The 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP17) took place between 24 September and 4 October 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
What is the CITES CoP?
The CITES CoP is a meeting of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Parties to review the implementation of the Convention. The CoP provides a forum for Parties to:
- review progress in the conservation of species listed under CITES
- consider, and where appropriate adopt, proposals to amend the lists of species under CITES
- recommend measures to improve the effectiveness of the Convention
- make provisions (including budget matters) necessary to allow the CITES Secretariat to function effectively.
In addition to representatives from CITES Parties, representatives of non-government organisations, industry groups and others with an interest in the Convention also attend the CITES CoP. Only CITES Parties may decide on proposals presented at the CoP. Conferences of the Parties to CITES are held approximately every three years.
The seventeenth CITES CoP (CoP17) was held between 24 September and 4 October 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa. More information on CITES CoP17 is available at: CITES CoP17.
The full list of agenda papers on the interpretation and implementation of CITES is available at: Agenda and working documents.
A summary of proposals to amend the species listed under CITES and their outcomes is available at: Table of proposals and the CoP17 outcomes.
Agenda items submitted by Australia for consideration at CoP17 were as follows:
- A proposal to amend the listing of the helmeted honeyeater (Lichenostomus melanops cassidix) from Appendix I to Appendix II, see: Consideration of proposals for amendment of Appendices I and II
- A proposal to amend the listing of the Norfolk Island boobook owl (Ninox novaeseelandiae undulata) from Appendix I to Appendix II, see: Consideration of proposals for amendment of Appendices I and II
- A paper encouraging CITES Parties to publish science-based rationales and scientific information used in assessments underpinning legal trade in CITES listed species (non-detriment findings), see: Sharing existing written science-based rationales and scientific information for non-detriment findings made for trade in CITES listed species
- A paper on seahorse nomenclature, see Species specific matters - Maintenance of the Appendices - Standard nomenclature
All Australia’s proposals were adopted by a consensus of the Parties at CoP17
Amendment to the list of species on the appendices to CITES
The 17th Conference of the Parties to CITES adopted 51 amendments to species protected by the Convention. A summary of proposals to amend the species listed under CITES and their outcomes is available at: Table of proposals and the CoP17 outcomes.
All decisions made at CITES CoPs come into force 90 days after the conclusion of the meeting (in this instance, 2 January 2016) unless delayed implementation has been agreed by Parties.
Australia implements CITES through national environment law, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The List of CITES Species included in the EPBC Act will be amended by 2 January 2017 to ensure that any Australian imports and exports of the species newly listed under CITES may continue.
New species listings that are of most interest to Australia include the following:
Listings were adopted to transfer two endemic Australian species - the helmeted honeyeater and Norfolk Island boobook - from Appendix I to Appendix II of CITES. There is no international trade in these species.
A number of species of timber commonly referred to as rosewoods have been included on Appendix II of CITES. The listing includes:
- All species of the Dalbergia genus except Dalbergia nigra (Brazilian rosewood), which is already listed on Appendix I of CITES. Dalbergia occurs in Australia and Australian businesses trade in newly listed rosewood species.
- Pterocarpus erinaceus
- Guibourtia demeusei, Guibourtia pellegriniana, Guibourtia tessmannii (collectively referred to as African rosewood, Akume or Bubinga)
The Malaysian population of saltwater crocodiles was also transferred from Appendix I to Appendix II of CITES.
Proposals to include silky shark, thresher sharks, nautilus and mobula rays in Appendix II to CITES were adopted. All these species are found in Australian waters. Clarion angel fish have been included on Appendix II to CITES. Clarion angelfish do not occur naturally in Australia and the species cannot currently be legally imported.
A 12-month delay in the implementation of listing for thresher and silky shark was agreed and a six-month delay in the implementation of the listing of mobula rays was also adopted. All other listings came into effect on 2 January 2017.