Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE)

29 July 1999

In attendance

Dr Hany Tatwany (Chair - Saudi Arabia), Dr Kanjana Nitaya, Mr Charles Evans (Thailand), Mr Pieter Botha (South Africa), Dr Susan Lieberman, Dr Richard Ruggiero (United States of America), Dr Jim Armstrong (Secretariat), Mr Nigel Hunter (Rapporteur), Dr Holly Dublin (Chairman, AfESG), Mr Robin Sharp (CITES Senior Advisor). (Note: all members of the Subgroup were thus participating, except for Burkina Faso, regarding which, see below).


The agenda was accepted with no items for Any Other Business.


Follow-up on teleconference of 27 May 1999







Minutes of the Libreville meeting







Dr Armstrong confirmed that the minutes had been sent to the Subgroup, though there had been some delay in dispatching them, owing to the need to have them translated. The minutes provide useful background to the Central Africa pilot phase. Dr Armstrong also confirmed that he would continue to provide further minutes and documents arising from John Hart's co-ordination work in Central Africa.







Modify and implement CITES/IUCN MoU







The modifications agreed by the last teleconference meeting had been incorporated, thus enabling the contract to be signed and in effect by the beginning of July.







Report of 1st teleconference meeting







Mr Hunter had been required to provide a full record of the meeting and to circulate it to all members of the Subgroup. It was agreed that this had been done satisfactorily and the Subgroup was pleased with the speed of delivery. Dr Lieberman indicated that the United States would like to provide a supplement to accompany the record. This was welcomed, with a request that the supplement be sent to the Secretariat by e-mail to [email protected] as soon as possible2. Similarly this procedure was welcome in regard to the second teleconference meeting.







Breakdown of the CITES/IUCN budget







Dr Armstrong confirmed that this had been sent to the Subgroup. However he drew attention to the fact that the breakdowns at this stage were notional, but there would eventually be an audited statement with the breakdowns.











Subgroup meeting at SC42







The Secretariat had organized a morning session on the Sunday immediately prior to the SC42 meeting in Lisbon. It was agreed that the minutes of that meeting would be provided to the Standing Committee as an attachment to the Subgroup Chairman's presentation. Dr Armstrong also confirmed that it was unlikely that any IUCN representative would be required to attend the meeting in Lisbon.







United States Embassy/Burkina Faso







Dr Ruggiero reported on the efforts that had been made to contact Mr Kaolo Konate through the United States Embassy. Unfortunately communication problems with Burkina Faso appear to be systematic at the country level, even in reaching the United States Embassy. The only reasonable link would appear to be the telephone link with the Embassy, and it was suggested that Mr Konate be invited to participate in future teleconferences from within the Embassy. Dr Armstrong confirmed that the Secretariat had totally failed to make contact despite repeated efforts via telephone, fax, e-mail and courier. It was agreed that the only solution would be to pursue the matter with the representative of Burkina Faso in Lisbon.






IUCN Progress Report







Central Co-ordination Function







Dr Dublin reported that this unit had now been established at the IUCN office in Nairobi, with two of the three consultants based and functioning from that office. The third consultant, i.e. John Hart, was continually travelling as part of his responsibilities for the pilot phase in Central Africa. Dr Dublin did emphasize that the unit's location and composition was not necessarily a long-term situation or solution. She went on to point out that the three different roles of the current consultants meant that she was providing the technical and overall co-ordination with Dr Mainka (IUCN HQ) providing the administrative co-ordination back up. Dr Dublin was hopeful that a "true" co-ordinator would be provided under the next phase of MIKE's development.







Pilot Phase in Central Africa







Dr Dublin reported that this was now moving ahead at considerable speed and that it was expected that by 31 July, the following would be delivered:




- an outline of the pilot phase structure and programme, with terms of reference;




- full drafts of the field forms required, with instructions for their use;



- a draft budget for completion of the pilot phase (up to November 2000); and



- an outline of the scheduled two-month training component.







She went on to report that the subset of MIKE sites (five to six) for the pilot phase were now agreed in Gabon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Congo. More details can be found in the minutes of the Libreville meeting. In addition, extra funds were forthcoming from the USAID CARPE to support the Steering Group's work and from the Dutch Government to assist with the Central Africa MIKE training initiative (in Nouabalé-Ndoki, which is planned for September to November), thus facilitating additional site staff to participate. It was also intended that the Steering Group should visit the training site in order to maintain and encourage the Group's enthusiasm.







Dr Dublin continued the report by signalling the growing momentum and enthusiasm that the MIKE Central Africa pilot phase and John Hart's efforts were creating, such that MIKE was becoming a rallying point in the region. Dr Ruggiero noted that in addition to the countries already mentioned, Chad had also been very enthusiastic. He also noted that major credit should go to John Hart for this effort, while also crediting Lee White of Wildlife Conservation Society for Central Africa training efforts. The Subgroup commended the efforts of John Hart and Holly Dublin and requested Holly Dublin to send any material emanating from John Hart to the Secretariat as and when possible, so that the progress could be well reflected in the report to SC 42. All agreed that the excellent progress in Central Africa should be highlighted in the report to SC42.







Proposed Pilot for Asia







Dr Dublin indicated IUCN and the Asian Elephant Specialist Group support for the choice of S.E. Asia for the pilot phase, consisting of Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam, as the proposed pilot region. There were difficulties with communication, particularly with Government contacts in Cambodia, Lao People's Democratic Republic and Viet Nam (noting that Lao People's Democratic Republic is a non-party to CITES). The consultant employed to oversee the S.E. Asian work was Phil McGowan, who had strong regional experience. Obviously the Asian pilot was much less advanced than the pilot in Africa and the main emphasis at present was to get the region up to the "Libreville" meeting stage.







Phil McGowan will therefore be spending the next three weeks in the region, starting with the Chairman of AsESG in order to get a better overview of:







- elephant problems (e.g. human conflict may be a higher priority than ivory pressure);

- technical insights (particularly as there will be a need to adjust from the Africa forest context. In this regard Phil McGowan will have drafts of the African survey protocols so as to facilitate discussion); and

- feedback from a recent visit by AsESG colleagues to Lao People's Democratic Republic.

His visit will then proceed to Thailand (probably 2/3 August) followed by the other six relevant states. For those wishing to communicate directly with the consultant re his visits, etc., his email address is [email protected] attn: Phil McGowan.







In undertaking this mission, the major objective was to try and determine who were the relevant players for a Libreville-type October meeting. This mission is complicated by the fact that the agencies responsible for potential MIKE sites are often not the CITES Management Authority. Furthermore, one of the States concerned (Lao People's Democratic Republic) is not party to CITES, making any leverage less easy. The aim was to have as inclusive a model as possible for the meeting, but early indications suggested that Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia would be keen, that Lao People's Democratic Republic and Viet Nam might be less forthcoming and that Cambodia and Myanmar might be less interested. However the target was to have three to four primary movers.







Phil McGowan was in contact with FFI, WCS and WWF in order to gain their interest and support. In addition, he was requesting a supporting Secretariat mission similar to that recently undertaken in Central Africa. Consultation with Dr Armstrong had led to the request that Phil McGowan should advise whether this was best done before or after the October meeting. The consultant does keep in regular contact with and provides good feedback to Dr Dublin. She then concluded this part of her report by indicating the importance of giving consideration to the funding the Asian pilot.







Dr Armstrong responded by underlining that the funds provided to date were merely for helping with setting up the pilot and that there were no funds as yet for undertaking the pilot phase. It would therefore be important to have a proposal that could be submitted to potential donors, such as Japan and the United States. In this regard, it was important to keep in view donor financial year arrangements (e.g. for the United States, the fiscal year-end is 30 September). A proposal is needed therefore by late August. Under the MoU agreement, IUCN is required under 3(b) to liaise with the CITES Elephant Co-ordinator on the preparation of funding proposals for MIKE (ongoing). However it was recognized that drafting was not part of Phil McGowan's personal terms of reference. Nevertheless he was willing to provide as much helpful information as possible and had started a dialogue with Robin Sharp. However, in order to facilitate the preparation of a formal proposal, the Subgroup agreed that information submitted to IUCN HQ should be copied simultaneously to Dr Armstrong. Dr Lieberman noted, however, that many donors will fund projects on a bilateral basis, and such project proposals should go directly to donors and not exclusively through the CITES Secretariat (see discussion under Funding Strategy).







Other issues







Dr Dublin alerted the Subgroup to the important issue of data ownership at various stages (e.g. raw, processed, analysed) and various levels (e.g. national, regional and continental). She highlighted that the nations participating in the Central African pilot phase were raising the question and that there was a need to have the matter resolved before data started being collected. The Subgroup agreed that this was a very important issue and highlighted that potential donors had also raised the matter. It was also agreed that if the matter were not addressed, then the participation in and commitment to the MIKE system could be seriously jeopardized. This pertains to both ownership of the data itself, as well as interpretation of the data, at the various levels.







The Subgroup then identified the following key issues, inter alia:







- Who are the owners of the data



- Who needs the data and who wants the data



- Who does the sub-regional analysis



- Will national governments trust regional collation

- Do governments have retrieval rights

- What comfort levels can be provided in data interpretation



- Who will give out the data and or analysis



- What external scrutiny will be applied



- What intellectual property rights issues are involved



- What are the CITES convention implications



- Who is responsible for inputs and outputs



- Is there equity in the giving and taking process



- How will this affect national capacities, management and standardization.







The Subgroup discussed the issue extensively, and went on to agree that, notwithstanding the contribution that the MoU requirement for IUCN to produce a protocol under 3(f) by November 1999 would make, the issues were sufficiently important to merit their inclusion as an agenda item at the SC 42 pre-meeting. It was highlighted that both range countries and potential donors must be comfortable with their collective understanding of this issue.






Secretariat's mission to Central Africa






Dr Armstrong reported that Dr Jonas Nagahuedi of the CITES Secretariat had visited each of the seven countries in Central Africa as a support process, following the Libreville meeting, in order to explain further and seek commitment to the MIKE pilot phase. Strong support and keenness to participate were noted. It was disappointing, however that many of the seven felt that they did not know much about CITES more generally, and particularly complained of lack of documentation, despite evidence that documents are dispatched and received. This message reaffirms the need for capacity development and the need to have physical follow-ups to overcome the document communication problems. Therefore the Secretariat mission was appreciated, and something similar is scheduled for S.E. Asia. Such missions, however, are not easy to put in place, as they have to come under the diplomatic process, whereby destination countries have to provide in writing to the Secretariat a willingness to welcome and to participate in the visit.






Funding Strategy






Mr Sharp clarified that the second draft replaced the original document, and apologized for the replacement draft leaving little or no time for the Subgroup to consider it in advance of the meeting. Given that the written part was background to the three tables, Mr Sharp proposed to concentrate on the latter. He began by explaining that Table A provided the overall costs over six years broken down into annual costs and "one-off" costs. Most of the table was self-explanatory, but component A, i.e. the survey costs, had been reflected on an annual basis, notwithstanding that the surveys took place once every two years. Some of the cost figures in the table could yet be improved by feedback from the pilot phase, e.g. the training component. It was also agreed that the one-off cost for recruitment needed revisiting since it seemed to be ill defined and excessive for the Nairobi office, but no setting-up costs were provided for elsewhere.






Mr Sharp went on to explain that potential donors had reacted by suggesting that funding for the survey element was likely to be achieved in a way different from the other components. Table B, therefore, refers to the three components likely to get central donor support, and indeed identified three such donors, who had already indicated possible contributions within the percentage ceilings provided in the table. Whereas Table C concentrates on the Survey element. This latter table recognized that some funding was possible by national departments' own "in-house" contributions ranging between 10 and 55%, thus leaving a net requirement. The table also recognized the greater opportunity for bilateral donors and NGOs to support the survey activities, and this was reflected in the possible contributors' section of the table. Mr Sharp concluded by summarizing that the strategy was essentially a two-pronged approach, split into a central thrust and a country-by-country thrust. However more information was needed before the document could be produced to donors without any reservations.






Subsequent discussion of the presentation lead to the following conclusions:







Dr Lieberman and Dr Ruggiero noted that not all funding would be provided directly to IUCN by donors, including the United States. Rather, significant funding would indeed be provided by donors on a bilateral basis. Given that MIKE and MIKE-related projects will be funded in several different ways, it was important to have a central recognition process and clearinghouse, with a proper mechanism for attributing and acknowledging contributions. Done properly, a table indicating who was supporting which element would encourage others to contribute. This mechanism was suggested to be particularly important for NGO contributions.







Dr Lieberman also noted that since there should be many other donors, the "other" column should be expanded. Donors will support individual bilateral projects, and some recognition should be made of their contributions to the effort. Furthermore, NGOs doing work in the field will be making significant in-kind contributions that necessitate some recognition. She also requested that specific outreach be made to the government of Japan, as it has a unique role vis-à-vis the ivory trade and therefore a unique obligation to support this effort







The United States also raised concerns about splitting the United States contribution into USFWS and USAID, and asked that they be combined. Mr Sharp clarified that USAID had been distinguished from USFWS, because USAID was restricted to bilateral and regional approaches. Nevertheless it was recognized that the United States was free to have its own internal discussions on the United States Government contributions and allocations.







Dr Lieberman and Dr Ruggiero went on to raise concerns about the columns in the finance strategy that referred to potential contributions from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; the figures were premature and misrepresented the nature of United States commitments and potential commitments3. In particular, FWS made it clear that it had not made any final decisions on the funding of specific components such as the MIKE central office. For example, the Fish and Wildlife Service, through its African Elephant and Asian Elephant Conservation Funds, preferred to make most or all of their contributions to the MIKE start-up period in collaboration with the organizations that are carrying out the field work. FWS preference therefore was to support field work bilaterally under the MIKE programme, through the African and Asian Elephant Conservation Funds, given the existing assistance already provided to AfESG, the African Elephant database and other core activities that are supportive of the MIKE initiative. FWS would therefore be having its own further internal discussions about their contributions before it could agree that levels could be formally indicated in any CITES documents.







Given that training is fundamental to capacity building and that donors see such capacity development as the local ability to provide solutions to problems as part of the "bigger picture", then this component was also likely to attract contributions from sources other than the three identified so far. It would be important therefore to decide whether the strategic approach should be to define training as a component specifically dealing with MIKE modules or as a component that deals generally with techniques, etc. that have a wider application than the needs of MIKE. It would also be important to explore the opportunity for such training at a sub-regional level to be undertaken through training college curriculum and modules. The Central African pilot experience should help convince donors that it was a serious capacity-building exercise.







Negotiations by countries with their own bilateral donors was to be encouraged, and could start whenever appropriate, bearing in mind the need to confirm sites and benefit from figure revisions arising from the pilot process. It would be useful however to keep the Secretariat informed on such negotiations, in order to avoid duplication and to maintain an overall picture. It was further clarified that the GEF was not a potential bilateral donor for those countries that were not Parties to the CBD.







Dr Dublin raised a concern about the timing of getting funds in relation to the Central Co-ordination Unit, whose funds from the CITES Trust Fund run out in November. Dr Armstrong suggested that dependency on volunteer work should be avoided and the Subgroup should recommend to the Standing Committee that bridging funds should be made available from the Trust Fund. The Subgroup agreed that the issue could be raised at the Standing Committee. The Chairman, however, stressed the importance of being able to underpin any such recommendation with some guarantee that further funds were forthcoming.







On the question of forthcoming funds, Mr Sharp confirmed that EC funds would not be available until 2000. He agreed that some fundamental work was still required with the World Bank and GEF. Other country donors, such as Japan, need now to be actively approached, as do several NGOs. The Subgroup agreed, in light of the information provided by Dr Dublin regarding other global initiatives (e.g. World Heritage), that an approach to the Turner Foundation should be revisited. However any such approach should come from the Chairman of the Standing Committee, using the pilot phase as a concrete example. It was also suggested by Dr Dublin, and agreed, that private donors, such as Microsoft, should be seriously considered.






Subgroup report to SC42






Dr Armstrong introduced document Doc. SC. , by explaining that the document provides a background, highlighted developments, but relied on providing the detailed information in a series of annexes. The annexes did not yet include the Funding Strategy, as it had not undergone any Subgroup scrutiny. It was agreed4 that the document should be attached as an annex to the report, but that Annex 1 of the paper should not be included. Otherwise it was agreed that document Doc. SC42.10.2.2 should be the basis of the report of the Subgroup.






More generally, the Chairman expressed his wish that the report should include as much information as possible. This was fully supported and led to a discussion on how MIKE information could be fed into the public domain, as this was the key to preventing any potential misinformation or wrongly-applied criticism. Dr Armstrong informed the Subgroup of the decision to put all documents on the CITES Web-site, and this was welcomed. In addition, it was agreed that the Subgroup, since it reported to the Standing Committee, should seek SC support for putting the MIKE information into the public domain as much as possible. This should be accompanied by a Notification to the Parties letting them know such information was available by request or through the Web-site.






Next meeting






Dr Armstrong reported that invitations to attend the next meeting on Sunday 26 September in Portugal would be sent out. It was noted that the agenda would include an item on data handling and ownership, but other agenda items were welcome. The Rapporteur would make a report of the meeting available the following Monday. Finally Dr Dublin, given that IUCN was unlikely to be represented, was requested to help with the submission of a written text a week before the meeting.
















The Chairman concluded the meeting by expressing his thanks to all those involved and committed to progressing MIKE and that he was still confident of making a really positive progress report to the next Standing Committee. The Deputy Secretary General endorsed these words.

Action Items


The Secretariat will continue to provide the Subgroup with minutes of relevant meetings and documents, etc. [Secretariat]




The United States would send comments on the summary record of the meeting of 27 May 1999 to the Secretariat as soon as possible. [Dr Lieberman]




The Secretariat will liaise with the Burkina Faso representative in Lisbon over the communication issue. [Dr Armstrong]




Dr Dublin to send any material developed by Dr John Hart to the Secretariat as and when possible. [Dr Dublin]




Phil McGowan to advise, based on his discussions with governments in Asia, whether Secretariat support mission should be done before or after the October meeting. [P. McGowan/Dr Dublin]




Budget and other information should be submitted to the Secretariat simultaneously to that submitted to IUCN HQ. This is particularly important re the preparation of a funding proposal for the Asian pilot phase. [IUCN/Secretariat]




Data handling (ownership, interpretation, etc.) to be included on the agenda of the next Subgroup meeting. [Secretariat]




Revisit the "recruitment costs". [Secretariat/IUCN]




Adopt a wider and more flexible approach to the training component under the funding strategy. [Secretariat/IUCN]




Recommend to the Standing Committee a bridging arrangement from the Trust fund for the Central Co-ordinating Unit. [Chairman, Subgroup]




Develop and maintain a central recognition process and clearinghouse, with a proper mechanism for attributing and acknowledging contributions to all MIKE and MIKE-related projects. [Secretariat]




Accelerate and expand the seeking of funds for MIKE and MIKE-related projects. [Secretariat/Standing Committee/Parties]




Seek SC support for putting the MIKE information into the public domain. [Chairman, Subgroup]




Send invitations to attend the next meeting on Sunday 26 September in Portugal. [Secretariat]




Dr Dublin to help with the submission of a written text a week before the meeting. [Dr Dublin]








Relevant to the above ToR, is the Standing Committee's related decision that "MIKE should be further developed and implementation started, in co-operation with IUCN and range States, on the basis of proposals in document Doc. SC.41.6.3".


This was accomplished on 30 July 1999.




In a subsequent memorandum, the United States asked that the finance strategy not be circulated further, since the document does currently contain erroneous information.


The United States have subsequently requested that the annex should not include any erroneous information re contribution figures and percentages in the tables.