[Federal Register: June 19, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 118)]
[Page 36831-36834]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Request for Information and Recommendations on Species Proposals, 
Resolutions, Decisions, and Agenda Items for Consideration at the 
Thirteenth Regular Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the 
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna 
and Flora; U.S. Approach for the Meeting of the Conference of the 

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice; request for information.


SUMMARY: In order to implement the Convention on International Trade in 
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES or the Convention), 
the Parties to the Convention meet periodically to review which species 
in international trade should be regulated and other aspects of the 
implementation of CITES. We have been informed that the thirteenth 
regular meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (COP13) will 
be held October 3-14, 2004, in Bangkok, Thailand. Therefore, with this 
notice we are soliciting recommendations for amending Appendices I and 
II of CITES at COP13. We are also soliciting recommendations for 
resolutions, decisions, and agenda items for discussion at COP13. We 
invite you to provide us with information and recommendations on animal 
and plant species that should be considered as candidates for U.S. 
proposals to amend CITES Appendices I and II. Such amendments may 
concern the addition of species to Appendix I or II, the transfer of 
species from one Appendix to another, or the removal of species from 
Appendix II. We also invite you to provide us with information and 
recommendations on possible resolutions, decisions, and agenda items 
for discussion at the upcoming meeting. Finally, with this notice we 
also describe the U.S. approach to preparations for COP13.

DATES: We will consider all information and comments received by August 
18, 2003.

ADDRESSES: Send correspondence pertaining to species proposals to the 
Division of Scientific Authority; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 
North Fairfax Drive; Room 750; Arlington, Virginia 22203, or via E-mail 
to: scientificauthority@fws.gov. Comments and materials received 
pertaining to species proposals will be available for public 
inspection, by appointment, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through 
Friday, at the Division of Scientific Authority.
    Send correspondence pertaining to resolutions, decisions, and 
agenda items to the Division of Management Authority; U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service; 4401 North Fairfax Drive; Room 700; Arlington, 
Virginia 22203, or via E-mail at: cites@fws.gov. Comments and materials 
received pertaining to resolutions, decisions, and agenda items will be 
available for public inspection, by appointment, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., 
Monday through Friday, at the Division of Management Authority.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information pertaining to species 
proposals: Robert R. Gabel, Chief, Division of Scientific Authority, 
phone 703-358-1708, fax 703-358-2276, E-mail: 
scientificauthority@fws.gov.    For information pertaining to resolutions, decisions, and agenda 
items: Peter O. Thomas, Chief, Division of Management Authority, phone 
703-358-2095, fax 703-358-2298, E-mail: cites@fws.gov.


    The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild

[[Page 36832]]

Fauna and Flora, hereinafter referred to as CITES or the Convention, is 
an international treaty designed to control and regulate international 
trade in certain animal and plant species that are now or potentially 
may be threatened with extinction. These species are listed in the 
Appendices to CITES, which are available on the CITES Secretariat's 
Website at http://www.cites.org/eng/append/index.shtml. Currently, 162 
countries, including the United States, are Parties to CITES. The 
Convention calls for biennial meetings of the Conference of the 
Parties, which review its implementation, make provisions enabling the 
CITES Secretariat in Switzerland to carry out its functions, consider 
amendments to the list of species in Appendices I and II, consider 
reports presented by the Secretariat, and make recommendations for the 
improved effectiveness of CITES. Any country that is a Party to CITES 
may propose amendments to Appendices I and II, resolutions, decisions, 
and/or agenda items for consideration by all the Parties.
    This is our first in a series of Federal Register notices that, 
together with announced public meetings, provide you with an 
opportunity to participate in the development of the U.S. negotiating 
positions for the thirteenth regular meeting of the Conference of the 
Parties to CITES (COP13). Our regulations governing this public process 
are found in 50 CFR 23.31-23.39.

Announcement of the Thirteenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties

    We hereby notify you of the convening of COP13, which is scheduled 
to be held October 3-14, 2004, in Bangkok, Thailand.

U.S. Approach for COP13

What Are the Priorities for U.S. Submissions to COP13?

    Priorities for U.S. submissions to COP13 continue to be consistent 
with the overall objective of U.S. participation in the Convention: to 
maximize the effectiveness of the Convention in the conservation and 
sustainable use of species subject to international trade. With this in 
mind, we plan to consider the following factors in determining which 
issues to submit for inclusion in the agenda at COP13:
    (1) Does the proposed action address a serious wildlife trade issue 
that the United States is experiencing as a range country for species 
in trade? Since our primary responsibility is the conservation of our 
domestic wildlife resources, we will give native species our highest 
priority. We will place particular emphasis on terrestrial and 
freshwater species with the majority of their range in the United 
States and its territories that are or may be in significant trade; 
marine species that occur in U.S. waters or for which the United States 
is a major exporter; and threatened and endangered species for which we 
and other Federal and State agencies already have statutory 
responsibility for protection and recovery. We also consider CITES 
listings as a proactive measure to monitor and manage trade in native 
species to preclude the need for the application of stricter measures, 
such as listing under the Endangered Species Act and/or inclusion in 
CITES Appendix I.
    (2) Does the proposed action address a serious wildlife trade issue 
for species not native to the United States? As a major importer of 
wildlife and wildlife products, the United States has taken 
responsibility, by working in close consultation with range countries, 
for addressing cases of potential over-exploitation of foreign species 
in the wild. In some cases, the United States may not be a range 
country or a significant trading country for a species, but we will 
work closely with other countries to conserve species being threatened 
by unsustainable exploitation for international trade. We will consider 
CITES listings for species not native to the United States if that 
listing will assist in addressing cases of potential over-exploitation 
of foreign species in the wild, and in preventing illegal, unregulated 
trade, especially if the United States is a major importer. These 
species will be prioritized based on the extent of trade and status of 
the species, and also the role the species play in the ecosystem, with 
emphasis on those species for which a CITES listing would offer the 
greatest conservation benefits to the species, associated species, and 
their habitats.
    (3) Does the proposed action address difficulties in implementing 
or interpreting the Convention by the United States as an importing or 
exporting country, and would the proposed action contribute to the 
effective implementation of the Convention by all Parties? Differences 
in interpretation of the Convention by 162 Party nations can result in 
inconsistencies in the way it is implemented. In addition, wildlife 
trade is dynamic and ever-changing, thus presenting problems when 
established procedures are not readily applicable to new situations. 
The United States experiences some of these problems and 
inconsistencies directly through its own imports and exports, but we 
also learn of these difficulties through our participation in various 
fora, such as the CITES Standing Committee and the technical 
committees, and through discussions with other countries, non-
governmental organizations, and the Secretariat. When the United States 
cannot resolve these difficulties unilaterally or through one-on-one 
discussions with trading partners, it may propose resolutions or 
decisions, usually in collaboration with other Parties, or have these 
topics placed on the agenda of the meeting of the Conference of the 
Parties for discussion by all of the Parties.
    (4) Does the proposed action improve implementation of the 
Convention by increasing the quality of information and expertise used 
to support decisions by the Parties? With increased complexity, 
sophistication, and specialization in the biological sciences and other 
disciplines, it is critical that the CITES Parties have the best 
available information upon which to base decisions that affect the 
conservation of wildlife resources. Where appropriate, the United 
States will recommend actions to ensure the availability of up-to-date 
and accurate information to the Parties, including through the 
establishment of relationships with relevant international bodies, 
including other conventions, interjurisdictional resource management 
agencies, and international non-governmental organizations with 
relevant expertise.

Request for Information and Recommendations for Amending Appendices I 
or II

    One of the purposes of this notice is to solicit information and 
recommendations that will help us identify species that the United 
States should propose as candidates for addition to, removal from, or 
reclassification in the CITES Appendices, or to identify issues 
warranting attention by the CITES Nomenclature Committee. This request 
is not limited to species occurring in the United States. Any Party may 
submit proposals concerning animal or plant species occurring in the 
wild anywhere in the world. We encourage the submission of information 
on species for possible inclusion in the Appendices if these species 
are subject to international trade that may be detrimental to the 
survival of the species. We also encourage you to keep in mind the U.S. 
approach to COP13, described above in this notice, when determining 
which species the United

[[Page 36833]]

States should propose for possible inclusion in the Appendices.
    Complete proposals are not being requested at this time, but are 
always welcome. Rather, we are asking you to submit convincing 
information describing: (1) The status of the species, especially trend 
information; (2) conservation and management programs for the species, 
including the effectiveness of enforcement efforts; and (3) the level 
of domestic as well as international trade in the species, especially 
trend information. You may also provide any other relevant information. 
References are appreciated.
    The term ``species'' is defined in CITES as ``any species, sub-
species, or geographically separate population thereof.'' Each species 
for which trade is controlled under CITES is included in one of three 
Appendices, either as a separate listing or incorporated within the 
listing of a higher taxon. The basic standards for inclusion of species 
in the Appendices are contained in Article II of CITES. Appendix I 
includes species threatened with extinction that are or may be affected 
by trade. Appendix II includes species that, although not necessarily 
now threatened with extinction, may become so unless trade in them is 
strictly controlled. Appendix II also lists species that must be 
subject to regulation in order that trade in other CITES-listed species 
may be brought under effective control. Such listings frequently are 
necessary because of difficulty inspectors have at ports of entry or 
exit in distinguishing specimens of currently or potentially threatened 
species from other species. As Appendix III only includes species that 
any Parties list unilaterally, we are not seeking input on possible 
U.S. Appendix-III listings with this notice, and we will not consider 
or respond to comments received concerning Appendix-III listings.
    CITES specifies that international trade in any readily 
recognizable parts or derivatives of animals listed in Appendices I or 
II, or plants listed in Appendix I, is subject to the same conditions 
that apply to trade in the whole organisms. With certain standard 
exclusions formally approved by the Parties, the same applies to the 
readily recognizable parts and derivatives of most plant species listed 
in Appendix II. Parts and derivatives usually not included (i.e., not 
regulated) for Appendix-II plants are: seeds, spores, pollen (including 
pollinia), and seedlings or tissue cultures obtained in vitro and 
transported in sterile containers. You may refer to 50 CFR 23.23(d); 
and the October 6, 1995, Federal Register (60 FR 52450) and February 
22, 1996, Federal Register (61 FR 6793) for further exceptions and 
    In 1994, the CITES Parties adopted criteria for inclusion of 
species in Appendices I and II (in Resolution Conf. 9.24). These 
criteria apply to all listing proposals and are available from the 
CITES Secretariat's Website at http://www.cites.org, or upon request 
from the Division of Scientific Authority at the above address. 
Resolution Conf. 9.24 also established a format for complete proposals.

What Information Should Be Submitted?

    In response to this notice, to provide us with information and 
recommendations on species subject to international trade for possible 
proposals to amend the Appendices, please include as much of the 
following information as possible in your submission:
    (1) Scientific name and common name;
    (2) Population size estimates (including references if available);
    (3) Population trend information;
    (4) Threats to the species (other than trade);
    (5) Level/trend of international trade (as specific as possible but 
without a request for new searches of our records);
    (6) Level/trend in total take from the wild (as specific as 
reasonable); and
    (7) Short summary statement clearly presenting the rationale for 
inclusion in or removal or transfer from one of the Appendices, 
including which of the criteria in Resolution Conf. 9.24 are met.
    If you wish to submit more complete proposals for us to consider, 
please consult Resolution Conf. 9.24 for the format for proposals and a 
detailed explanation of each of the categories. Proposals to transfer a 
species from Appendix I to Appendix II, or to remove a species from 
Appendix II, must also be in accordance with the precautionary measures 
described in Annex 4 of Resolution Conf. 9.24. If you have information 
on species that are potential candidates for CITES proposals, we 
encourage you to contact the Division of Scientific Authority.

What Will We Do With the Information We Receive?

    One important function of the CITES Scientific Authority of each 
Party country is the monitoring of international trade in plant and 
animal species, and ongoing scientific assessments of the impact of 
that trade on species. For native U.S. species listed in Appendix I and 
II, we monitor trade and export permits we authorize, so that we can 
prevent over-utilization and restrict exports if necessary. We also 
work closely with our States, to ensure that species are correctly 
listed in the CITES Appendices (or not listed, if a listing is not 
warranted). We actively seek information about U.S. and foreign species 
subject to international trade. The information submitted will help us 
monitor trade and its impact, as well as help us decide if we should 
submit or co-sponsor a proposal to amend the CITES Appendices. However, 
there may be species that qualify for CITES listing but for which we 
decide not to submit a proposal to COP13. Our decision will be based on 
a number of factors, including scientific and trade information, 
whether or not the species is native to the United States, and for 
foreign species, whether or not a proposal is supported or co-sponsored 
by at least one range country for the species. These factors and others 
are included in the U.S. approach to COP13, described above in this 
notice. We intend to carefully consider all factors of the U.S. 
approach when deciding which species the United States should propose 
for possible inclusion in the Appendices.
    We will consult range countries for foreign species, and for 
species we share with other countries, subsequent to receiving and 
analyzing the information provided by the public.

Request for Information and Recommendations on Resolutions, Decisions, 
and Agenda Items

    Although we have not yet received formal notice of the provisional 
agenda for COP13, we invite your input on possible agenda items that 
the United States could recommend for inclusion, or on possible 
resolutions and/or decisions of the Conference of the Parties that the 
United States could submit for consideration. Copies of the agenda and 
the results of the last meeting of the Conference of the Parties 
(COP12) in Santiago, Chile, in November 2002, as well as copies of all 
resolutions and decisions of the Conference of the Parties currently in 
effect, are available from the CITES Secretariat's Website (http://www.cites.org/
) or the Division of Management Authority at the above 
address. Copies of a list of species proposals adopted at COP12 are 
also available from the Division of Scientific Authority at the above 


    Article XI, paragraph 7 of CITES provides: ``Any body or agency 
technically qualified in protection, conservation or management of wild

[[Page 36834]]

fauna and flora, in the following categories, which has informed the 
Secretariat of its desire to be represented at meetings of the 
Conference by observers, shall be admitted unless at least one-third of 
the Parties present object:
    (a) International agencies or bodies, either governmental or non-
governmental, and national governmental agencies and bodies; and
    (b) National non-governmental agencies or bodies which have been 
approved for this purpose by the State in which they are located.
    Once admitted, these observers shall have the right to participate 
but not to vote.''
    National agencies or organizations within the United States must 
obtain our approval to participate in COP13, whereas international 
agencies or organizations must obtain approval directly from the CITES 
Secretariat. We will publish information in a future Federal Register 
notice on how to request approved observer status. A fact sheet on the 
process is posted on our Website at: http://international.fws.gov/pdt/ob.pdf

Future Actions

    The next regular meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP13) 
is scheduled to be held October 3-14, 2004, in Bangkok, Thailand. We 
have developed a tentative U.S. schedule to prepare for that meeting. 
The United States must submit any proposals to amend Appendix I or II, 
or any draft resolutions, decisions, and/or agenda items for discussion 
at COP13, to the CITES Secretariat 150 days prior to the start of the 
meeting. In order to accommodate this deadline, we plan to publish a 
Federal Register notice approximately 10 months prior to COP13 
announcing tentative species proposals, draft resolutions, draft 
decisions, and agenda items to be submitted by the United States, and 
to solicit further information and comments on them.
    Approximately 9 months prior to COP13, we will tentatively hold a 
public meeting to allow for additional public input. Approximately 4 
months prior to COP13, we will post on our Website an announcement of 
the species proposals, draft resolutions, draft decisions, and agenda 
items submitted by the United States to the CITES Secretariat for 
consideration at COP13. The deadline for submission of the proposals, 
draft resolutions, draft decisions, and agenda items to the Secretariat 
will be 150 days prior to the start of the meeting (on or around May 6, 
    Through a series of additional notices and Website postings in 
advance of COP13, we will inform you about preliminary negotiating 
positions on resolutions, decisions, and amendments to the Appendices 
proposed by other Parties for consideration at COP13, and about how to 
obtain observer status from us. We will also publish announcements of 
public meetings tentatively to be held approximately 9 months prior to 
COP13, and approximately 2 months prior to COP13, to receive public 
input on our positions regarding COP13 issues.
    Author: The primary authors of this notice are Mark Albert, 
Division of Management Authority; and Dr. Michael Kreger, Division of 
Scientific Authority; under the authority of the U.S. Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

    Dated: June 2, 2003.
Marshall P. Jones, Jr.,
Acting Director.
[FR Doc. 03-15490 Filed 6-18-03; 8:45 am]