Resolution Conf. 9.14 (Rev. CoP15)

Conservation of and trade in African and Asian rhinoceroses

CONCERNED that some rhinoceros populations have continued to decline drastically and that four of the five species are threatened with extinction;

RECALLING that the Conference of the Parties included all species of rhinoceroses in Appendix I of the Convention in 1977, and that the South African and Swaziland populations of Ceratotherium simum simum were transferred to Appendix II with an annotation in 1994 and 2004 respectively;

RECALLING further Resolution Conf. 3.11 and Resolution Conf. 6.10, adopted by the Conference of the Parties at its third and sixth meetings respectively (New Delhi, 1981; Ottawa, 1997), and Decision 10.451 , adopted at its 10th meeting (Harare, 1997), all relating to the conservation of rhinoceroses and trade in rhinoceros specimens;

COMMENDING the successful management and protection of rhinoceroses in some African and Asian range States, often under difficult circumstances;

COMMENDING further the measures taken by countries to control and reduce use of rhinoceros horn, especially countries where use is part of a cultural tradition extending back many centuries;

CONCLUDING that the above measures have not arrested the decline of all rhinoceros populations;

RECOGNIZING that the illegal trade in rhinoceros horn is a global law enforcement problem, extending beyond range States and traditional consuming countries, but that emphasis solely on law enforcement has failed to remove the threat to rhinoceroses;

CONSCIOUS that stocks of rhinoceros horn continue to accumulate in some countries and that the call for their destruction, as recommended in Resolution Conf. 6.10, has not been implemented, and is no longer considered appropriate by a number of Parties;

RECOGNIZING that some international measures may have unintended consequences, for example on trade;

RECOGNIZING that there is a diversity of opinion as to the most effective approaches to the conservation of rhinoceroses;

CONCERNED that threats to rhinoceros populations and demand for rhinoceros parts and derivatives still exist, and that the cost of ensuring adequate security for them is increasing and cannot easily be met by many range States;



a)    all Parties that have stocks of rhinoceros horn to identify, mark, register and secure such stocks;

b)    all Parties to adopt and implement comprehensive legislation and enforcement controls, including internal trade restrictions and penalties, aimed at reducing illegal trade in rhinoceros parts and derivatives;

c)    the Secretariat and other appropriate bodies, where possible, to assist those Parties with inadequate legislation, enforcement, or control of stocks, by providing them technical advice and relevant information;

d)    range States to be vigilant in their law enforcement efforts, including the prevention of illegal hunting, the early detection of potential offenders and the application of appropriate penalties to act as effective deterrents;

e)    that law enforcement cooperation among range and implicated States be increased through the existing international, regional and national law enforcement mechanisms and, where necessary, through the creation of such mechanisms in order to curtail illegal trade in rhinoceros horn; where an implicated State in this Resolution is a State or citizen(s) of a State significantly implicated or involved in legal and/or illegal trade in parts and derivatives; and

f)    the implicated States, as a matter of priority, to work with all user groups and industries to develop and implement strategies for reducing the use and consumption of rhinoceros parts and derivatives and to report on progress for inclusion into the joint IUCN/TRAFFIC reports;

DIRECTS the Standing Committee to continue to pursue actions aimed at ending illegal trade in rhinoceros parts and derivatives, ensuring that:

a)    all such actions are accompanied by evaluations of their effectiveness and appropriate recommendations; and

b)    the policies that guide interventions are responsive and adaptive to the outcome of the evaluations;

RECOMMENDS that those range States without a budgeted conservation and management plan for rhinoceroses should develop and implement one as expeditiously as possible, utilizing all available relevant expertise and resources;

RECOMMENDS further that those range States with an existing, budgeted plan for rhinoceroses should endeavour to implement the plan as expeditiously as possible, and should undertake a review of the effectiveness of enforcement and trade control measures therein;

RECOMMENDS that the IUCN/SSC African and Asian Rhino Specialist Groups and TRAFFIC submit at least six months before each meeting of the Conference of the Parties a written report to the Secretariat on:

a)    the national and continental conservation status of African and Asian rhinoceros species;

b)    trade in specimens of rhinoceroses;

c)    stocks of specimens of rhinoceroses and stock management;

d)    incidents of illegal killing of rhinoceroses;

e)    enforcement issues;

f)    conservation actions and management strategies with an evaluation of their effectiveness; and

g)    measures by implicated States to end the illegal use and consumption of rhinoceros parts and derivatives;

DIRECTS the Secretariat to:

a)    distribute the report of the IUCN/SSC African and Asian Rhino Specialist Groups and TRAFFIC to range and implicated States for any comments;

b)    on the basis of the report and the comments received from the range and implicated States, formulate recommendations and draft decisions for consideration by the Conference of the Parties as appropriate; and

c)    encourage the Parties to financially support the IUCN African and Asian Rhino Specialist Groups and TRAFFIC in the compilation of information from the range States and the reporting thereof to the Secretariat;

URGES range States of African and Asian rhinoceroses, implicated States, other Parties and other stakeholders to provide financial support to and cooperate with the IUCN/SSC African and Asian Rhino Specialist Groups and TRAFFIC in collecting information for their reporting to the Secretariat on trade in and conservation of rhinoceroses;

CALLS upon all governments and intergovernmental organizations, international aid agencies and non-governmental organizations to provide funds to implement rhinoceros conservation activities, especially efforts to prevent the illegal killing of rhinoceroses and end the illegal trade in rhinoceros horn, and to enable IUCN and TRAFFIC to undertake effectively their reporting to the Secretariat before each meeting of the Conference of the Parties;

CALLS for constructive engagement among all Parties to the Convention and synergy between the Convention and the IUCN/SSC Rhino Specialist Groups to achieve the aims of this Resolution; and

REPEALS the Resolutions listed hereunder:

a)    Resolution Conf. 3.11 (New Delhi, 1981) – Trade in Rhinoceros Horn; and

b)    Resolution Conf. 6.10 (Ottawa, 1987) – Trade in Rhinoceros Products.


* Amended at the 11th, 13th, 14th and 15th meetings of the Conference of the Parties, and further amended by the Secretariat in compliance with Decision 14.19 and with the decisions adopted at the 61st meeting of the Standing Committee.

1 Decision deleted following the 11th meeting of the Conference of the Parties.


Number / Code: 
Conf. 9.14 (Rev. CoP15)
COP meeting: 
Ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties