History of NIAPs Process

The 17th meeting (CoP17, Johannesburg, September 2016) of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)

The Standing Committee at its 66th meeting (SC66, Geneva, January 2016), requested the Secretariat to identify Parties of ‘primary concern’,‘secondary concern’ and ‘importance to watch’, based on an analysis of the Monitoring of Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) and the Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) reports prepared for the Conference of the Parties at its 17th meeting (CoP17), and to make recommendations for consideration by CoP17 (SC66 Com. 1 (Rev. by Sec.)).

A detailed document on the NIAPs process was prepared for CoP17, available on the CITES website as document CoP17 Doc. 24 (Rev. 1) on National ivory action plans process.

The ETIS Report prepared for CoP17 as presented in document CoP17 Doc. 57.6 (Rev. 1) on Report on the Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS Report of TRAFFIC),  covers data from 2012-2014, and identifies nine Parties of ‘primary concern’, nine Parties of ‘secondary concern’, and nine Parties of ‘importance to watch’. Five Parties are newly identified by the ETIS Report prepared for CoP17. These are Malawi, Singapore and Togo as Parties of ‘primary concern’, and South Africa and Sri Lanka as Parties of ‘secondary concern’. This raises the total number of Parties that could participate in the NIAP process from 22 to 27. New Parties as well as the changes in the categorisation of Parties in the ETIS Report prepared for CoP17, compared to the categorisation of Parties in the ETIS Report prepared for the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties, is shown in the table below.

Changes in identification status of Parties between CoP16 and CoP17


The Secretariat provided its recommendations as was requested by SC66 in Annex 2 to document CoP17 Doc. 24 (Rev. 1), for consideration by the Conference of the Parties.

At CoP17 the Conference of the Parties revisited the NIAP process.The Parties adopted inter alia a new set of Guidelines to the NIAP Process, contained in Annex 3 to Resolution Conf. 10.10 (Rev. CoP17) on Trade in elephant specimens, as well as Decisions 17.70-17.82 on the National ivory action plan process.

 

From the 66th meeting of the Standing Committee (SC66, Geneva, January 2016) to the 67th meeting of the Standing Committee (SC67, Johannesburg, September 2016)

To facilitate the Standing Committee’s consideration of the overall progress made with NIAP implementation, the Secretariat defined simple criteria to indicate whether a NIAP has been ‘substantially achieved’. The criteria were: that a minimum of 80% of NIAP actions have been self-assessed by the Party as ‘substantially achieved’, that any remaining actions have been self-assessed as ‘on track’ for achievement, and that the progress report submitted by the Party provides sufficient detail of the activities delivered to justify the allocated progress ratings.

Parties of ‘primary concern’

The 66th meeting of the Standing Committee commended China (including Hong Kong SAR), Kenya, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam for substantially achieving their NIAPs. The Standing Committee encouraged these Parties to complete the implementation of any NIAP actions that have not yet been ‘substantially achieved’, and to report to SC67 on any further measures taken to implement their NIAPs and, if appropriate, any other initiatives or policy developments to combat elephant poaching and illegal ivory trade.

The Standing Committee noted that comprehensive data from the Monitoring of Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) programme and the Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) was not yet available to determine whether Parties of ‘primary concern’ that have ‘substantially achieved’ their NIAPs remain of ‘primary concern’, and further noted that such information would be available at the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP17, Johannesburg, September 2016).

The Standing Committee requested Malaysia, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania as Parties of ‘primary concern’, to enhance efforts to progress the implementation of NIAP actions, continue the implementation of their NIAPs between SC66 and SC67, and to report on the further implementation to SC67 in a format provided by the Secretariat. The Standing Committee agreed to consider the progress reports and any recommendations of the Secretariat at its 67th meeting, to decide whether these Parties have ‘substantially achieved’ their NIAPs, have made progress but not yet ‘substantially achieved’ their NIAPs, or have made insufficient progress and require compliance measures.

China (including Hong Kong SAR), the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam, identified by SC66 asParties that substantially achieved their NIAPs, submitted reports for SC67.  

Malaysia, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania, identified by SC66 as Parties of ‘primary concern’ that have not yet ‘substantially achieved’ their NIAPs, submitted reports for SC67 in the template provided by the Secretariat, as requested by SC66. While Malaysia and Uganda rated all their NIAP actions as ‘substantially achieved’, the United Republic of Tanzania did not indicate its NIAP as ‘substantially achieved’.

At SC67 the Standing Committee considered the reports submitted by Parties of ‘primary concern’ and the recommendations of the Secretariat, that were presented to the meeting in document SC67 Doc. 13 on National Ivory Action Plans process and its Annexes. The Standing Committee commended China (including Hong Kong SAR), the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam for the further measures taken to implement their NIAPs, and on the initiatives and policy developments to combat elephant poaching and illegal ivory trade that have taken place since SC66.

With respect to the Parties that had not ‘substantially achieved’ their NIAP, the Standing Committee encouraged these Parties to report at its 69th meeting (SC69, Geneva, November 2017) on further progress. In addition, the Standing Committee agreed to keep the process of developing and implementation of NIAPs under review in accordance with amendments to Resolution Conf. 10.10, and any guidelines to the NIAPs process adopted by the Conference of the Parties at CoP17.

Parties of ‘secondary concern’ and of ‘importance to watch’

At SC66 the Secretariat reported that ten of the eleven Parties of ‘secondary concern’ and ‘importance to watch’ developed an ‘adequate’ NIAP, and that on 23 December 2015 the Secretariat received a NIAP from Nigeria, the only Party whose plan had still been outstanding. The Secretariat reported that since two of the four milestones in the plan submitted by Nigeria had passed, the Secretariat was without confirmation that progress had been made towards these milestones, unable to conclude that it was an ‘adequate’ NIAP.

The Secretariat further reported that Angola, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Nigeria failed to submit NIAP progress reports to SC66 as was requested by the Standing Committee.

As a result, the Standing Committee recommended that all Parties suspend commercial trade in specimens of CITES-listed species with Angola, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Nigeria until such time as these Parties submit a progress report on the implementation of their NIAPs, confirming that some progress has been made towards NIAP actions.

On 18 January 2016, the Secretariat received a NIAP progress report from Nigeria. The report confirmed that progress has been made towards the milestones in the NIAP, and the Secretariat concluded that the NIAP submitted by Nigeria was adequate. On 11 February 2016 the Secretariat in accordance with the provisions of the recommendations adopted by SC66, issued Notification 2016/009 to the Parties, informing Parties that the recommendation to suspend commercial trade in specimens of CITES-listed species with Nigeria is withdrawn.

On 11 February 2016 the Secretariat also issued Notifications to the Parties communicating the Standing Committee's recommendation that all Parties suspend commercial trade in CITES-listed specimens with Angola and the Lao People's Democratic Republic until such time as these Parties submit a progress report on NIAP implementation confirming that some progress has been made towards NIAP actions.

On 23 February the Secretariat received a NIAP progress report from the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, and on 1 March 2016 the Secretariat received a NIAP progress report from Angola. The Secretariat considered these reports and came to the conclusion that although modest, some progress was made by both Parties with the implementation of their NIAPs, as required by the provisions of the recommendation adopted by the Standing Committee at its 66th meeting.  As a result, the Secretariat issued Notifications to the Parties 2016/028 of 21 March 2016 and 2016/029 of 21 March 2016, informing Parties that the recommendation to suspend commercial trade in specimens of CITES-listed species with Angola and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic is withdrawn.

The 66th  meeting of the Standing Committee requested Cameroon, Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Mozambique and Nigeria, as Parties of ‘secondary concern', and Angola, Cambodia and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, as Parties of ‘importance to watch’, to enhance efforts to progress the implementation of NIAP actions, continue the implementation of their NIAPs between SC66 and SC67, and to report on the further measures taken to implement their NIAPs to SC67 in a format provided by the Secretariat. The Standing Committee agreed to consider the progress reports submitted and any recommendations of the Secretariat at its 67th meeting, to decide whether these Parties have ‘substantially achieved’ their NIAPs, have made progress but not yet ‘substantially achieved’ their NIAPs, or have made insufficient progress and require compliance measures.

A reporting template was subsequently developed by the Secretariat and distributed to Parties of ‘secondary concern’ in English and French.

Angola, Cambodia, Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Mozambique and Nigeria submitted reports for SC67. No reports were received from Cameroon and Gabon.

The received reports were made available to SC67 as Annexes to document SC67 Doc. 13 on National Ivory Action Plans process. The Secretariat was not directed by the Standing Committee to evaluate the reports received. However, to facilitate the Standing Committee’s consideration of the progress made by Parties of ‘secondary concern’ and ‘importance to watch’, the Secretariat compiled a brief summary (SC67 Doc. 13, Annex 1) of national ivory action plan development and implementation by each Party. The Secretariat conveyed to the Standing Committee that none of the Parties of ‘secondary concern’ or ‘importance to watch’ had assessed themselves as having ‘substantially achieved’ their NIAP.

The Standing Committee noted document SC67 Doc. 13 and its Annexes and considered the reports submitted by Parties of ‘secondary concern’ and of ‘importance to watch’ as well as the recommendations of the Secretariat. The Standing Committee encouraged these Parties to report at its 69th meeting on further progress. The Standing Committee further agreed to keep the process of developing and implementation of NIAPs under review in accordance with amendments to Resolution Conf. 10.10, and any guidelines to the NIAPs process adopted by the Conference of the Parties at CoP17.

With regard to Cameroon and Gabon that had not submitted NIAP implementation reports to SC67 as requested, the Standing Committee agreed to set a deadline of 30 days for the submission of their reports and to consider compliance measures by postal procedure should these reports not be submitted. Both Parties subsequently submitted progress reports within the deadline set by SC67.

 

From the 65th meeting of the Standing Committee (SC65, Geneva, July 2014) to the 66th meeting of the Standing Committee (SC66, Geneva, January 2016)

Parties of ‘primary concern’

In light of the positive outcomes resulting from implementation, the 65th meeting of the Standing Committee endorsed a recommendation requesting Parties of ‘primary concern’ to continue implementing their national ivory action plans through to the 66th meeting of the Standing Committee (Geneva, January 2016). Parties of ‘primary concern’ were requested to submit a report on the further implementation of their national ivory action plan for the 66th meeting of the Standing Committee. 

Based on concerns about the limited progress made by Thailand with the implementation of its national ivory action plan, the Standing Committee requested that Thailand develop a revised national ivory action plan including specific actions to effectively control the domestic trade and possession of ivory. Thailand’s revised national ivory action plan was submitted to the Secretariat on 30 September 2014 in accordance with the Standing Committee’s recommendation. Thailand submitted progress reports on the implementation of its revised national ivory action plan to the Secretariat on 15 January and 31 March 2015, in accordance with the additional reporting requirements directed to Thailand by the Standing Committee. In light of the concrete progress outlined in Thailand’s intersessional reports, the members of the Committee considered that no intersessional compliance measures were necessary.

A reporting template consistent with the format used in the Secretariat’s SC65 evaluation was developed by the Secretariat and distributed to Parties of ‘primary concern’. The template asked Parties to complete a self-assessment of their progress and assign each NIAP action a progress rating of ‘substantially achieved’, ‘on track’ for achievement, ‘challenging’ or ‘unclear’. All Parties of ‘primary concern’ duly prepared and submitted progress reports on the further measures taken to implement their NIAPs.

As directed by the Standing Committee, the Secretariat completed an evaluation (Annex 1) of the progress reports (Annex 3-11) submitted by Parties of ‘primary concern’ for the 66th meeting of the Standing Committee. To facilitate the Standing Committee’s consideration of the overall progress made with NIAP implementation, the Secretariat defined simple criteria to indicate whether a NIAP has been ‘substantially achieved’. The criteria are: that a minimum of 80% of NIAP actions have been self-assessed by the Party as ‘substantially achieved’, that any remaining actions have been self-assessed as ‘on track’ for achievement, and that the progress report submitted by the Party provides sufficient detail of the activities delivered to justify the allocated progress ratings.

At its 66th meeting the Standing Committee noted the document prepared for the meeting and its Annexes, and considered the reports submitted by Parties of ‘primary concern’ and the evaluation and recommendations of the Secretariat.

Parties of ‘secondary concern’ and of ‘importance to watch’

At its 65th meeting, the Standing Committee endorsed recommendations directing eight Parties of ‘secondary concern’ in the poaching of elephants and the illegal trade in ivory (Cameroon, Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Mozambique, and Nigeria) and three Parties of ‘importance to watch’ (Angola, Cambodia, and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic) to develop national ivory action plans.

These Parties were directed by the Standing Committee to take 'urgent measures' to implement their national ivory action plans, and to submit a report on their progress with national ivory action plan implementation for the 66th meeting of the Standing Committee.

The national ivory action plans of Parties of ‘secondary concern’ and ‘importance to watch’ were due to be submitted to the Secretariat by 31 October 2014. In accordance with the Standing Committee’s recommendation, the Secretariat informed the Standing Committee of Parties that did not submit an adequate national ivory action plan (or in the case of Mozambique, a national rhinoceros and ivory action plan) by this date, so that the Committee could consider taking appropriate intersessional decisions, which may include compliance measures as necessary. 

On 2 January 2015, the Standing Committee endorsed intersessional recommendations relating to the submission of national ivory action plans by Parties of ‘secondary concern’ and ‘importance to watch’. The Standing Committee directed the Secretariat to issue a reminder letter to those Parties yet to submit an adequate national ivory action plan requesting that they submit their plan within 30 days of the issue date of the reminder letter, and drawing their attention to the assistance available from the Secretariat’s consultants in Africa and Asia to support the completion of plans. 

The Standing Committee further recommended that a warning letter be issued to any Party failing to submit its national ivory action plan in response to the reminder letter, warning that if an adequate plan is not received within a further 30 days, the Secretariat will publish a recommendation from the Standing Committee (via a Notification to the Parties) to suspend commercial trade in specimens of CITES-listed species with that Party until an adequate national ivory action plan is submitted to the Secretariat. The Secretariat was directed by the Standing Committee to issue a further Notification to the Parties to withdraw any recommendation to suspend commercial trade following the receipt of an adequate national ivory action plan.

The Secretariat sent the reminder letters communicating these intersessional recommendations to relevant Parties on 13 January 2015. In accordance with the intersessional recommendations, the Secretariat issued warning letters on behalf of the Standing Committee to Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Lao People's Democratic Republic and Nigeria on 12 February 2015. The Secretariat issued a warning letter to Angola on 6 March 2015.

On 19 March 2015 the Secretariat issued Notifications to the Parties communicating the Standing Committee's recommendation that all Parties suspend commercial trade in CITES-listed specimens with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Lao People's Democratic Republic and Nigeria until such time as an adequate national ivory action plan is received. A Notification to the Parties withdrawing the recommendation to suspend commercial trade with the Democratic Republic of the Congo was issued on 15 April 2015 following the receipt of an adequate national ivory action plan. Similarly, a Notification withdrawing the recommendation to suspend commercial trade with the Lao People's Democratic Republic was issued on 15 September 2015 following the receipt of an adequate national ivory action plan.

Parties of ‘secondary concern’ and ‘importance to watch’ were requested by the 65th meeting of the Standing Committee,  to submit progress reports on NIAP implementation to the Secretariat, so that the Secretariat could make the reports available to the Committee and convey any recommendations it may have, as appropriate, at the Standing Committee’s 66th meeting.

The Secretariat was not directed by the Standing Committee to evaluate the reports received. However, to facilitate the Standing Committee’s consideration of the progress made by Parties of ‘secondary concern’ and ‘importance to watch’, the Secretariat compiled a brief summary (Annex 2) of national ivory action plan development and implementation by each Party.

 

From the 63rd meeting of the Standing Committee (SC63, Bangkok, March 2013) to the 65th meeting of the Standing Committee (SC65, Geneva, July 2014)

Parties of ‘primary concern’

In response to recommendations endorsed at the 63rd and 64th meetings of the CITES Standing Committee (Bangkok, March 2013), national ivory action plans were developed by eight Parties of ‘primary concern’ in the poaching of elephants and the illegal trade in ivory (China, Kenya, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania and Viet Nam). National ivory action plans were finalized by these Parties in May 2013 and urgent measures taken to commence their implementation. A separate plan was developed for Hong Kong SAR, China, giving nine plans across the eight Parties.

The Secretariat conducted an evaluation of the implementation of national ivory action plans of Parties of ‘primary concern’ for the 65th   meeting of the Standing Committee (Geneva, July 2014).