CITES 2002 Report
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Reporting from CITES in Santiago, Chile
Wednesday, November 13, 2002 by Melissa Groo
Save the Elephants News Service Researcher

As many of you have probably heard by now, yesterday afternoon the South Africa proposal to conduct a one time ivory sale passed, by 5 votes. They had amended their proposal in line with the previous ones of Namibia and Botswana, in particular not to include annual quotas at this time.

Zambia and Zimbabwe's proposals did not pass, failing by 17 and 10 votes respectively.

All told, Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa's one time sale to take place in May 2004 if certain conditions are met, will comprise roughly 66 tons of ivory.

The European Union appeared to abstain on Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa, but voted against the Zambia and Zimbabwe proposals, hence the relatively large differential (EU pushes vote up by 15).

The U.S. voted No on Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe. They would have voted Yes on Botswana if that state had accepted the amendment the U.S. put forth the previous day. They did vote Yes on Namibia and South Africa. They spoke up after the proposals to explain how they voted and why.

As Kenya and India's proposal followed all others, they withdrew it. It appears Kenya today is working with South Africa on some language that will clarify the conditions that will need to be met in order for the sales to take place, and I believe this would come up for discussion in plenary tomorrow.

Reporting from CITES in Santiago, Chile
Tuesday, November 12, 2002 by Melissa Groo
Save the Elephants News Service Researcher

Just this morning, amendments were presented by Botswana and Namibia, which were voted on by all Parties by secret ballot. The main points in both proposals were as follows:

Annual quotas are not planned (until next COP) but decisions on a 10,000 kilogram one-time sale for Namibia and on a 20,000 kilogram one-time sale of ivory for Botswana will take place in May 2004--unless the Secretariat presents a report to the Standing Committee suggesting that the trade is detrimental to the species (i.e. the two proponents must meet the conditions outlined in the proposals which reference 10.10 rev.), and the Standing Committee subsequently votes to suspend such a sale.

Of note are a few items:

The U.S. presented an amendment at the end of the day yesterday opposing annual quotas and to suspend any sale till the 50th meeting of the Standing Committee (which might have been in late 2004 or early 2005). This was not considered today as the Chair offered the options to the Parties to vote on the proposal with the least restriction on trade. Therefore, the Botswana and Namibia proposals went ahead.

There was a lot of debate today and yesterday, and many countries, including Germany, Denmark on behalf of the E.U., Ghana, the Congo, and Eritrea supported the initial intervention by Kenya.

Surprisingly, India, which was a co-proponent of the Appendix I proposal with Kenya, did not speak up once during the ivory debate. This could have affected at the very least the vote of Asian countries which might have followed their lead. This might have proven vital given the narrow margin of both votes--Botswana got the required majority by two votes, and the Namibian proposal the majority by three votes.

The agenda will return to the other elephant proposals this afternoon at 2. I will try to circulate the decisions as soon as possible.

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