MEPs send strong message to EU to protect endangered species at CITES CoP16
Posted on 06/02/2013
Eurogroup applauds the European Parliament for reminding the EU of its important role in conserving biodiversity demanding strong protection of species subject to exploitation including sharks, polar bears and reptiles in the pet trade.
Today the Parliament adopted a Resolution on the EU common position for the 16th Conference of Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES CoP16). While the resolution is non-binding it still sends a unified message to the Irish Presidency and Commission on Parliament’s vision for EU action at CoP16.
On Tuesday evening, the Members of Parliament held a debate on CITES with input from Environment Commissioner Potocnik and Irish Environment Minister Lucinda Creighton. MEPs gave near unanimous support to increasing protection for polar bears by eliminating commercial trade. Unfortunately, Commissioner Potocnik replied that the Commission and Council are working to develop an alternative solution to the Appendix I proposal by the US for this vulnerable species. There was also much focus on the EU-led initiative to improve transparency in voting at CITES and the need for CITES Parties to address wildlife crime which is reaching unprecedented scales.
With 27 votes the EU plays a pivotal role influencing whether or not proposals are accepted by the 177 Parties to CITES. Eurogroup commends the EU for its leadership on proposals to improve transparency in voting, address potential conflicts of interest in CITES committees and to list several shark species in the CITES appendices. We call on the EU to support proposals to address laundering of wild-caught animals as captive bred, trade in snakes and turtles including strategies for handling confiscated animals, and to end commercial trade in polar bears.
Today the Council is holding a Working Party with Member States to further determine the EU position at CITES and plans to adopt its decision before CoP16 to be held in Bangkok, Thailand from 3-14 March 2013.