Non-commercial loan, donation or exchange of museum, herbarium, diagnostic and forensic research specimens

Non-commercial loan, donation or exchange of museum and herbarium specimens

RECALLING Resolutions Conf. 1.4 and Conf. 2.14, adopted by the Conference of the Parties at its first and second meetings (Bern, 1976; San José, 1979);

CONSIDERING that Article VII, paragraph 6, of the Convention provides an exemption from the provisions relating to regulation of trade in specimens of species included in Appendices I, II and III for "non-commercial loan, donation or exchange between scientists or scientific institutions registered by a Management Authority of their State, of herbarium specimens, other preserved, dried or embedded museums specimens, and live plant material which carry a label issued or approved by a Management Authority";

RECOGNIZING that this exemption should apply to legally acquired animal and plant specimens that are under the authority of a registered scientific institution;

CONSIDERING that museum needs for research specimens can have adverse impact on small populations of rare animals and plants;

RECALLING the recommendations of the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties (Bern, 1976);


ENCOURAGES Parties to register their scientific institutions to facilitate scientific exchange of specimens needed to conduct taxonomic and species-conservation research;

URGES Parties to contact scientists and scientific institutions in the territory under their jurisdiction to facilitate greater understanding of the scientific exchange provisions of Article VII, paragraph 6, on the non-commercial loan, donation or exchange of scientific specimens;


a) Parties take every opportunity within the scope of the Convention to encourage scientific research on wild fauna and flora, where this may be of use in conserving species that are threatened with extinction or that may become so;

b) in order to reduce the potential impact of research, the Parties encourage their natural history museums and herbaria to inventory their holdings of rare and endangered species and make that information widely available to the Parties and the research community. These inventories will allow researchers to efficiently borrow specimens for study;

c) addenda should be added to the inventories as specimens become available. Scientific and Management Authorities of the Parties can use the information in determining whether further collecting of some rare species may be justifiable, or whether the need already can be met by borrowing specimens from other museums;

d) Parties urge their museums and herbaria to undertake such inventories and make such information available; and

e) Parties implement the exemption for scientific exchange in Article VII, paragraph 6, as follows:

i) registration of scientific institutions should be done in a manner that extends the exemption to all scientific institutions meeting certain standards in each Party as determined to be bona fide upon the advice of a Scientific Authority;

ii) each Management Authority should communicate to the Secretariat as soon as practicable the names and addresses of those scientific institutions so registered, and the Secretariat without delay then communicate this information to all other Parties;

iii) the requirement that the container used to transport the specimens carry a label issued or approved by a Management Authority should be met by authorizing the use of Customs Declaration labels, provided they bear the acronym CITES, identification of contents as herbarium specimens, preserved, dried or embedded museum specimens or live plant material for scientific study, the name and address of the sending institution and the codes of the exporting and importing institutions over the signature of a responsible officer of that registered scientific institution; or a label issued by a Management Authority containing the same information and the users of which would be responsible to that body;

iv) to prevent abuse of this exemption, it should be limited to shipments of legally obtained specimens between registered scientific institutions and, if trade is to or from a non-Party, the Secretariat shall ensure that the institution in this State meets the same standards for registration, as indicated by competent authorities of the non-party governments;

v) the exemption should be applied to include frozen museum specimens, duplicate herbarium specimens, and all other types of scientific specimens named in Article VII, paragraph 6, including those that are legally collected in one State for shipment to another State as non-commercial loans, donations, or exchanges;

vi) the standards for registration of scientific institutions should be as follows:

A. collections of animal or plant specimens, and records ancillary to them, permanently housed and professionally curated;

B. specimens accessible to all qualified users, including those from other institutions;

C. all accessions properly recorded in a permanent catalogue;

D. permanent records maintained for loans and transfers to other institutions;

E. specimens acquired primarily for purposes of research that is to be reported in scientific publications;

F. specimens prepared and collections arranged in a manner that ensures their utility;

G. accurate data maintained on specimen labels, permanent catalogues and other records;

H. acquisition and possession of specimens accord with the laws of the State in which the scientific institution is located; and

I. all specimens of species included in Appendix I permanently and centrally housed under the direct control of the scientific institution, and managed in a manner to preclude the use of such specimens for decoration, trophies or other purposes incompatible with the principles of the Convention;

vii) scientists who keep private collections should be encouraged to affiliate with registered scientific institutions in order that they may take advantage of the exemption provided in Article VII, paragraph 6;

viii) all States should take precautions to avoid damage or loss to science of museum and herbarium specimens or of any accompanying data;

ix) this exemption should be implemented to ensure that non-commercial exchange of scientific specimens is not interrupted and that it occurs in a way consistent with the terms of the Convention; and

x) a five-character coding system for identifying registered institutions should be adopted; the first two characters should be the two-letter country code established by the International Organization for Standardization, as provided in the CITES Directory; the last three characters should be a unique number assigned to each institution by a Management Authority, in the case of a Party, or by the Secretariat, in the case of a non-Party; and

REPEALS the Resolutions listed hereunder:

a) Resolution Conf. 1.4 (Bern, 1976) Museum and herbarium inventories; and

b) Resolution Conf. 2.14 (San José, 1979) Guidelines for non-commercial loan, donation or exchange of museum and herbarium specimens.


* Amended at the 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties.

Document status
Conf. 11.15 (Rev. CoP18)
Eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties
Document type