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Document 52013IP0047

European Parliament resolution of 6 February 2013 on the EU strategic objectives for the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), to be held in Bangkok (Thailand) from 3 to 14 March 2013 (2012/2838(RSP))

OJ C 24, 22.1.2016, p. 19–24 (BG, ES, CS, DA, DE, ET, EL, EN, FR, IT, LV, LT, HU, MT, NL, PL, PT, RO, SK, SL, FI, SV)

22.1.2016   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

C 24/19


P7_TA(2013)0047

Preparations for CITES COP 16

European Parliament resolution of 6 February 2013 on the EU strategic objectives for the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), to be held in Bangkok (Thailand) from 3 to 14 March 2013 (2012/2838(RSP))

(2016/C 024/04)

The European Parliament,

having regard to the forthcoming 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP16) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), to be held from 3 to 14 March 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand,

having regard to the questions to the Council and to the Commission on key objectives for the CoP16 to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Bangkok, Thailand, 3—14 March 2013 (O-000201/2012 — B7-0109/2013 and O-000202/2012 — B7-0110/2013),

having regard to Rules 115(5) and 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.

whereas CITES is the largest global wildlife conservation agreement in existence, seeking to prevent the over-exploitation of wild fauna and flora through international trade, with 176 parties, including the 27 Member States of the European Union;

B.

whereas the aim of CITES is to ensure that international trade in wild animals and plants is not a threat to the survival of the species in the wild;

C.

whereas it is important to put long-term prosperity over short-term economic interests;

D.

whereas the exploitation of wild species, illegal trade in wild fauna and flora, habitat destruction, climate change and human consumption of natural resources are the main causes of biodiversity impoverishment;

E.

whereas delineating intact forests and keeping areas roadless are cost-effective methods of preserving biodiversity and ecosystem services;

F.

whereas Annex 4 of CITES Resolution Conf. 9.24 (Rev. CoP15) refers to precautionary measures to be taken into consideration or implemented when amending the appendices;

G.

whereas CITES should base its decisions on science;

H.

whereas the species under CITES are listed in appendices according to their conservation status and levels of international trade, Appendix I containing species threatened with extinction for which commercial trade is prohibited, and Appendix II species in which trade must be controlled in order to avoid utilisation incompatible with their survival;

I.

whereas CITES Appendix I species are strongly protected, with any commercial trade in species listed therein being prohibited; whereas any permit to sell confiscated specimens or products (for example ivory, tiger bones or rhino horn) would undermine the aim of the CITES Convention;

J.

whereas the periodic review process has shown that CITES has been successful for certain species listed in Appendix I, which can now be moved to Appendix II;

K.

whereas Aichi Target 12 of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, under the Convention on Biological Diversity, foresees that, by 2020, the extinction of known threatened species will have been prevented and their conservation status, particularly of those most in decline, will have been improved and sustained;

L.

whereas Aichi Target 6 of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, under the Convention on Biological Diversity, foresees that, by 2020, all fish and invertebrate stocks and aquatic plants will be managed and harvested sustainably, legally and applying ecosystem-based approaches, so that overfishing is avoided, recovery plans and measures are in place for all depleted species, fisheries have no significant adverse impacts on threatened species and vulnerable ecosystems and the impacts of fisheries on stocks, species and ecosystems are within safe ecological limits;

M.

whereas transparency of decision making in international environmental institutions is a key element for their effective functioning; whereas the Outcome Document of the Rio+20 Conference, ‘The Future We Want’, reaffirms that ‘to achieve our sustainable development goals we need institutions at all levels that are effective, transparent, accountable and democratic’; and whereas promoting transparency also forms part of the ‘CITES Strategic Vision: 2008-2013’ contained in CITES Resolution Conf. 14.2;

N.

whereas the current CITES Rules of Procedure stipulate that votes by secret ballot ‘shall not normally be used’ for issues other than the election of officers and host countries; whereas, despite this rule, a large number of votes were taken by secret ballot at the latest CoP; whereas secret ballots are regularly used for sensitive and important issues, for example with regard to marine species or the ivory trade;

O.

whereas porbeagles are highly vulnerable to overexploitation in fisheries;

P.

whereas hammerhead sharks are threatened worldwide due to the international fin trade and bycatch, which have caused historic population declines;

Q.

whereas a significant rise in elephant poaching is now affecting elephant populations across all four African subregions and is of serious and increasing concern; whereas the quantities of illegal ivory seized also reached unprecedented levels between 2009 and 2011;

R.

whereas unsustainable and unethical trophy hunting has caused large-scale declines in CITES Appendix I- and II-listed endangered species; whereas trophy hunting is seriously undermining the aim of the CITES Convention;

S.

whereas a lack of effective enforcement means that CITES Appendix I- and II-listed endangered species are still being killed for profit;

T.

whereas about 80 % of the rhinoceros population in Africa can be found in South Africa; whereas poaching of these animals across range states is escalating rapidly;

U.

whereas tigers and other Appendix I Asian big cats are still subject to significant illegal trade but there is a lack of reporting to CITES on enforcement measures and, specifically, a lack of reporting on compliance with CITES Decision 14.69, which the EU supported in 2007, to phase out tiger farming and ensure that tigers are not bred for trade (including domestic trade) in their parts and derivatives;

V.

whereas climate change is a significant threat to polar bears (Ursus maritimus); whereas hunting and commercial trade in polar bear parts also pose a serious threat;

W.

whereas the European Union is a major import market for reptiles as pets, including imports of species that are listed under CITES;

X.

whereas many turtle species are heavily exploited for food markets and the international pet trade;

Y.

whereas increasing fishing pressure driven by international trade in ray gill plates has led to significant rates of decline in the population sizes of Manta rays (Manta spp.) and other ray species;

Z.

whereas international fisheries instruments and CITES should work towards the same objective of ensuring the long-term conservation of fish stocks on the high seas, taking account inter alia of the impact of bycatch on non-target species;

AA.

whereas the CITES Convention currently includes provisions on ‘introduction from the sea’ that are unclear and, more specifically, provisions on the ‘State of introduction’ when species are caught on the high seas;

AB.

whereas the CITES Working Group on Introduction from the Sea has proposed a solution respecting the jurisdiction of the Flag State which would be responsible for issuing the CITES documentation, with some narrow exceptions related to chartered fishing vessels;

AC.

whereas the proper functioning of the CITES Convention is likely to require Parties to considerably step up funding over the next few years;

AD.

whereas the European Union does not contribute directly to the CITES Convention; whereas it is, however, one of the main donors through its development aid;

1.

Calls on the European Union and the Member States to use the precautionary principle as the leading principle for all their decisions on working documents and listing proposals, taking into account, in particular, the user-pays principle, the ecosystem approach and traditional conservation principles;

2.

Urges the European Union and the Member States to speak with one voice and to improve the speed and efficiency of their internal decision-making procedures so as to be able to agree quickly on an internal EU position for CITES CoP16 and make full use of the strength of having 27 Parties within the EU to move CoP16 decisions towards a precautionary direction;

3.

Urges the European Union to play a leading role in the protection of endangered species, by taking an active part in negotiations on the CITES Convention and promoting the removal of loopholes that aggravate the situation; deplores the fact that there have been allegations about Member States and European Union citizens being used as intermediaries in the transfer of rhino horn into Vietnam or other countries where it has high commercial value and thereby stimulating demand and further poaching;

4.

Urges the European Union and the Member States to reach out to third countries, both prior to and during the Conference, and to establish alliances;

5.

Encourages the CITES Parties to consider further opportunities to strengthen cooperation, coordination and synergies among biodiversity-related conventions at all relevant levels;

Transparency of decision making

6.

Strongly opposes the use of secret ballots as a general practice within CITES, given that the CITES Rules of Procedure provide for it to be used in exceptional circumstances only; supports in this context the relevant proposal made by Denmark on behalf of the EU Member States;

7.

Welcomes the proposal by Denmark on behalf of the EU Member States to include in Resolution Conf. 11.1 (Rev. CoP15) a new paragraph on conflicts of interest;

Funding

8.

Urges the Commission to ensure continuity of funding through its development aid with a view to achieving the CITES objectives; specifically refers, in this context, to the ongoing MIKE programme (Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants) which, subject to an independent review and assessment of its effectiveness, could be up for renewed commitment from the European Union;

9.

Encourages the Commission and the EU Member States to look into possibilities of providing for long-term financial support to the CITES Convention through the European Development Fund;

10.

Supports the proposal for CITES to ask the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to serve as a financial mechanism for CITES and also to open the biodiversity strategy for GEF 6 to include a species component (1);

Introduction from the sea

11.

Welcomes the discussions and progress made in the CITES Working Group on Introduction from the Sea; supports CoP16 Doc.32, aimed at improving enforcement for CITES-listed marine species caught in seas outside the jurisdiction of any State, and urges the Parties to conclude work on the issue at the CoP16 meeting;

Sharks

12.

Welcomes the proposal from Brazil, Comoros, Croatia, Egypt, and Denmark on behalf of the European Union Member States to include the porbeagle shark (Lamna nasus) in Appendix II; urges the European Union and the Member States to support this proposal;

13.

Welcomes the proposal from Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, and Denmark on behalf of the European Union Member States to include three hammerhead shark species (Sphyrna spp) in Appendix II; urges the Commission and the Member States to support this proposal;

14.

Urges the European Union and the Member States to support the proposal to include the oceanic whitetip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus) in CITES Appendix II, tabled by Brazil, Colombia and the United States of America;

Elephant ivory and rhino horn

15.

Welcomes the withdrawal of the Tanzanian proposal for the downlisting of its African elephant (Loxodonta africana) population from Appendix I to Appendix II and for a one-off sale of Tanzanian stocks of elephant ivory;

16.

Urges the European Union and the Member States to reject any proposals to downlist the African elephant or the trade in African elephant ivory until an assessment can be made of the impact of the one-off sale in November 2008 by Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe and it has been established that that the one-off sale has had no adverse effect on elephant populations in those countries or in neighbouring countries;

17.

Encourages the CITES Parties, bearing in mind the current elephant poaching crisis, to take a precautionary approach and base their decisions on the possible impact on elephant conservation and the implementation of the African Elephant Action Plan when considering the decision-making mechanism for a future trade in elephant ivory after the complete nine-year resting period starting from the one-off sale in November 2008 by Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe; calls, accordingly, on the European Union and the Member States to support a proposal to amend Decision 14.77 on a decision-making mechanism for a future trade in elephant ivory, tabled by Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria and Togo;

18.

Encourages the CITES Parties to support the adoption of the resolution on the African Elephant Action Plan, as tabled by Nigeria and Rwanda, and the implementation of this plan as the most efficient way forward for the conservation of elephants across Africa;

19.

Calls on the European Union, the Member States and all CITES Parties to support Kenya’s proposal for a temporary zero quota on exports of rhino trophies from South Africa and Swaziland, and calls on the CITES Parties to look into measures on how to reduce the demand for rhino horn;

20.

Calls on the parties to reduce the annual national export quotas for trophy hunting of CITES Appendix I- and II-listed endangered species;

21.

Calls on all Parties where rhino horn is consumed, and Vietnam in particular, to take urgent measures to stop the illegal importation of rhino horns, to impose severe penalties on those who violate the law and to take measures to educate consumers about the impact of their consumption on wild rhino populations; calls on the Commission and the Member States to address these issues in trade negotiations with the respective Parties;

Big cats

22.

Urges the European Union and the Member States to call for trade suspensions against Parties that have failed to comply with CITES Decision 14.69 on tigers, and Parties that encourage the breeding of tigers for trade in their parts and derivatives;

23.

Urges the CITES Parties to stop unsustainable and unethical trophy hunting, which has caused large-scale declines in African lion populations;

24.

Regrets that no proposal has been submitted to transfer the lion (Panthera leo) from CITES Appendix II to Appendix I;

Reptiles

25.

Urges the European Union and the Member States to support a series of proposals to add several species of turtles and tortoises from North America and Asia to CITES Appendix II and to transfer seven species to Appendix I;

26.

Urges the European Union and the Member States, as regards alternative proposals for three species of freshwater box turtles (Cuora galbinifrons, Mauremys annamensis and Geoemyda japonica), to support the stronger proposals from the range states (Vietnam and Japan), in line with the expert recommendations from a CITES workshop in Singapore;

27.

Calls for the European Union and the Member States to support the proposal to include New Zealand green geckos (Naultinus spp.) and the Mangshan pit-viper (Protobothrops mangshanensis) in CITES Appendix II, tabled by the only range states, New Zealand and China respectively;

28.

Urges the European Union and the Member States to support a draft decision on snake trade and conservation management, tabled by Switzerland;

Other species

29.

Urges the European Union and the EU Member States to support a draft decision tabled by Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda to study legal and illegal trade in cheetahs;

30.

Welcomes the work undertaken by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) following the momentum created at CITES CoP15 in 2010;

31.

Regrets that no proposal has been put forward to include the northern bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) in CITES Appendix I;

32.

Regrets that no proposal has been put forward to include Corallium spp. and Paracorallium spp. in CITES Appendix II;

33.

Urges the European Union and the Member States to support the following:

the inclusion of the Manta rays (Manta spp.) in CITES Appendix II, as proposed by Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador; and the inclusion of other ray species in Appendix II, as proposed by Colombia and Ecuador;

the transfer of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from CITES Appendix II to Appendix I, as proposed by the USA and supported by the Russian Federation;

the transfer of the West African Manatee (Trichesurus senegalensis) from Appendix II to Appendix I, as proposed by Benin, Senegal and Sierra Leone;

the transfer of the Freshwater Sawfish (Pristis microdon) from Appendix II to Appendix I, as proposed by Australia;

the inclusion of several rosewood species (Dalbergia spp.) and ebony species (Diospyros spp.) in CITES Appendix II, as proposed by Madagascar, Belize, Thailand and Vietnam;

the inclusion of several species internationally traded as ornamental plants (Adenia firingalavensis, Adenia subsessifolia, Cyphostemma laza, Operculicarya decaryi, Senna meridionalis, Uncarina stellulifera and Uncarina grandidieri) in CITES Appendix II, as proposed by the only range state, Madagascar;

34.

Calls on the European Union and the EU Member States to oppose the following:

the proposed change to the CITES Strategic Vision Statement, requiring CITES to contribute to other globally agreed goals instead of the current goal ‘to contribute to significantly reduce the rate of biodiversity loss’;

the disposal or sale of illegally traded and confiscated specimens of Appendix I, II and III species, as proposed by Indonesia;

the transfer of three crocodile species (Crocodylus acutus, C. porosus, and C. siamensis) from CITES Appendix I to Appendix II, as proposed by Colombia and Thailand;

the downlisting of Attwater’s Greater Prairie Chicken (Tympanuchus cupido attwateri) from Appendix I to Appendix II, as requested by the Animals Committee, on the grounds that, although the last single seized illegal shipment occurred in 1998, wild populations of this subspecies declined in 2012 by 58 % to only 46 birds in the wild;

the deletion of Sonnerat’s Junglefowl (Gallus sonnerati) and blood pheasants (Ithaginis cruentus) from Appendix II, as requested by the Animals Committee, as wild populations of both species are in gradual decline, there is considerable international trade in Gallus sonnerati for pet markets, some of the subspecies of Ithaginis cruentus are distributed in a narrow range, with a very limited population, and China, as a range state, is opposed to deleting Blood Pheasants;

the deletion of the Imperial Woodpecker (Campephilus imperialis) from Appendix I, on the grounds that, although this species is regarded as ‘possibly extinct’, anecdotal reports of sightings are regularly pursued;

the deletion of Gastric-Brooding Frogs (Rheobatrachus silus and Rheobatrachus vitellinus) from CITES Appendix II, as proposed by Australia, as these species may not yet be extinct, and field studies are currently being conducted to identify remaining populations;

o

o o

35.

Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Parties to CITES and the CITES Secretariat.


(1)  http://www.cites.org/eng/cop/16/doc/E-CoP16-08-04.pdf


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