b) subject to external funds, participate as observers in the IPBES Multidisciplinary Expert Panel (MEP) and thereby reinforce linkages between the MEP and the CITES scientific committees; and
- c) report regularly to the Standing Committee on their activities under paragraph a) above.
Directed to the Secretariat
16.16 The Secretariat shall:
- a) under the policy guidance provided by the Conference of the Parties, and in cooperation with the Standing Committee's intersessional Working Group on IPBES, established pursuant to Decision 16.14, continue to track and contribute to the intersessional and regular work of IPBES bodies;
- b) subject to external funds, participate as an observer in the governing body of IPBES and thereby reinforce linkages between that body and the governing bodies of CITES;
- c) explore with other biodiversity-related conventions possible means for facilitating cooperation between the Liaison Group of Biodiversity-related Conventions (BLG) and the IPBES Secretariat, once the latter is established;
- d) seek external funding to support attendance at IPBES meetings by the Chairs of the Animals and Plants Committees and the Secretariat; and
- e) report regularly to the Standing Committee, as well as at the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties, on the results of this work.