Wildlife & Biodiversity

CMS CoP 13 closes: Proposal to restrict trade in protected species diluted

Proposal to Article III of CMS dealing with trade of Appendix I species has been struck down 

By Ishan Kukreti
Published: Saturday 22 February 2020

The United Nation Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals’ (CMS) 13th Conference of Parties (CoP), which started on February 17, 2020 in Gandhinagar, drew to an end on February – with a proposal to Article III being struck down. 

Article III of CMS prohibits Appendix I-listed species from being traded or removed from their natural habitat, with some exceptions.

According to a CMS report, which analysed the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) trade data from 2015-2018, Appendix I species were not only in decline, but were being traded as well. 

To this end, the CMS secretariat had recommended proposals for the better implementation of the Article. 

According to documents, parties were requested to:

Submit information to the Secretariat on the import or export of Appendix I-listed species and inform the Secretariat, as required and as appropriate, about the need for support with the review and/or the development of new legislation.

However, in the final decision proposed on the issue by the CMS Contact Group, which included countries like Israel, Australia, South Africa, European Union among others, dropped the requirement for the parties to share import/export data with the secretariat.

The same decision was adopted on February 22,2020 by the CMS plenary. 

On the trade, the CMS report had said:

The 2015-2018 CITES trade data indicate that CMS parties have engaged in trade across a range of species that are included in CMS Appendix I, both as importers and exporters. Traded goods range from ‘live’ animals, whole bodies of dead animals, body parts of dead animals (bones, carvings, trophies) or body parts taken from live animals (like vicuna hair).

Amy Fraenkel, Executive Secretary, CMS told Down to Earth: “At this point, we need more information. There was a discussion where it was felt that we aren't ready for action at the moment. But there will be a report in the inter-sessional meeting and we’ll discuss what the data shows. We won’t wait for three years till the next CoP.”

Moreover, the decision adopted requires that the CMS secretariat, “in collaboration with the CITES Secretariat, develop a list of species included in Appendix I, annotated as to whether they are also on the CITES Appendices, and if so, on which CITES Appendix they are listed.” The CMS Scientific Council will have to undertake a study to assess the impact of trade on these endangered species. 

“There might be species listed in the Appendix II of CITES and Appendix I of CMS which are being traded. The issue is that if you are a CMS party, you could be trading in a species which is allowed under CITES, but is more strictly protected under CMS. We will work with CITES and assess the situation on ground,” Fraenkel added. 


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