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LAND AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS SELECT COMMITTEE
10 May 2000
REPORT ON THE CITES COP11 AND THE AEWA
Report on the 11th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), 10-20 April 2000, Gigiri, Kenya (Appendix 1)
African Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), Briefing document, DEAT. (Appendix 2)
Dr. Botha of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) distributed a written report on the CITES CoP11 which he attended in Kenya last month. The report is attached to this summary as Appendix 1.
He presented the highlights of the report, including the following:
In 1994, the Convention began a process of reviewing the effectiveness of the Convention. A Strategic Plan was developed which was presented and adopted at this year's meeting. It identifies 7 goals, the most important of which is probably the strengthening of the scientific basis of the decision making process.
In 1992, a project was initiated to review the national legislation of the parties to ascertain compliance to the Convention. South Africa was found to be not fully compliant. This is due to the fact that South Africa has relied on provincial ordinances, and since the re-drawing of provincial boundaries in 1994, some of the provinces do not have coherent nature conservation legislation. (For example, some provinces now have two sets of legislation that govern them.)
The issue of compliance to CITES will now be dealt on a national level, within the reforms to NEMA (National Environmental Management Act) that are currently in progress.
South Africa's proposal to have its elephant population downgraded from Appendix I to Appendix II was hotly debated, and had the potential to become a divisive issue. However, an "African consensus" was reached in which South Africa agreed to a zero quota for ivory, and Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe withdrew their proposals to continue controlled ivory sales. Kenya then withdrew its proposal to keep elephants on Appendix I, and the result is that South Africa will be permitted to trade in elephant products, with the exception of ivory.
Nevertheless, South Africa made a strong argument for the principle of sustained use, and it is hoped that the good will engendered by the "African consensus" will work to advance this position at the next CoP. Dr. Botha also commented on the power of Minister Valli Moosa's speech in this regard. The momentum must now be continued to convince other countries that trade can be possible with the proper controls. Also, SADC must send the message that the countries of Southern Africa can take charge of their own resources and not be so dependent on 1st world countries.
Further work will continue on the implementation MIKE, Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants. The SADC countries will be having a practical workshop in Etosha.
Dr. Botha then went through the outcomes of the proposals of other countries, on turtles, whales, and sharks. South Africa's position on each was informed by whether the countries in question employed the principle of sustainable use, and whether there were effective controls on both the producer and consumer sides.
Ms Chalmers, a member of the National Assembly who attended CITES, gave a short presentation of her impressions.
She said that the South African team worked in an incredibly cohesive and focused way, and that the SADC meeting was especially impressive, with everybody having a common vision. She, too, commented on the magnificence of Minister Valli Moosa's speech, such that even the Kenyans did not react negatively. She agreed that the speech laid a foundation for the future use of natural resources.
South Africa came out in a strong leadership position, despite many obstacles. These included:
-- The strong presence of animal rights groups and the Kenyan delegation, which opposed South Africa's position.
--The fact that the European Union and western countries do not have a clear view of what sustainable use could mean for Africa. These countries were also under considerable pressure from their own Green Parties.
Members then asked Dr. Botha for clarification of why South Africa had not complied with CITES. The answer was threefold:
1) incoherent legislation within provinces
2) different interpretations across provinces
3) "province-hopping" in the search for a less rigorous permit systemâ€”even though one is only supposed to apply for permits within the province one resides in.
The legislative work now being done on the national level will rectify these problems.
African Eurasian Waterbird Agreement
This agreement has already been signed by South Africa, and must now be ratified. The Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs and Tourism has already approved it, and it was now put before the Select Committee.
Dr. Botha briefed the committee on the agreement, stressing that most of the work involved is already being done on the provincial level, and that the only additional requirement would be producing a co-ordinated report - which is a welcome opportunity to focus attention on waterbirds. South Africa would also benefit from foreign research being done in this area. The financial obligation would be R60, 000 per annum.
The full briefing document on the AEWA is appended as Appendix 2.
Committee members said that they felt obliged to ratify the agreement, but were upset about only receiving the text of the agreement on the same day they were being asked to debate it. Dr. Botha said that for his part, he had asked that the documents be distributed weeks ago, and so the problem seems to lie with the NCOP. The members agreed that this has been a recurring problem.
REPORT ON 11th MEETING OF THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE CONVENTION ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE IN ENDANGERED SPECIES OF WILD FAUNA AND FLORA (CITES), 10 TO 20 APRIL 2000, GIGIRI, KENYA
The main objective of the meeting was to review the implementation of the Convention in the more than 150 member countries and to make recommendations on financial matters as well as any other steps that can be taken to improve the effectiveness of the Convention. An aspect of the meeting which attracted most attention was the discussion of the proposals, submitted by the Parties, to amend the appendices of the Convention. The meeting was attended approximately I 800 delegates representing more than 130 countries.
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CONVENTION
1. At COP9 in 1994 the Convention commissioned a review of the effectiveness of the Convention. Through a process over the past six years a Strategic Plan to take the Convention through to 2005 was developed. This Strategic Plan was presented to the meeting and adopted. The Plan identifies 7 goals to increase the effectiveness of the Convention, viz.
Â· Enhance the ability of each Party to implement the Convention
Â· Strengthen the scientific basis of the decision making process
Â· Contribute to the reduction and ultimate elimination of illegal trade in wild fauna and flora
Â· Promote greater understanding of the Convention
Â· Increase co-operation and conclude strategic alliances with international stakeholders
Â· Progress towards full global membership
Â· Provide the Convention with an improved and secure financial and administrative basis
Of importance for South Africa is the fact that Strategic Plan confirms the realisation that sustainable use in wild fauna and flora can make a major contribution towards securing the broader and not incompatible objectives of sustainable development and biodiversity conservation. It does however also warn of the dangers of uncontrolled trade and recognises that proper mechanisms must be in place
2. The budget for the biennium 2001 to 2002 was discussed and approved. The average annual budget for this period represents a 26.53% increase on the previous triennium 1998 to 2000. The increase will be covered by adjusting the contributions of the Parties by 6.1% and the remaining deficit will be drawn from the CITES Trust Fund at the end of each year
The implication for South Africa is an increase of in our annual contribution to approximately R104 000.
3. In 1992 a project was initiated to review national legislation of the Parties to ascertain compliance with the Convention. Until now the legislation of more than 130 countries were reviewed and technical assistance provided to Parties with legislation not fully meeting the requirements of CITES. However in view of the fact that the number of Parties joining the Convention since 1996 makes it almost impossible to review the legal instruments without delays.
A new strategy was adopted whereby the Secretariat will provide assistance to all Parties to implement the Convention by means of a capacity-building strategy based on:
Â· Development of technical documents
Â· Organisation of regional workshops
Â· Provision of support to law-makers and enforcement bodies
South Africa can greatly benefit from this new approach in view of the law reform process under NEMA
4. A document was tabled to amend an existing resolution on recognising the risks and benefits of wildlife trade. This is one of the areas where the principle of the sustainable use of biological resources came under fire. The document tried to point out that unsustainable trade in many species takes place and that this is detrimental to the survival of the species. This argument is generally sound, however the document seemed to ignore the fact that controlled sustainable use of natural resources are beneficial to biodiversity conservation.
The proposed document was not accepted and the South African delegation was instrumental in its defeat
5. South Africa was elected as vice-chair of the Standing Committee for the next period.
PROPOSALS TO AMEND THE APPENDICES
As was expected the discussion of the proposals to amend the appendices of the Convention was hotly debated and was followed with great interest. The proposals that had the greatest interest were the five elephant proposals, the four whale proposals, the two marine turtle proposals and the three proposals dealing with sharks.
1. Proposals to amend the appendices as far as elephants were concerned were submitted Botswana, Kenya and India, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. South Africa submitted a proposal to downlist its population to Appendix II and be allowed to trade conditionally in ivory with Japan. The other three southern African countries submitted proposals for trade in ivory with Japan subject to annual quotas. Kenya on the other hand submitted a proposal to transfer the populations of Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe back to Appendix I based on alleged increase in poaching subsequent to the trade in ivory of the three countries with Japan following the 1997 approval at CITES COP10 in Harare.
The four southern African countries were quite active in their lobbying actions prior to the discussion of the proposals in Committee I. Following intense and sometimes frustrating efforts the following position was developed within the Africa Group:
Â· Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe withdrew their proposals Kenya and India withdrew their proposal
Â· South Africa to amend its proposal to include a zero quota on ivory but otherwise remain as it was submitted.
The position as described was put to the meeting and was unanimously adopted. The development of the African position on the elephant was hailed as one of the major achievements of the present Convention in that it appears to be an African consensus on the matter. As was the case in Harare in 1997, the South African delegation was instrumental in achieving this position. However, for this euphoria to continue it is important that the southern African countries maintain the pressure on the other African countries to ultimately accept the fact that trade in ivory in a closed system can take place. The southern African countries must also try and convince the other countries to increase their own responsibility and to take charge of their own resources and not depend entirely on the 1st World countries for advice and donations.
2. Japan and Norway submitted proposals to downlist four stocks of whales from Appendix I to Appendix II, based according to the proponents on the principle of the sustainable use of natural resources. Similar proposals were submitted in 1997 and it once again evoked some serious debate in the meeting. The debate centered on the scientific merit of the proposals as well as the responsibilities of CITES and the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in regulating commercial whaling.
The outcome of the debate on these proposals was that none of the four achieved the required two-thirds majority. The proposal by Norway did not achieve a simple majority as it did in 1997. The debate on this proposal was re-opened in the Plenary session at which time it did get a simple majority. The importance of this lies in the fact that the arguments used by Norway was the sustainable use principle, the simple majority re-affirms the shift in the Convention towards this principle.
3. Cuba submitted a proposal, similar to the one of 1997, to transfer the marine turtle in its territorial waters from Appendix I to Appendix II with the aim of conditional trade in carapaces with Japan. This proposal is very similar to the proposal by South Africa on trade in ivory with Japan. The proposal was supported by South Africa because the controls at both the producer and consumer countries are deemed adequate to ensure that the trade takes place in a well controlled manner. The debate on this proposal again centered on the sustainable use of the natural resources. The proposal failed by three votes to get a two thirds majority in the committee and was re-opened in the Plenary session where less countries supported it
4. Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States submitted proposals to list three species of sharks, the whale shark, great white shark and the basking shark on the appendices based on possible negative impacts of the use of these species. South Africa is a range state to all three these species. South Africa supported the listing of the three species in the appendices because the control measures at the consumer countries were deemed to be inadequate to prevent the over-exploitation of the species. None of the proposals were accepted, and if one look at the outcome and the arguments used by the opponents to these proposals, the principle of the use of these resources were prominently used. South Africa's support for the proposals did raise some questions as the principle of sustainable use was used as an argument for not listing the species. However, sustainable use involves adequate control at both the consumer and producer countries, which in this instance was not the case.
C. GENERAL COMMENTS ON THE MEETING
1. The general trend started in Harare of moving back towards the principle of sustainable use of natural resources was continued in Kenya
2. The leading role of South Africa in CITES was re-affirmed not only in terms of the conservation issues but also as far as the implementation of the Convention is concerned.
3. Another country which came out strongly in the meeting was Nigeria, this is in line with the message conveyed by Nigeria at the time of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention of Migratory Species in Cape Town in November 1999 that they would like to become one of the leading countries on the continent as far as environmental management is concerned
4. The role of Kenya in the meeting was a bit contradictory and seems to be out of touch with what the rest of Africa is aiming at. Kenya sided with countries such as India and Israel in opposing the proposals submitted by the four southern African countries on the elephants. Kenya's position on a number of other issues such as the pancake tortoise and the document on benefits from wildlife trade was totally opposed to sustainable use according to them all use should by means of non-consumptive use. The role of non-consumptive use can not be denied, however, neither can control consumptive use
REPORT ON FOREIGN TRAVEL/EVENT/CITES COP 11
CITES establishes the international legal framework for the regulation of trade in endangered and other traded species of fauna and flora. The COP reviews the implementation of the Convention and established a number of permanent committees namely, the Standing Committee, Animals-and Plants Committees and the Nomenclature Committee, which play an important role between its biennial meetings.
The agenda consisted of actions in 4 different committees namely;
Plenary - Endorsement of decisions taken at Committee meetings and discussion of general issues.
Committee I - Proposals to amend the Appendices and other scientific issues are discussed.
Committee II -- Discussions on the implementation of the Convention takes.
Budget Committee - Discusses financial issues
The main objective of the meeting was to review the implementation of the Convention in the more than 150 member countries and to make recommendations on financial matters as well as any other steps that can be taken to improve the effectiveness of the Convention. The aspect of the meeting which attracted most attention was the discussion of the proposals submitted by the Parties, to amend the appendices of the Convention. The meeting was attended by approximately 1 800 delegates representing more than 130 countries.
ACTIONS TO BE TAKEN
Ongoing dialogue with partners in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) on sustainable use issues, particularly the African elephant and the consequences of the compromise position on this species which was taken at COP 11.
The National Task Team which was appointed to oversee the planning and facilitation of COP 11 must continue their duties until COP 12. Ongoing coordinated implementation of the Convention in South Africa.
Of importance for South Africa is the fact that the Strategic Plan confirms the realisation that sustainable use in wild fauna and flora can make a major contribution towards securing the broader and not incompatible objectives of sustainable development and biodiversity conservation. The Department must keep the momentum of the COP going as per "actions to be taken" in the paragraph above.
The financial implication for South Africa is an increase to approximately R104 000 in South Africa's annual contribution to CITES.
CITES implementation is an ongoing activity of the Subdirectorate: Biodiversity Utilisation. The Department as signatory of the Convention is responsible for the coordinated implementation of the Convention in South Africa. The lack of national legislation makes it difficult to enforce the conditions laid down by the Convention. The provinces as the executing agents use their respective Nature Conservation Ordinances to implement the Convention which is in most cases insufficient to implement the Convention.
If the Department wants the implementation of CITES to be a success, we must make sure that the current South African CITES Implementation Project (SACIP) is accepted by all provinces and that national legislation to implement CITES is accepted by Parliament.
DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS AND TOURISM
BRIEFING NOTES ON AEWA
South Africa as per Cabinet Recommendation signed the African Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), an Agreement under the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), on 27 October 1999. The next phase is to ratify the Agreement and the purpose of this document is to give background information in preparation for the -ratification.
The Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) is an Agreement under the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (Bonn Convention or CMS). The Convention to which South Africa has been a Party since 1991, provides a framework within which Governments may work together to conserve migratory species and their habitats. International Agreements under the Convention may be drawn up for species whose conservation status would benefit from co-ordinated action across national boundaries.
AEWA is such an Agreement, the final act of which was signed by the representatives of 54 range states at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at The Hague, the Netherlands1 following a meeting held from 12-16 June 1995. The Agreement itself was opened for signature from 15 August 1996 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.
The Agreement aims to, through co-ordinated actions strive for the improved conservation of migratory waterbirds throughout the range of the Agreement.
The Agreement covers a large area of the globe as is illustrated in the map. More than 120 species are covered and include inter alia the white stork, great white pelican, glossy ibis greater and lesser flamingo, a large number of duck species and sea birds such as the gulls and terns.
3. BACKGROUND AND RELEVANCE OF AEWA
Throughout history the migration of animals has been a universal phenomenon. Many birds migrate in response to biological requirements, such as the need to find a suitable location for breeding and raising their young and to be in favorable areas for feeding. These different requirements may be fulfilled in locations that are separated by distances of thousand of kilometers,
The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, commonly referred to as the Bonn Convention or CMS entered into force in 1983. The goal of the Convention is to ensure the conservation for terrestrial marine and avian species over the whole of their range. This is very important because failure to conserve these species at any particular stage of their life cycle could adversely affect conservation efforts elsewhere.
The fundamental principle of the Bonn Convention is that its Parties acknowledge the
importance of migratory species being conserved, and of Range States agreeing to take action to this end wherever possible. Range States should pay special attention to migratory species whose conservation status is unfavorable, and take individually or in co-operation appropriate steps to conserve such species and their habitats and to ensure that, where species are exploited, such use is sustainable. Parties acknowledge the need to take action to avoid any migratory species becoming endangered. In particular1 the Parties endeavor: (I) to provide immediate protection for endangered migratory species included in Appendix l of the Bonn convention and (ii) to conclude Agreements among the Range States covering the conservation of migratory species included in Appendix II of the Convention.
Agreements are the primary tools for the implementation of the Bonn Convention and are more specific and focused than the Convention itself. They are also easier to put into practice than the entire Convention. Migratory waterbirds are a particularly conspicuous and important group of migrants, and a recommendation for an Agreement covering their conservation arose during the first Conference of the Parties of the Convention, in 1985. The Dutch Government offered to take the lead in preparing a draft of the Agreement. A draft text was discussed and agreed at the first consultative meeting of AEWA Range States in Nairobi in June 1994. The final act of AEWA was signed by the representatives of the range states at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at The Hague, the Netherlands, following a meeting held from 12-16 June 1995. The Agreement itself was opened for signature from 15 August 1996 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.
The AEWA covers a vast area of 60 million square kilometers1 including the whole continents of Africa and Europe as well as parts of Asia and a few Arctic islands of north eastern Canada. It is a landmark in international conservation legislation and has the potential to be of great benefit in conserving an important international resource - migratory waterbirds. However, this Agreement can be effective only if range states ratify it.
South Africa is strategically located at the end of the migration route of a large number migratory species. These species use the wetlands of South Africa as an area to over winter the harsh conditions from the Northern Hemisphere. Over many years the conservation authorities in South Africa have shown themselves more than capable of conserving the natural resources and to promote the principle of sustainable use of the resources. Wetlands of the country serve as the strategically sited at the end of the migration route.
South Africa has been involved in the negotiation of the Agreement at the meetings in Nairobi in 1994 and The Hague in 1995. As one of the most important African countries for waterbirds, and a conservation leader on the continent, South Africa's signing and subsequent ratification of the Agreement would be particularly significant. AEWA will hold its first Meeting of the Parties in South Africa in November 1999. For South Africa to benefit from the implementation of the Agreement on international levels, there is now an urgent need for ratification to be accomplished.
The AEWA provides a framework within which governments may work together to take measures to conserve migratory waterbirds and their habitats. It states that the Parties shall.
Â· provide strict conservation measures for endangered waterbird species
Â· ensure use of these species are based best available knowledge of their ecology as is sustainable for the species and the habitat
Â· identify sites and habitats for these species and encourage the protection1 management1 rehabilitation and restoration of these sites
Â· co-ordinate efforts to ensure that a network of habitats throughout the range of a species is maintained
Â· investigate problems that are posed or likely to be posed by humans on the conservation of these species
Â· co-operate in emergency situations
Â· prohibit the introduction of non-native waterbird species which could detrimentally impact on the conservation of the species or its habitat
Â· initiate and support research into the biology and ecology of migratory waterbird
Â· analyse the training needs in the country such as for example for waterbird surveys, monitoring, ringing and wetland management
Â· develop and maintain awareness programmes
Â· exchange information and results from research, surveys and monitoring actions.
4. ORGANISATIONAL AND FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS
No changes in any organisational structures are envisaged as the co-ordination of the functions will be undertaken by an existing component of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism. The implementation of the actions will be undertaken by existing structures in the provincial government. The annual contribution of South Africa will be approximately R60 000.00 and will be budgeted for by the Department.
Â· Department of Foreign Affairs - Chief State Law Advisor examined the Agreement for legal implications on other international obligations
Â· Department of Justice - The Department's Legal Section examined the document and its implications on domestic legislation.
Â· The Nine Provincial Governments conservation organisations who will be responsible for implementing the Agreement have all been consulted and have given their endorsement of signing the Agreement,
Â· South African National Parks has also been consulted on the Agreement
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