Well, it has been a long and exhausting two weeks and today the final few decisions were rubber stamped by the whole conference in Plenary. As anticipated, some of the listing proposals were re-opened. Both Tanzania and Zambia’s proposals to downlist their populations of the African Elephant, which would only apply to trade in raw hides, hunting trophies and live animals but with no one-off sale of ivory were rejected in Committee I. Both proposals were again rejected in Plenary, writes Thomasina Oldfield, Programme Leader, Research and Analysis Programme, TRAFFIC.
Egypt’s proposal to downlist its population of Nile crocodile to Appendix II with a zero quota was also re-opened. This time the Parties accepted the proposal by consensus having previously been rejected by vote. Although their crocodile population will now be in Appendix II, no trade will be allowed from Egypt until another decision to change the quota is put forward and agreed at a future Conference of the Parties. The IUCN Crocodile Specialist Group has been working with Egypt to ensure their croc management meets the necessary requirements to allow trade.
The listing of three hammerhead sharks was also re-opened but again rejected by secret ballot. The Porbeagle shark, which had narrowly been accepted by vote in Committee I, with 86 for, 42 against and 8 abstentions, was re-opened on the basis that there were technical problems and confusion over the vote. Although some argued to re-open the debate this was voted against and the proposal was then rejected with another close result of 86 Parties for, 46 against and 10 abstentions.
Draft decision on South American Stingrays re-opened and was adopted. The resolution on shark trade was also re-opened and resulted in some important additional actions which IUCN had hoped the Parties would start to address including closer collaboration with Regional Fisheries Management Organisations and improve understanding of the nature of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
ICCAT, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, made an intervention following the tuna proposal's formal rejection to assure the CoP that it would no longer allow the setting of quotas not in line with scientific advice. It stated that measures taken at the ICCAT meeting in 2009 were not to avoid CITES listing and hoped for stronger collaboration with CITES in the future.
So has the meeting been a success? I think this will need a bit of reflection, perhaps after some rest and a few glasses of wine.