Reporting under the Convention

1. Parties' national reports

Article VIII, paragraph 7, of the Convention requires each Party to submit an annual report on its CITES trade, containing a summary of information on, inter alia, the number and type of permits and certificates granted, the States with which such trade occurred, the quantities and types of specimens, and the names of species as included in Appendices I, II and III.

Article VIII, paragraph 7, of the Convention also requires each Party to submit a biennial report on legislative, regulatory and administrative measures taken to enforce the Convention.

In a number of countries, annual reports are among various outputs from a national information management system that records and tracks daily trade-related and other activities undertaken by CITES authorities. Such record-keeping and reports assist national policy-makers in defining, implementing and assessing their wildlife management and trade policies.

Biennial reports provide an opportunity for Parties to share information regarding their overall implementation of the Convention, including their progress in the development and application of laws and regulations, administrative procedures, economic and social incentives and wildlife trade policies. Such reports may contain summaries of national compliance and enforcement efforts (e.g. awareness-raising, training, monitoring, inspections, investigations, seizures, confiscations, prosecutions, convictions, penalties, court decisions, etc.).

At the national level, biennial reports serve as a tool for self-assessment through which Parties can identify achievements, significant developments or trends, gaps or problems and possible solutions. At the international level, the comparison and synthesis of information in biennial reports can support substantive and procedural decision-making by the Conference of the Parties and various subsidiary bodies.

Resolution Conf. 11.17 (Rev. CoP16) on National reports recognizes the ‘importance of the annual reports and biennial reports as the only available means of monitoring the implementation of the Convention and the level of international trade in specimens of species included in the Appendices’. The annual reports fed into the database maintained for the Secretariat by UNEP-WCMC provide the basis for comparative trade analysis, the Review of Significant Trade, quota management, identification of Parties with high trade volumes under the National Legislation Project, reports to various fora and overall compliance with and enforcement of the Convention.

To facilitate the production of complete, accurate and timely reports, Parties have agreed on:

a) A standard format for annual reports and guidelines for their preparation and submission (see Notification to the Parties No. 2011/019 of 17 February 2011) and a standard format for biennial reports (see Notification to the Parties No. 2005/035 of 6 July 2005);

b) A deadline for the submission of annual and biennial reports – that is 31 October of the year following the year for which the report was due [see Resolution Conf. 11.17 (Rev. CoP16)];

c) The submission of a coordinated annual and biennial report, to the extent possible, by Parties with multiple Management Authorities [see Resolution Conf. 11.17 (Rev. CoP16)];

d) The computerized preparation of reports and their submission in electronic format wherever possible [see Resolution Conf. 11.17 (Rev. CoP16)];

e) Being able to seek assistance from the Secretariat to produce annual or biennial reports if they are experiencing problems with the regular preparation and submission of those reports [see Resolution Conf. 11.17 (Rev. CoP16)];

f) The maintenance by the Secretariat of a table of annual report submissions and a table of biennial report submissions; and

g) Measures for addressing persistent non-compliance with the obligation to submit annual reports [see Resolution Conf. 11.17 (Rev. CoP16)].

CITES trade data are available to everyone and accessible via the CITES trade database on the CITES website. Specific requests for information may also be directed to UNEP-WCMC.

Additional information on annual and biennial reports can be found in reports prepared for meetings of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (e.g. documents CoP12 Doc. 22.1,CoP13 Doc. 18 and CoP14 Doc. 29) and the Standing Committee [e.g. documents SC49 Doc. 15, SC50 Doc. 26.1 (Rev.1), SC50 Doc. 26.2 (revised Annex 2), SC53 Doc. 33, SC54 Doc. 29 and SC55 Doc. 16)]

2. Review of reporting requirements

To facilitate the preparation and submission of national reports and to find ways to reduce the reporting burden, the Standing Committee established at its 49th meeting (Geneva, April 2003) a working group to undertake a review of reporting requirements under the Convention. The aim of this review was to identify and analyse the causes of non-compliance with reporting requirements and to propose ways to turn reports into useful management tools for Parties (see Decision 12.87 and document SC49 Doc. 15).

The working group reported its conclusions and recommendations at the 50th meeting of the Standing Committee (Geneva, March 2004). Its report was then included in the documentation for the 13th meeting of the Conference of the Parties, where the CoP adopted a biennial report format, revised versions of Resolution Conf. 4.6 (Rev. CoP16) and Resolution Conf. 11.17 (Rev. CoP16) and Decisions 13.90, 13.91 and 13.92 on reporting requirements. At its 14th meeting, the CoP adopted a revised version of Resolution Conf. 11.17 (Rev. CoP16) and decisions 14.37 and 14.38. These policy decisions will guide ongoing efforts to make reporting easier and more useful.

3. Parties' national reports on ranching operations

In Resolution Conf. 11.16 (Rev. CoP15) (Ranching and trade in ranched specimens of species transferred from Appendix I to Appendix II), the Conference of the Parties decided that the term ‘ranching’ meant the rearing in a controlled environment of specimens taken from the wild.

In the context of CITES, this term is used mainly in relation to populations of Appendix-I species of animals that are no longer endangered and that are transferred to Appendix II in accordance with this Resolution so that they may benefit from this form of management. Ranched species currently include only crocodilians, primarily ranched for their skins.

The Conference of the Parties recommends in the same Resolution that annual reports on all relevant aspects of each approved ranching operation be submitted to the Secretariat by the Party concerned, and include any new information on the following:

i)     the status of the wild population concerned;

ii)    the number of specimens (eggs, young or adults) taken annually from the wild;

iii)   an estimate of the percentage of the production of the wild population that is taken for the ranching operation;

iv)   the number of animals released and their survival rates estimated on the basis of surveys and tagging programmes, if any;

v)    the mortality rate in captivity and causes of such mortality;

vi)   production, sales and exports of products; and

vii)  conservation programmes and scientific experiments carried out in relation to the ranching operation or the wild population concerned.

The table below shows the Parties concerned and the reports received.

Party Species ranched Ranching operation reports Date received Language
Argentina Caiman latirostris report July 2006 English & Spanish
Botswana Crocodylus niloticus none received - -
Cuba Crocodylus acutus none received - -
Ecuador Melanosuchus niger none received - -
Ethiopia Crocodylus niloticus report July 2011 English
Indonesia Crocodylus porosus report of population survey July 2006 English
wild crocodile harvest
Kenya Crocodylus niloticus report May 2006 English
Madagascar Crocodylus niloticus report September 2008 French
Malawi Crocodylus niloticus report May 2010 English
Mozambique Crocodylus niloticus none received - -
South Africa Crocodylus niloticus none received - -
Uganda Crocodylus niloticus none received - -
Zambia Crocodylus niloticus report June 2006 English
Zimbabwe Crocodylus niloticus report May 2006 English