CITES Parties opt for national inclusion of indigenous peoples and not for international inclusion
Committee II of the 19th Conference of the Parties (CoP19) discussed the renewal of decisions that concerned the sharing of experiences of engaging indigenous peoples and local communities in the CITES decision-making and implementation processes. While, in principle, the Committee accepted the proposed and slightly amended decisions, the agenda item triggered the first vote of CoP19.
Disagreement existed over the suggestion by the Secretariat to include ‘and international’ into a decision directed at the Parties. The addition concerned text that was taken from a different document that addressed livelihoods – chosen by the Secretariat to do away with overlaps in mandates – and mirrored the original decision from CoP18 in 2019, which reads:
Parties are invited to:
b) engage indigenous peoples and local communities in CITES decision-making and implementation processes at the national level to better achieve the objectives of the Convention; and
The suggestion by the Secretariat therefore aimed to amend the decision as to engage indigenous peoples and local communities “at national and international levels”. During the discussions, especially China, the UK and New Zealand highlighted the need to increase the level of participation of indigenous peoples and local communities and consequently supported the suggestions by the Secretariat. A different view was voiced by Togo, the US, Kenya and Gabon who considered indigenous issues to be dealt with at the national level and that the inclusion of indigenous and local delegates into the national delegations was sufficient.
In order to move forward, China moved the issue to a vote. The chair therefore framed the motion as to include the term ‘and international’ into the decision. She noted that since the issue is of a substantive nature, the addition would require a 2/3 majority. The vote yielded 30 Parties in favour, 48 opposing and 14 abstaining.
Attorney Jeremy Clare points out the crucial role of the chair in framing the motion, however. In his view, if the chair had framed the motion negatively, i.e. as not to include the proposed text, this would have also required a 2/3 majority which could have meant an inclusion of the text if the results had been inverted (48 yes, 30 no).
While the result could have been different if the chair had reframed the motion, the result does not hide the fact that a strategic inclusion of indigenous peoples and local communities in the CITES decision-making and implementation processes on the international level appears to be in the far distance. Other agenda items, however, also address this issue. Especially the proposed amendments to Resolution Conf. 9.24 (Rev. CoP17), which aim to include food security and cultural issues when amendments to the Appendices are tabled, stand out. If the CoP is able to stick to its schedule, these amendments will be discussed in the evening session of Thursday, 17 November.
One Reply to “CITES Parties opt for national inclusion of indigenous peoples and not for international inclusion”
Just hold thumbs that the true conservationists prevail, ie not ARAs.