Summary of Proposal Outcomes at CITES CoP19 November 14 – 25th 2022
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), CoP19, concluded this past Friday, November 25th. Elephanatics and coalition partners wrote a letter to Canadian MP’s and Canadian CITES Scientific Authority calling for urgent action to be taken to provide elephants the highest level of protection. Below is a summary from the proposals we opposed and supported from the letter we sent.
a.) The proposal to CITES by Zimbabwe at the upcoming convention to amend Annotation 2 pertaining to the populations of Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe as specified here:
- Loxodonta africana:ZIMBABWE introduced CoP19 Prop.4 to amend the annotation for the Appendix II listing of elephant populations ( africana) in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. BENIN, LIBERIA, BURKINA FASO, PANAMA, KENYA, the EU, GABON, the UK, and ETHIOPIA opposed the proposal on the grounds that it would reopen international trade in ivory. DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO, ESWATINI, ZAMBIA, TANZANIA, NAMIBIA, BOTSWANA, and LESOTHO supported the proposal, highlighting the relative stability of Southern African elephant populations. IUCN stressed the endangered status of the African savannah elephant.
** The proposal was rejected, with 15 in favour, 83 opposed, and 17 abstentions. Canada voted to reject proposal.
b.) The proposal by Namibia and Botswana to transfer Namibia’s population of southern white rhinos from Appendix I to Appendix II to facilitate trophy hunting and live animal trade for in-situ conservation purposes, as specified here:
- The proposal to downgrade the status of southern white rhino from Appendix I to Appendix II was accepted at the 19th Conference of Parties (COP19). The amendment restricted the downgrading to live animals, for in situ conservation purposes only. The initial proposal also sought the export of hunting trophies. The decision does not reopen the international trade in rhino horn.
** The proposal was confirmed after it received 83 votes in favour, 31 against it and 13 abstentions. Canada voted in favour.
The proposal by Burkina Faso, Equatorial Guinea, Mali, and Senegal to transfer African Elephant populations in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe from Appendix ll to Appendix l.
- L. africana: BURKINA FASO introduced CoP19 Prop.5 to include all populations of African elephants (L. africana) in Appendix I through the transfer from Appendix II to Appendix I of the populations of Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. BENIN, TOGO, KENYA, NIGER, SENEGAL, PANAMA, NIGERIA, and BURUNDI supported the proposal, calling for the single listing of all African elephants in Appendix I. CONGO, BOTSWANA, the EU, TANZANIA, ESWATINI, ZIMBABWE, JAPAN, RWANDA, ZAMBIA, NAMIBIA, INDONESIA, ERITREA, UGANDA, and MALAWI opposed the proposal.
The US highlighted Committee II discussions exploring the establishment of a fund accessible to range states upon the non-commercial disposal of their ivory stockpiles.
** The proposal was rejected, with 44 in favour, 59 opposed, and 13 abstentions. Canada voted to reject proposal.
Other good news for Elephants and Rhinos
- A three-year moratorium was placed on trading live African elephants – meaning there will be no more capturing of baby African elephants from the wild and shipping them to captivity overseas at least until a decision is taken through the standing committee which could take some years. So this is good news for now!
- There will be no rhino horn trade!
- A 2nd reading of Henry Smith’s Private Member’s Bill, Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill passed. His bill would ban British hunters from bringing ‘trophies’ of endangered and vulnerable animals into Britain. The Bill needs to successfully go through all the UK parliamentary stages and then Royal Accent before it becomes law.
Overall, there were some good outcomes for elephants and rhinos. Many other endangered species received more protection such as birds, amphibians, turtles, glass frogs, snakes, lizards, some of which are traded heavily for the pet trade.
More work needs to be done with African and Asian communities to deal with human wildlife conflict and the role of CITES in reducing risk of future zoonotic diseases associated with international wildlife trade.
For the full summary records at CoP19 see here.