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CITES 14th Conference of the Parties (CoP) draws to a close

18 June 2007

New and emerging issues on the conference agenda included the need to protect the livelihoods of poor communities dependent on wildlife trade and the growth in wildlife trade via the Internet. 

 "Humanity's appetite for wild plants and animals and for wildlife products will clearly expand over the coming decades. We need to think creatively about how to manage the wildlife trade if we are to meet human needs while conserving vulnerable species. Finding the right balance will require a healthy respect for science, market dynamics and the needs of people who rely on wildlife for their livelihoods," said CITES Secretary-General Willem Wijnstekers. 

The participating Governments considered some 40 new proposals for amending the rules for specific species. Many of these proposals reflect growing international concern about the accelerating destruction of the world’s marine and forest resources through overfishing and excessive logging.  

Timber Species

It is widely recognized that tropical forests are under severe pressure from logging and land conversion. FAO estimates that the world lost over 0.8% of its tropical forests every year between 1980 and 1990. From 1990 to 2000, the annual loss of forest cover in many tropical countries continued to be significant, in many cases over 1% per year.

Timber trees, like fishery species, have only recently started to be covered by CITES. However, as loggers scour the remaining tracts of forest and selectively remove high-value timbers, concern has grown over the need for better controls. The CITES member States have already agreed to include Latin America’s bigleaf mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) and Southeast Asia’s ramin (Gonystylus spp.) and agarwood (Aquilaria spp.) trees in Appendix II.

Germany on behalf of the EC proposed listing Cedrela spp. on Appendix II as well as an Appendix II listing for three species of rosewood, Dalbergia retusa, Dalbergia granadillo and Dalbergia stevensoniiThese proposals were withdrawn after staunch opposition from range states, who emphasized potential livelihoods impacts as well as difficulties in implementing CITES listings of timber species.  It was agreed however, to establish a working group to draft a decision on the listing of all of these timber species, completing knowledge on the conservation status, trade and sustainable use of the species and mandating the Plants Committie to advance the issue at the next Conference of the Parties.

Brazil proposed the inclusion of Caesalpinia echinata or Pau Brasil, the tree after which the country was named, for inclusion in Appendix II.  Despite some oposition this controversial proposal was eventually adopted to the delight of conservationists after the creation of a new annotation exempting finished products.

Other Plant Proposals

United States of America proposed the deletion from Appendix I of the succulent Agave arizonica, the deletion from Appendix II of the ornamental plant Shortia galacifolia and the transfer from Appendix I to II of Nolina interrata, otherwise known as San Diego Bear-grass. The CoP approved by consensus all three of these proposals, indicating the sucess of previous conservation measures. 

BGCI was involved in writing  the proposal analyses for most of the plant species.  Please see:  http://www.iucn.org/themes/ssc/our_work/wildlife_trade/citescop14/cop14analyses.htm 

13th September 2007 sees the entry into force of the resolutions and amendments to Appendices I and II adopted at the meeting.

The next CITES conference (CoP15) will be held in Doha in Qatar in 2010.

 

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